As I'm sure you've already heard by now, the White Stripes have officially confirmed their split via a message on their website that read as follows:
The White Stripes would like to announce that today, February 2nd, 2011,
their band has officially ended and will make no further new recordings or perform live.
The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health.
It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve What is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.
Meg and Jack want to thank every one of their fans and admirers for the incredible support they have given throughout the 13 plus years of the White Stripes’ intense and incredible career.
Third Man Records will continue to put out unreleased live and studio recordings from The White Stripes in their Vault Subscription record club, as well as through regular channels.
Both Meg and Jack hope this decision isn’t met with sorrow by their fans but that it is seen as a positive move done out of respect for the art and music that the band has created. It is also done with the utmost respect to those fans who’ve shared in those creations, with their feelings considered greatly.
With that in mind the band have this to say:
“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”
Meg and Jack White
The White Stripes
Now while they may have asked for this to not be met with sadness, I am utterly devastated. I can literally pinpoint the White Stripes as the band that began my interest in all things alternative and indie. Prior to that, as was the case with the majority of people at the time (I was twelve...), my interest was squared on the likes of *shudder* Linkin Park.
We all make mistakes though...
You can go to any major music site and read about the influence the band hand, the change in direction that modern music took following the Stripes' explosion on the scene, so I wont bore you with the same.
For me, however, it wasn't the widespread impact that enthralled me. I can vividly remember sitting up beyond midnight watching the band's headline slot at Glastonbury 2005, completely captivated. The raw energy, the visceral power, the unspoken - almost psychic - bond between Jack and Meg... Each one knew what the other was about to do. They always performed in this manner, in the absence of a setlist... Anyone lucky enough to have been treated to a White Stripes performance was witness to a completely unique event.
The mystique of the band was enchanting. There was none like them. But, above all, the music was phenomenal.
As is the case for many (c'mon - own up!), Seven Nation Army was my first introduction to the band. I bought Elephant as soon as I could get my hands on it, and followed this one by one with the back catalogue. The stunning White Blood Cells, De Stijl and the self-titled debut - each better than the one that preceded it.
White Blood Cells would prove to be a recorded high for the band, in my opinion. While better songs may have followed, no subsequent album matched up to it as a whole. The simplicity was beautiful: Jack and Meg took the most basic sound, stripped it off all its excess and made it sound fresh and exciting in a way that none had achieved before.
Simplicity was thrown out the window as Jack stepped into unknown territory with mariachis, horns, bagpipes and more on Icky Thump, the follow up to the largely piano driven Get Behind Me Satan. The ability to breathe life into other people's song was staggering too: Bob Dylan (dozens of times), Son House, Dolly Parton, Burt Bacharach - they all got the White Stripes treatment, the resulting tracks often surpassing the originals.
The mystique and the magic will live on forever, but above all, it is for the music that Jack and Meg will be remembered. Such cohesion, such charisma, such genius. There is no other word for it.
The opportunity to see the band live was something I had always wanted, yet no joy unfortunately. However, if nothing else, we have been left with a rich and varied back catalogue, unparalleled in consistensy and strength by any of their contemporaries.
- Cork, Ireland
- An Irish based alternative music blog. Music news, gigs, live reviews, album reviews... You'll find them here. If you want anything featured or removed, please shout. I hope you'll discover something new to love on this little experiment of mine. Currently editing the Music Section of the UCC Express and contributing to Motley magazine on campus, as well as writing for PopCultureMonster and 4FortyFour. Always looking for new projects so please get in touch if interested. Thanks for reading.