I had nearly given up on music until The White Stripes came along.
Back in '02, I had had long given up hope that there would ever be another Kurt Cobain a Hendrix, a Beatles or even a Sex Pistols ever again. MTV was poisoned by reality poop and the radio was nothing but Britney and boy bands and the hip hop du jour. I felt pretty damn old. Then, Dylan , who is usually ten years behind with his musical tastes, (Literally, he was just getting into Nirvana at the time) saw the Lego-inspired video for 'Fell In Love With A Girl'. He loved the video and the song running behind it. That's pretty much it.
I had a little money to spend one day at a Borders. After perusing the paperback fiction I saw White Blood Cells on sale and without ever hearing a single song I bought it. Before I got home I had finished 4 or 5 tracks in the car and I loved it. Even with that high praise, that album, their third, would end up being my least favorite of theirs.
I had my top three favorite band in a lock for years. Beastie Boys, Beatles, Pearl Jam. Everything else at the time was 4th place or less. It was unshakable. Especially the top 2, which had not changed since I was 17.
Within a few years, The White Stripes bumped the Beatles! I'm not kidding. And I think with one more killer album they would have nailed the top spot.
But it won't happen. Jack called it quits. Although he is the band and Meg was an assistant to the sound, it was this specific collaboration that had the most spice and the most depth of almost anything I have ever heard.
That's right. This band was closer to the perfect sound for me. Raw, in the moment, blues-driven and playful. That is my favorite flavor of music. Jack White would record an album in week or two at most. The Beatles did the same. So did Led Zeppelin. The idea was to capture the initial raw energy of a song and not burden it with eighteen months of remixing and production. I saw them twice live (I saw two other White bands as well) and the feeling was just awe. A master rock guitarist, flipping a guitar behind his back to play the organ or the big xylophone thing in 'The Nurse', belting out blues tunes and punk...it was all I wanted in a show or a showman.
He'll be around in other projects and band to be sure. I'll see him again live. But some little piece will always be missing. Its hard to describe it, but the color scheme will always be black, red, and white.