Confessions of a Jack Whiteobsessive
Thu 10th May, 2012 in Features
At FasterLouder we’re fairly damn excited about Jack White’s new album, Blunderbuss, and his upcoming tour for Splendour in the Grass, but we’re nowhere near as excited as ‘John’.
You see, John is an obsessive Jack White record collector. He has spent thousands of dollars and hours collecting roughly 200 45s and 75 LPs that are related to the man the New York Times recently called the “coolest, weirdest, savviest rock star of our time”. He’s the sort of fan who would fly to Nashville to queue for fourteen hours in the rain just to get his hands on the limited edition liquid filled release of 16 Saltines; brave the madness at SXSW to get into the Jack White showcase with just 649 other fanatics; and spend hours on the White Swirl forums tracking down rare Jack White paraphernalia. Basically he has a far better collection of Jack White records than you could ever hope to have.
May 9th, 2012
Jack White tells us on the B-side to that liquid filled single that “Love is Blindness” (covering the final track from U2’s Achtung Baby ) but John does have his limits. He hasn’t ditched a wardrobe of candy-cane coloured clothes for a newer collection of blue garments. He wasn’t seen chasing balloons across the Nashville skyline trying to get his hands on the airborne Freedom at 21 vinyl singles. In fact, after answering our questions, John had something of a revelation admitting that “I’m not really as hardcore as I thought, in fact in retrospect most of the people I know are considerably more hardcore than I am.” Still, we’re fairly damn sure that a collection of nearly 300 records from one artist counts as fanatical.
Tempted by the promise that if he spoke to us we’d do everything we could to try to help him secure a ‘lightning bolt” copy of Blunderbuss (Hey, Splendour, Third Man, Frontier Touring! Help a brother out!) we sent ‘John’ a few questions to get a glimpse into the world of a true Jack White obsessive.
What was the first White Stripes song you heard?
Hello Operator. It was in 2001 and I was working at a record store in London, there was a John Peel obsessive there who wouldn’t shut up about them, I remember being vaguely annoyed by him at the time.
The first gig?
Sadly I didn’t feel compelled to rush out and see them straight away, which I obviously regret. Then I promptly left London and spent a chunk of time in India which wasn’t on their tour schedule. Incidentally I left my homemade Stripes minidisc collection with a chap called Johnny in Anjuna. So I didn’t make a live show until 2004 at Alexandra Palace. Two nights in a row. Didn’t buy the Rob Jones screenprints either. We live and learn.
What was it about the White Stripes that drew you in?
It wasn’t immediate, and I’d like to waffle on about how “I’d always been into the blues and the influences were clear and I appreciated how stripped back and raw it all was et cetera et cetera.” But to be entirely honest, while that’s basically true, I’d always had a penchant for interesting cover versions, and the first thing that drew me in were his choices, from Marlene Dietrich to Dolly Parton. And as a wannabe graphic designer working in a record store to keep myself alive, I had a great deal of interest in his artistic sensibilities. The Stripes just happened to align neatly with a lot of my own interests at the time.
CDs are awful, even as Christmas tree decorations
Could you give us a list of all the Jack White releases you own? Including posters, books, other things?
No. But only because it’d be about 4 pages and quite uninteresting. I can say I have around 200 45s and 75 LPs that are related to him in some musical way, and a fairly large pile of ephemera, from screen prints and slipmats to the Inchophone and 3” records. No CDs though, CDs are awful, even as Christmas tree decorations.
Does it extend to all things Jack – solo, Dead Weather, Raconteurs, productions?
Only vinyl he features on, so yes to all his bands and earlier work such as The Upholsterers and The Hentchmen. Not so much productions, that’s a deeper hole, that’s not say I’m not interested in them, but there’s a huge difference between ‘music one likes’ and ‘records one wants to collect’. They are different beasts.
What about collaborators? If someone works with Jack does that add them to the pantheon – you become a Lanie Lane, Brendon Benson, Alison Mosshart fan almost by default?
Nope, not at all, purely judged on their own merit. He has lead me to some interesting artists I hadn’t been aware of previously, such as Dex Romweber and Andre Williams. And also to some people I never want to hear again. Which is to be expected.