Rather than expound on the significance of the White Stripes, mere hours after the announcement of their breakup, or reflect at length on the personal significance of Meg and Jack White’s musical partnership (too soon!), I thought it best to recall a few fond memories I’ve had as a longtime fan. If random events from the life of a dude you’ve never met aren’t your thing, enter at your own risk, but otherwise, here are 5 moments (alongside streaming songs) I’d like to bookmark before forging on into the White Stripes-less future…
Driving from Connecticut to California with two CDs stuck in the player: the White Stripes’ self-titled debut and Chuck Berry’s Greatest Hits.
I’ll never forget the feeling of the car’s transmission slowly deteriorating as I drove through Wyoming on the only gear left, trying to make it to Salt Lake City with “The Big Three Killed My Baby” blasting and “You Can’t Catch Me” soundtracking equal parts hope and frustration. Not to mention the irony of hearing “Stop Breaking Down” on repeat in this scenario was not lost on me.
“Stop Breaking Down” (Robert Johnson Cover)
Jack White appearing in the audience of their Providence, RI show, his face painted white with big jack-o-lantern-shaped black teeth.
The moment in which you realize that Jack White is 60 feet tall and could crush you, musically or otherwise, at whim. The most wonderfully frightening part of this show, however, was the thunderous energy of the set itself (felt like the theater and city around it was crumbling). Jack and Meg seemingly never took a break to breathe. And neither did anyone else.
“Death Letter” (Traditional/Son House)
Hearing my friend Dan’s first-hand account of the early days of the White Stripes in Detroit over cheap beer at a Mission dive bar or in Dolores Park.
Fancy Dan is perhaps the only person I know personally that feels as gutted by the news of Meg and Jack’s musical breakup as I do. For both of us, this brother-sister/ex-husband-wife duo have been (and will continue to be, of course) a well of inspiration as fellow musicians, artists, and believers in Truth.
“Truth Doesn’t Make a Noise”
Reading news that Jack White’s former home was for sale.
Aside from the obvious fact that this made for a fun news item back in ’06, the thought alone of living in the place where so many great songs were dreamed up and climbing the magical staircase on which equipment was arranged for the recording of Get Behind Me Satan was a thrill of Graceland-esque proportions.
Watching Jack & Meg play “Let’s Build a Home” on Late Night
On the last night of their 2003 week-long run on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in promotion of Elephant, the White Stripes unleashed one of the best television musical performances I’ve seen to date, in which Jack goes from destroying “Let’s Build a Home” via a guitar solo on Conan’s desk to chanting “John the Revelator” face-to-face with Meg. I saw this jaw-dropping display just before bed at 1:30 a.m. and can’t be sure if I’ve ever truly fallen asleep since.