The White Stripes – The White Stripes

The White Stripes (1999)

B+

1. Jimmy The Exploder 2. Stop Breaking Down 3. The Big Three Killed My Baby 4. Suzy Lee 5. Sugar Never Tasted So Good 6. Wasting My Time 7. Cannon 8. Astro 9. Broken Bricks 10. When I Hear My Name 11. Do 12. Screwdriver 13. One More Cup Of Coffee 14. Little People 15. Slicker Drips 16. St. James Infirmary 17. I Fought Piranhas

 

Jack’s Diary (Top Secret, Keep Out!)

August 1996

I met this girl. She’s a bartender. Nice smile, huge tits. I think I’m gonna marry her. I never thought I’d meet a girl that was as borderline albino as me!

September 1996

Meg and I got married today! I took her last name. Now instead of being “the 11th Gillis child,” I’m “Jack White, stud.” I added the stud part myself, cuz I’m badass.

May 1997

Came home drunk from the upholsterer’s shop, threw a pair of drumsticks at Meg’s noggin to see if I could get her to say more than two fucking words to me today. To my complete surprise, she then picked them up and started bashing away at the drum kit in the living room! We plowed our way through a few songs. Maybe this could turn into something! Meg’s drumming just feels right behind me. Also, it makes her boobs jiggle.

June 1997

Meg and I are officially a band now! I wanted to call it Analog Creampie but Meg vetoed it. We settled on “the White Stripes” because Meg loves peppermints. Apparently we also decided to pretend to be brother and sister and wear only red, white and black. These were all Meg’s ideas; she allegedly relayed them to me when we were out at the bar the other night but it was loud and I couldn’t hear a fucking word she was saying so I was just nodding the whole time. It was like that goddamned Seinfeld episode. I have a feeling I’m going to regret this.

July 1997

Meg and I played a show at the Gold Dollar. Sounded awful. I sing like a girl and Meg is the worst drummer I’ve ever heard in my life. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.

September 1997

Took the most enormous crap of my life today. Vegged out on the couch for a few hours afterwards. Awesome day.

December 1998

Hey, sorry for not checking in for so long! Life’s just been crazy, you know? Playin’ shows, writin’ songs, experiencing unsettling Freudian crises brought on by introducing Meg as my “big sister” during shows and then going home and fucking her afterwards. But in any case, it’s all led up to this: next month Meg and I commence work on our very own album! I’m so excited! Can’t wait to lay down all these sludgy garage rock and ancient blues riffs I’ve written! We don’t really have any fancy equipment, but we do have an old 4-track player I found in a dumpster behind the Mexican restaurant next door! That should do the job just fine!

January 1999

Well, the album is finished. It turned out great! It’s very much in, and worthy of, the grand old tradition of Detroit garage rock, and I’m very proud of that. The first thing I noticed when I listened to the playback were Meg’s huge, thumping, Hammer of God drums on the first song, “Jimmy The Exploder,” and how awesome they sounded with my soaring guitar riff and super crunchy power chord bashing. However, after listening to it, I decided to never allow Meg’s drums to sound like that again. I mean, I can’t have her hogging the spotlight, right? So I put the remainder of the album’s focus on my rudimentary yet super crunchy guitar riffs. I came up with some pretty darn good ones! Like the furious rave up “Screwdriver” or the stomping “Cannon.” Most of my riffs are heavy, simple and garagey, finding a middle ground somewhere between the stoneheaded rock of the MC5 and AC/DC (if “Astro” had more dick jokes in it, it could totally be an AC/DC song!) and the guttural grit of my delta blues heroes like Robert Johnson (whose “Stop Breaking Down” we cover with somewhat less subtlety but just as much energy as the Stones did) and Son House (to whom I dedicated the album). I realize my fascination with archaic blues is nothing new under the sun for a white boy playing rock ‘n roll, but I figure that most legitimate rock bands have been trying to sound like R.E.M. and the Pixies for so long that everyone will forget that two or three decades ago, every band worth their salt spent most of their time attempting rip off Muddy Waters. And I’ll come out sounding totally original! That’s the plan, at least. In any case, after a while, I started to realize that a lot of my high energy rock songs sound pretty darn similar, so I wrote a few songs to change up the pace a little bit – not enough of them to totally negate the sameyness, but enough to at least lessen its effects. I especially like the tender, emotional “Do” and the snaky blues “I Fought Piranhas.” I even broke new ground by having one acoustic song (the sneering but melodic “Sugar Never Tasted So Good”) and one where I play the piano (an admittedly unimaginative cover of “St. James Infirmary Blues”)! In our pursuit of achieving a wider range of moods on the album, we even decided to do a Dylan cover! Meg suggested “One More Cup Of Coffee,” to which I responded, “Are you fucking stupid? We’re obviously going to do the indisputable classic “Man Gave Names To All The Animals” to show people how much we love Jesus.” Then, after a protracted incident of domestic violence, which ended with Meg pinning me down on the kitchen floor and attempting to beat my head in with a candlestick as I taunted, “why don’t you have this kind of rhythm when you hit the snare!” I finally succumbed to Meg’s suggestion. The song turned out OK, I guess. Anyway, I like the album a lot and I hope it will make me one million dollars!

June 1999

The White Stripes’ debut album was officially released today! Meg and I celebrated with tacos for dinner. They were yummy! I’m gonna go smoke a cigarette and play with my taxidermy squirrels now. Till next time!



2 Comments

  1. Emily wrote:

    I’m not sure this is exactly how this happened [you forgot to mention the part about the screwdriver on the floor leading to the hit “Screwdriver”] but I don’t think you’re too far off the mark.

    Self-titled is actually one of my least favourite White Stripes albums – although that’s not saying much considering I didn’t listen to much besides the White Stripes between the ages of 13 and 16. You make a great point about people “forgetting” about the blues and that Jack and Meg were basically able to wrap it up in a red and white [really, really white] package and call it something new. As Jack once said, “If we can trick 15-year-old girls into singing the lyrics to a Son House song, we’ve really acheived something.”

    That’s a good interview, actually. Hosted by Jim Jarmusch. Here you go: http://www.jim-jarmusch.net/miscellanea/author_jim_jarmusch/interviewed_by_jim/the_white_stripes.html

  2. Emily wrote:

    Also this review makes me want Mexican Village.


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