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Soundcheck Smackdown: White Stripes Requiem

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

After a hiatus, the Detroit-born rock duo with the matching outfits and matching names have called it quits -- which makes them ripe for a Smackdown. Emily Rems, managing editor of Bust Magazine, and Phil Freeman, writer of the Headbang metal blog for MSN Music and editor of Burning Ambulance, join us to debate the legacy of The White Stripes. And: music writer Gary Graff tells us about the Detroit scene that Meg and Jack White came up in…and wound their way out of.

Guests:

Phil Freeman, Gary Graff and Emily Rems

Comments [37]

joseph still

Jack White's new music is recorded under the name SuitCase. it's just him playing and singing. I love it. you can hear it all on bln.kr.com . . . there was a big right up in the Guardian UK about it on feb 9th . . .

Feb. 15 2011 08:53 PM
L kellett from Detroit

My son got me into the whites stripes. Young folks with old souls. Loved their music. Their Canada tour documentary impressed because of their simplicity. Watch it and note how Jack rarely says "I" "me" or "my". Refreshingly humble.

Feb. 10 2011 10:46 PM
pearl

I loved the White Stripes when I first discovered them. It was a breath of fresh air after all that stale pop music I'd been force-fed until I was thirteen and discovered that I DID have means of finding new things to listen to. I'll miss them, but I agree that it was time to move on.

That said, I adore Jack White (he's a little weird and definitely contradictory but pretentious isn't a word I'd use to describe him, he's far too polite for that) and I'm always excited to hear that he's doing something new. The Dead Weather is my favorite project of his!

Feb. 10 2011 10:02 PM
Matt from Detroit, MI

How can you not consider the White Stripes relevant to rock in the 00's....? Name ONE innovative rock band to come out of NYC in the last decade... You Williamsburgh NYC hipsters are all the same and nobody is even from Brooklyn?!?!?... Recognize the White Stripes, for real innovation and art, for what it is and where it's from, a place where real organic evolution still exists - DETROIT - ... Go back to your shoe-box apartment, that your parents pay for, with your matted hair and ironic mustaches... and pretend like the real rock community considers the White Stripes irrelevant like you do... Trustafarian jerkoffs....

Feb. 09 2011 10:51 PM
Matt from Detroit, MI

How can you not consider the White Stripes relevant to rock in the 00's....? Name ONE innovative rock band to come out of NYC in the last decade... You Williamsburgh NYC hipsters are all the same and nobody is even from Brooklyn?!?!?... Recognize the White Stripes, for real innovation and art, for what it is and where it's from, a place where real organic evolution still exists - DETROIT - ... Go back to your shoe-box apartment, that your parents pay for, with your matted hair and ironic mustaches... and pretend like the real rock community considers the White Stripes irrelevant like you do... Trustafarian jerkoffs....

Feb. 09 2011 10:50 PM
Matt Trevethan from Detroit

I was the doorman at the Gold Dollar when the White Stripes first played there. 3 people at the bar looking at the bartender (who was probably Meg's sister who worked at GD from time to time) and Neil (the owner of the club at the sound desk). I don't remember the people at the bar but when someone says they were at that first show I just nod my head and smile.

Feb. 09 2011 02:21 PM
jimo from NJ

White Stripes were brilliant. They'll be missed.

Feb. 08 2011 10:39 PM
ed flynn from portland, or

Does nobody realize that the white stripes took their sound from detroit's other raw striped down music act that was far more entertaining? The Demolition Dollrods were far better.

Feb. 08 2011 10:28 PM
Henry from New York

Freeman regurgitated all the common white stripes criticisms that no longer hold any weight in light of their amazing body of work (a body of work he hasn't bothered listening to by his own admission). There is no room for innovation in Freeman's vision of music.

Don't like Jack's guitar work? Slash and Jimmy Page disagree with you

Don't like Jack's songwriting? Bob Dylan disagrees.

@ Sam Lothrop from Vermont.. Do you understand the distinction between a ripoff and a cover? Did Whitney Houston ripoff Dolly Parton's I will always love you?

Feb. 08 2011 08:26 PM
Lovely Hooligan from NJ

Am listening to this on the replay. That Phil Freeman is coming off like an awful snob.The White Stripes were fun, energetic, raw and clever. Jack is a fantastic artist and I'll follow him wherever he roams. I love Meg's drumming!

Feb. 08 2011 05:16 PM
tedinatlanta from the internets

IMHO Jack will be an impresario for years to come; he's dynamic and a unique thinker. i'm not a fan except for the fact they were different and that is always refreshing.

however if you like them and artsy odd things, I was just watching Jim Jarmusch's intimate mini-movie compilation Coffee and Cigarettes... they feature entirely in one of the 10 segments in which Meg fixes Jack's Van De Graaf generator. i got a kick out of that.

Feb. 08 2011 02:59 PM
Paul from DC

Gang, "Elephant" is really one of the great rock albums of the last decade. Maybe not #1, but on a pretty short list.

The show and the forum is sort of treating Jack White as ubiquitous...if you mean ubiquity in the world of hipster rock, maybe. But we live in an era where there's a sizable part of the country who don't know who Jack White is. And the Stripes legacy is that more kids from all walks of life (hipster or no) will get turned onto their music as time goes on. The general dismissal vibe happens a lot on these Smackdowns, I know...but having on guests who sort of *shrug* at Jack White's contributions really haven't been paying attention. That, or they're playing the tired game of dissing an indie act once they're even moderately famous or successful, which is lame to say the least.

Feb. 08 2011 02:48 PM
Steve from Flatbush

I agree that the comment of people who don't know Wanda Jackson ... "where have you been?" is ridiculous. There are plenty of reasons not to know about music, like it being before one's time and having no exposure to it.

In that way, I applaud Jack White for being an ambassador for great past acts to get a fresh audience ... and I deplore the boob "critic" for his decidedly hipster take on "I've been listening to Wanda Jackson forever."

He might as well have said: "I knew Wanda Jackson before she knew herself." Wanker.

Feb. 08 2011 02:43 PM
tim from Bkln

jack frequently commented that it was his intent from the outset to put a new twist on the blues. what's more blues than a big fat kick drum thumping on the 1 and 3? I always likened it to Robert Johnson tapping a foot on a porch.

Feb. 08 2011 02:38 PM
Steve from Flatbush

Good riddance. I agree with whoever said Jack White should retire, now, too. Exile him to the Phantom Zone, do something ... anything to keep his obnoxious, shrill voice from doing any more harm.

Feb. 08 2011 02:36 PM
notsocooliguess from New York

white stripes got me back into music. there was a time there when everything was really a redone effort. but their unique sound was both new and old, which appealed to me and got me back into searching for good, new music. so i'm not like some latter day music dungeon master who knows where the next sound is coming from before conception - im just a workin guy who likes music. stuff it phil!

Feb. 08 2011 02:36 PM
Sue

Thank you to Phil Freeman for being the voice of reason concerning the idea that drummer should indeed possess a sense of rhythm.

If lopsided drumming and odd singing voices are supposed to be the stuff of musical legends, the Shaggs deserve several retroactive Grammys immediately.

Feb. 08 2011 02:36 PM
CL from New York

Who truly likes this "smackdown" format? It is not informative or entertaining, it seems to me. Almost without exception it comes off as mere slack opinion, bad manners, and general weak-mindedness. This White Stripes version is silly, though it doesn't rise to the atmospheric level of stupidity of the Bob Dylan "discussion" ("should he retire already?").

Feb. 08 2011 02:36 PM

The White Stripes were the perfect band at the perfect time. They have moved on and though it's really hard for those of us who love them, I'm sure this is for the best. Leave on a high note and all that.

Feb. 08 2011 02:36 PM
jrh from Brooklyn

...really...I don't really like the White Stripes...but any self-importance associated with the band seems to be equaled and compounded by most of the comments on this thread and, most of all, by the "commentary" of Mr. Freeman who thinks that a teenager that hasn't heard of Wanda Jackson might as well not exist. That is gross.

Feb. 08 2011 02:35 PM
Baje from Brooklyn

To the dude critic: in hip hop we would just say that you're hating and that would be the end of your "criticism". You have no constructive argument, you are simply hating.

Feb. 08 2011 02:34 PM
kenny from new york city

why is your guest, Phil Freeman being such a snob about music? isnt it the whole point to share wanda jacksons music? isnt it a good thing jack white introduced her to a new group of people to appreciate her? its not their fault, phil, that they dont know its their fortune jack white does

Feb. 08 2011 02:34 PM
jrh from Brooklyn

...really...I don't really like the White Stripes...but any self-importance associated with the band seems to be equaled and compounded by most of the comments on this thread and, most of all, by the "commentary" of Mr. Freeman who thinks that a teenager that hasn't heard of Wanda Jackson might as well not exist. That is gross.

Feb. 08 2011 02:33 PM
JZ from Cold Spring Harbor

"Where have you been?"

Maybe the most elitist comment I've heard on Soundcheck.

Feb. 08 2011 02:32 PM
Alex from bpc

Seven Nation Army's status as a soccer, and apparently protest chant, is perhaps the band's most impactful achievement. Great band.

Feb. 08 2011 02:31 PM
Caryn Lombardo

Agreed, Alex. This drummer says that Meg's elegantly simple choices are a great fit for Jack's wankery.

Feb. 08 2011 02:31 PM
David from West Hempstead

Why bash art rock? Radiohead is art rock; they're pretty amazing.

I just want to say that Jack White was ABOMINABLE on the Quantum of Solace theme. That was ear-bleed inducing nonsense.

Feb. 08 2011 02:31 PM
alex

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion was doing the same thing way before the White Stripes and they were hugely influential. And Meg White's simple drumming is the charming counterbalance to Jack White overbearing guitar bravado. I don't think it would work without her - look at the Raconteurs.

Feb. 08 2011 02:28 PM
Gary from Upper Left Side

I never liked the White Stripes, but I like Jack White based upon the movie "It Might Get Loud". As far as Meg White, she sucks as a drummer.

Feb. 08 2011 02:26 PM
Sam Lothrop from Vermont

Can someone please mention on the air that "Stop Breaking Down" is a Robert Johnson rip off

Feb. 08 2011 02:24 PM
Self-amused hipsters seek bassist


White Stripes was a gimmick band. We got bored with them years ago. Jack White is a creative guy, but you can't cover The Stooges forever.

Feb. 08 2011 02:22 PM
gchadsey from New York, NY

i loved some white stripe albums throughout the years, but find jack white's huffy self importance TEDIOUS, to the point where i can't stand the sound of his voice. it's too bad because elephant is an amazing album.

Feb. 08 2011 02:22 PM
Vinny from Manalapan, NJ

I found White Stripes songs to be sonic junk food. They were really delicious at first, and I wanted to have a lot of it, but ultimately wound up getting sick on that ridiculous voice of Jack's.

Feb. 08 2011 02:20 PM
Woody

The White Stripes are not horrible nor particularly interesting, which is a bit higher praise than I can give this Smackdown bit on Soundcheck.

Feb. 08 2011 02:19 PM
Freddy Jenkins

Yeesh, what's with all the hate?
No one begrudges any number of rock and rollers their ubiquity (John Vanderslice or that Jad Fair (sp?) guy)
Jack White's a creative mind and he was def the force behind the Stripes--but it was time to move on. I look forward to his future efforts.

Feb. 08 2011 02:12 PM
okeydokey from Manhattan

As the expression goes, "A band is only as good as its drummer" and Meg White sucks. Good riddance to yet another over-hyped band!

Feb. 08 2011 02:04 PM

My only question is now how do we get Jack White to retire?

Feb. 08 2011 01:19 PM

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