Under the White influence

Last night, a Friday night, I was in bed with a fever, drinking Lemsip, writing job applications and generally feeling uninspired. The good old fashion blogs weren’t doing anything for me. No, to get my inspiration back I needed something real. Only some MIND BLOWING MUSIC would do. MIND BLOWING MUSIC, as in The White Stripes. Raw energy.

And with a quick search on YouTube, somehow I found out I’d never seen the music documentary “Under Great Northern Lights”. I mean, I got the other live DVD, “Under Blackpool Lights”, as soon as it was out. The same with all of their albums. I’ve seen “Coffee and cigarettes”.  I watched every one of their TV-appearances on YouTube. I thought I had it all covered. But no. This little gem was waiting for me. And boy, was I happy, being all feverish and having nothing but a packet of Pringles and my Mac to entertain me. Friday night was saved!!!!

I’ve loved The White Stripes ever since I got their debut album for Christmas when I was 16. I remember lying in bed on Christmas Day, putting the CD on (yes, it’s that long ago), and whilst looking up at my Strokes and “Amelie” movie posters, being completely blown away by what I heard. I’d heard nothing like it before. I listened to the whole CD without moving an inch. Then put it back on again. “Jimmy the exploder”, “When I hear my name”, “St. James Infirmary”. I just didn’t know what to make of it. I only knew that it was amazing and that I wanted to play the guitar like Jack White.

This little gem was waiting for me.

I’ve only had two other album experiences like that, as I can recall (I say album, because live is a whole different story). The first was with The Strokes in 2001 – that’s when I discovered rock and everything changed for me. But it was different, because it was more comprehensive, easier to understand. It was plain cool rock music. The other experience is more like The White Stripes listening – Television’s epic track “Marquee Moon”. It’s one of those tracks where it starts out with a normal rhythm – but then the other guitar comes in and you just don’t know what’s going on. The whole rhythm, the track, just changes. And you need to listen to it several times to really get it.

I just didn’t know what to make of it. I only knew that it was amazing and that I wanted to play the guitar like Jack White.

So yeah, after the first shock, I was completely mesmerized by The White Stripes (thanks to little sis Eline for getting me both the Strokes & White Stripes for Christmas. You saved my life!). I remember bringing their CD with me to school to play it on our breaks – we had a CD player that we were allowed to use in turns. But I literally had to guard the CD player, because most of the other kids considered it noise, “he can’t even sing”, and so it didn’t deserve a listen. It was only till the Stripes came out with the “Jolene” cover by Dolly Parton that they thought it was cool.

I started a band with my little sister on drums and my friend on vocals. We performed “Dead leaves and the dirty ground” in a youth culture competition, as the only girls band. I remember feeling awkward then, with all the guys with guitars, but now looking back on it I think it’s pretty cool that we played that exact song. For countless hours me and my sister would play White Stripes songs, alongside other songs, in our room at home, borrowing the drum set off our marching band – my mum’s the band conductor. And every summer we try to do it again and see what we remember. Can’t wait to do it again this June.

But I literally had to guard the CD player, because most of the other kids considered it noise, “he can’t even sing”, and so it didn’t deserve a listen.

I never did get to see The White Stripes live, but they gave me so much inspiration, energy, ideas, anyway. And new great bands. So this was what I started thinking about after finding that documentary last night. It brought me back in time. And it only took me a few minutes, from starting the video, to remembering all of this.

And as in 2002, it left me with a lot to think about. It didn’t bring down the fever (HELLO! JACK WHITE!) – but it definetely made my Friday more bearable.

Watch the documentary here – maybe you’ll get inspired too! I’m definetely buying it and keeping it in my rock doc collection.

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Comments
3 Responses to “Under the White influence”
  1. Eline says:

    You’re welcome! See you at jam session in June.

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  1. […] we all know I love Jack White. I’ve been on about how I discovered the White Stripes before. Yesterday his first solo album, “Blunderbuss”, came out. I still haven’t heard […]



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