Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jack White Speaks on Authenticity, Launches Nationwide Scavenger Hunt

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 2:18 PM

click to enlarge jackwhite.jpg

One of the things that fascinates me about Jack White is that he gets attention for simply being, in today's contrived, calculated music industry, relatively original with regard to his business strategies, aesthetics and reverence for the old way of doing things. Recently White accepted an "honorary patronage" from the University Philosophical Society at Dublin, and he spoke on the subject of authenticity. According to Pitchfork:

But instead of espousing the same old notions of classic rock realness, White's take sounds refreshingly open-minded. NME quotes him as saying, "I don't know if Bob Dylan and Tom Waits are as authentic as I think they are. Perhaps they're not...Sometimes you start thinking that maybe Britney Spears or someone like that who's doing exactly what they want to do in the way that they best know how, is more authentic than any of those people you could mention."

Depending on what you think of Jack White, that may come off as refreshing as a glass of Coke or as pretentious as a stringent red-and-white motif. Still, one of my favorite things Jack White ever said--and I'm far from what you'd call a White Stripes or even Raconteurs superfan--was that (and I'm paraphrasing) participating in Detroit's rock scene became exhausting because it required navigating these landmines of cool all the time.

I find that to be incredibly similar to inhabiting Nashville's rock scene: What you like or don't like and why you do or don't like it is always under intense scrutiny--and if someone disagrees, you often find yourself on the receiving end of some pretty preposterous insults. Defending slick, catchy pop makes you an idiot, preferring a cool aesthetic alongside bands you like makes you shallow and not liking shit everyone else does makes your viewpoints instantly irrelevant. It gets old, and, frankly, rarely advances any kind of interesting conversation about music. So kudos to White for pointing out something far more authentic than any Bob Dylan fan is willing to hit the pillow at night considering. (Nothing against Dylan.)

Oh, and White apparently also stashed about 100 EPs from former musical outfit The Upholsterers in the lining of various items of furniture he worked on. I smell collectibles.

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