Long before he was serving as Record Store Day 2013's official ambassador, winning Grammys, talking to Baba Booey or even opening his Nashville-based record shop and label Third Man Records, Jack White was a struggling musician. And like any struggling young musician, White took the occasional super-bizarre gig in order to supplement his income. Gigs like, say, playing a generic "rock band" guitarist in an ad for Infinity speakers. As you can see above, the ad in question was recently uploaded to Third Man's official YouTube page and features White rocking along on his now-iconic JB Hutto Montgomery Airline guitar to the cheesy strains of a song called "Close to the Edge." Also featured in the "band" are White's fellow Detroiters Marc Fellis (The Go), Kevin Peyok (The Waxwings) and Dave Buick (Italy Records). The ad was filmed in December 1999 (six months after the release of The White Stripes' eponymous debut via Sympathy for the Record Industry) "and shown exclusively at the North American International Auto Show in January 2000."
A Third Man representative sent along the link, along with a full release (see it after the jump) detailing how exactly Mr. White landed the cameo. Long story short: Dan Miller (who played in bands like Blanche and Two Star Tabernacle with dudes like White and "Little" Jack Lawrence) was working on an ad to be featured at the North American International Auto Show, and he asked White to serve as a production assistant and to round up some pals to play in the ad's featured "band." In a perfect Detroit storm of the auto industry and garage rock, the damn thing happened. And it resurfaces now. Not only that, but some additional footage also shot on that same fateful day ended up appearing in Joe Pullin's recently uploaded video for the John Oates-co-written and Peter Frampton-featuring song "I Will Wait for You." That's after the jump as well. Classic stuff. And weird.
In December 1999 Dan Miller (Blanche, Two-Star Tabernacle) called Jack White saying he was working on a video shoot that needed a “rock band” and that if Jack wanted to round up a couple of friends they could make some quick, easy money. He also asked if Jack could be a production assistant on the shoot between takes.
The clip was used as a promotion for Infinity speakers and shown exclusively at the North American International Auto Show in January 2000. Featuring Jack White (guitar), Marc Fellis (drums), Kevin Peyok (bass) and Dave Buick (vocals). The only other known “public” showing was on the TV behind the bar at the Garden Bowl Lounge in Detroit. Hilarity ensued.
Brendan Benson was originally supposed to be one of the band members but ended up deciding against it. Dave Buick is wearing the jacket that Mick Collins wore for most of his time in the Gories. Kevin Peyok is playing a red Hagstrom bass that Jack White used to record his parts on the Hentchmen’s “Hentch-Forth” album.
Kevin Carrico was hired on as Director of Photography (He was also DP on Hotel Yorba, Black Belles, etc...). He met Jack White on this shoot for the first and remembers Jack speaking in a British accent for the first half of the first day of shooting. When Kevin asked Dan Miller what the deal was with the British guy, Dan let him in on the joke that Jack was just messing around. Kevin also remembers that after the cameras cut that Jack would help re-arrange lights and move around props as he was also working as a production assistant on the shoot. On a side note, Dan Miller can be seen "conducting" the orchestra in the Classical portion of the advertisement.
At the end of the shoot the band was asked if they could also stick around for some additional filming. Footage would materialize 14 years later in this video clip with the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road’s studio one, featuring Peter Frampton on guitar and a song written by Joe Pullin and John Oates of Hall & Oates.