21 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About…Jack White

  1. His birth name is John Anthony Gillis
  2. He is the youngest of ten children and is the seventh son
  3. Was an altar boy. He had plans to become a priest and was accepted to a Wisconsin seminary.  He changed his mind at the last minute and decided to go to a public school because he didn’t think the seminary would allow him to bring his new amplifier
  4. He acquired his love for music indirectly from his brothers; he learned to play the instruments they abandoned. His first instrument was the drums, which he started playing at age 6 after he found a drum kit in his parents’ attic


5.  Began a three year upholstery apprenticeship at age 15.  While working in the shop, his friend introduced him to punk music; they would eventually form a band and record an album as The Upholsters. He later started a one man business “Third Man Upholstery” and created the slogan “Your Furniture Is Not Dead.”  Although very talented, he was often criticized for being unprofessional after he would write bills in crayon


6.  Is a taxidermist and has a stuffed peacock, giraffe and Himalayan goat


7.  Got his first professional gig at age 19 as a drummer in the Detroit band Goober and the Peas

8.  Met Megan White at the restaurant where she worked, and had an immediate connection. They got married in 1996, and in an unusual twist, took her last name.  After Meg learned to play the drums just for enjoyment and would often play music with Jack, he felt their playing was  “liberating and refreshing” The White Stripes were formed.  Although married, they presented themselves as siblings . When Meg and Jack announced their 2011 divorce, they threw a ‘positive swing band humdinger’ party to commemorate the end of their union


9.  The White Stripes were 2002’s most critically acclaimed band and were leading figures in the garage band revival. Their first album was recorded mostly in his parent’s attic.  John Peel, an influential British DJ said they were “the most exciting thing he heard since Jimi Hendrix.”  Their signature song became “Seven Nation Army” which hit #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and won them their first Grammy for “Best Rock Song.” They became the favorite band of many including Conan O’Brien, who booked them to be the musical guests on the last episode of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”  Shortly afterwards in February 2011, The White Stripes posted on their website that they were disbanding “mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band.”

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10.  He met his second wife British model Karen Elson during the filming of The White Stripes video “Blue Orchid.” Meg White was the Maid of Honor at the wedding.  Curiously, Jack and Karen’s wedding announcement stated it was the first marriage for them both


11.  Formed the band The Raconteurs in 2005. Their debut album ‘Broken Boy Soldiers’ and the single ‘Steady, As She Goes’ were nominated for Grammys

12.  Has worked with Beck, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Jeff Beck among others.  Collaborated with Alicia Keys on the James Bond “Quantum of Solace” theme song “Another Way To Die”

13.  Produced and performed on the 2004 Loretta Lynn album ‘Van Lear Rose’ which was a critical and commercial success.  There is current speculation they may reunite to work another album in 2015


14.  Has won eight Grammy awards for his work with The White Stripes and as a solo artist. His 2012 debut #1 solo album “Blunderbuss” was nominated for Grammys for Album of the Year, Best Rock Album and Best Rock Song for “Freedom at 21.” His second solo album “Lazaretto” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album chart and is nominated for a 2015 Grammy for Best Rock Album


15. Rolling Stone ranked him as #70 on the top 100 guitarists of all-time list

16.  His favorite song of all-time is “Grinnin’ In Your Face’ by blues musician Son House.  Blues music has been a major influence on his music. His large collection of guitars and other instruments include many vintage items affiliated with blues guitarists. Also in his guitar collection are his principle guitars:  a red “JB Hutto” Airline guitar, and  vintage 1964 model originally distributed by the Montgomery Ward department store.  He calls his three Grestch Rancher Falcon guitars his ‘girlfriends,’ as each one has a classic movie star on the back: Claudette Colbert, Rita Hayworth and Veronica Lake.


17.  Has been known to create misdirection about his personal life to protect his privacy and keep the focus on the music

18.  When the Detroit Masonic Temple was nearly foreclosed in 2013, he paid the entire $142,000 due in back taxes.  To show their appreciation, they named one of their theatres ‘The Jack White Theatre’


19.  Has had several acting roles including “Cold Mountain” and playing Elvis Presley in “Walk Hard.”  It was during the filming of “Cold Mountain” that he met and eventually dated Renee Zellweger.  While dating Zellweger, they were in a car accident which resulted in him breaking his left index finger.  He posted the necessary surgery on the finger on the internet


20.  His studio presses vinyl recordings of his own work and other artists including Conan O’Brien’s comedy album. He also records school children who visit the studio for tours. His latest album “Lazaretto” holds the record for the most first-week vinyl sales since 1991.  He says: “We can’t afford to lose the feeling of cracking open a new record and looking at large artwork and having something you can hold in your hands”


21.  Is a board member of the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Foundation

8-Time Grammy Winner, Jack White will be performing January 31 at the Schottenstein Center with special guest Chicano Batman.  For more information, go to www.theschottensteincenter.com


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