is reflecting on the unwitting chain of events that led him to make SFTW’s album of the year.Download
He explains that he had no specific intention to make the magnificent Blunderbuss, an eclectic work of sustained power that positively bursts with fresh ideas.
It’s the first album to bear his name and represents a massive moment in the stellar career of its creator.
“I found myself in a process where I didn’t really know what these songs were,” he says.
“They could have been anything. ‘Is this a Raconteurs song? Or maybe I’ll bring this to The Dead Weather. Or maybe I’ll just put out a 45 (vinyl single) on Third Man (his record label)’.”
The mercurial Jack, it’s pretty safe to say, is the hardest working man in rock.
He’s a singer, guitarist, songwriter, pianist, drummer, member of two bands, chief creative force behind the sadly defunct White Stripes and producer of around 150 records at his Nashville studio.
“I’d been producing 45s for other people the last few years till finally I had a few songs going of my own,” he says.thesun
“Suddenly it seemed like, ‘Oh, I guess this is turning into something’.”
In typical Jack White style, he pushed himself to turn half-formed ideas into something genuinely worthwhile.
“I had to figure out ways to stop it becoming the easy way out,” he tells me.
“I have an obsession with being hard on myself because I really need to feel proud of what I do.
“If I look back and see that I got the best engineers, that someone mixed the record for me, that it was just a bunch of people playing the parts, I couldn’t live with throwing my name on top of it.
“But now if someone says, ‘I really love that song, Jack’, I can enjoy the compliment because I know the conditions under which it was made.”
As the Blunderbuss songs took shape, Jack assembled some of Nashville’s finest musicians. Crucially for the dynamics of the record, many of them were women. “It only takes one girl in the room to change the entire scope of all the testosterone,” he laughs.
“A couple of years ago, I would have imagined playing most of the instruments myself but it was never the case working on these songs.
“I’d try to shake things up by saying, ‘What if we only have female musicians today?’
“This is by far the most people I’ve had play on one album, probably 20 altogether.”