8 February 2018 | Live

Is Jack White the last surviving rock star in modern music?

Yeah, Jack White is a little on the pretentious side, but he’s also responsible for some of the greatest anthems of the last 10 years

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Written by Rosie Dodds

To attempt to interpret the inner-workings of Jack White’s mind - that is, his sole reason for existing, his raison d'être - is to create a mental image of an artist that, to someone who isn’t familiar with his music, might resemble that of a child in a John Lewis Christmas advert, or perhaps just a person whose arbitrary need to disrupt the status quo has completely warped their grip on reality.

What we're dealing with here is a man who has succeeded in playing a record in outer space, a man who has banned phones and all other recording “gizmos” at his gigs and demands that his staff at Third Man Records wear yellow and black uniforms. And yet, despite his continued efforts to blur the line between pretentiousness and eccentricity, this is also a man who represents one of the last surviving rock stars in modern music.

However idiosyncratic and easy to make fun of you may consider Jack White to be, there’s no denying that when you hear the thumping riff from Seven Nation Army - a sound that has been appropriated into some of the greatest battlecries of the twenty-first century - or the disconcerting sound of the clavioline keyboard used in Icky Thump, all reservations against the musician become temporarily lost in a chaotic flurry of white face powder and black hair dye.

"This is a man who represents one of the last surviving rock stars in modern music."

And even if rock isn’t your bag, any self-respecting music enthusiast over the age of 25 can remember how The White Stripes pretty much dominated the festival scene for the best part of the new millennium. The duo’s truculent lyrics and squalling vocals succeeded in turning the heads of even the most diehard of rock and roll sceptics, simply for the reason that they showed that contemporary music could still be just as exciting and ferocious as it had been 20 years before them.

White’s infamous love of vinyl, although somewhat extreme, is fundamentally rooted in his appreciation of the tangible, of all that has real value. And isn’t that just what every true rock star wants, to make and listen to music that actually means something?

So let Jack White ask you to put your phone away - I’ll be the first to admit that I’m tired of having my vision obscured by phones, cameras, and iPads alike at gigs. Call it eccentric, or just call it pretentious, but hiding behind his ghoulish facade is an artist who’s calling out for more authenticity in the music industry.

White’s infamous love of vinyl, although somewhat extreme, is fundamentally rooted in his appreciation of the tangible, of music that has real value. And isn’t that just what every true rock star wants, to make and listen to music that actually means something?

In truth, the leading musicians of 2018 could all do with a little bit of what Jack White has going on. Not the overbearing self-righteousness, that is, but at least the part of him that has an investment in giving the twenty-first century an authentic sound.

If you’d like to see Jack White live make sure you enter our latest #FreeForFans giveaway. This week we're giving someone the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the artist in all of his glory at the Eventim Apollo on 26 June 2018.

All you need to do is find the listing on our app by hitting the button below and tag a mate you’d like to bring along with you in the comment section.

If you don’t have the app installed you can download it via the App Store or Google Play. Good luck!