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The White Stripes

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GenreRock, Alternative, Indie
AboutDetroit minimalist rock duo (specifically, southwest Detroit minimalist rock duo) the White Stripes --
Jack White, guitar and vocals, Meg White, drums -- formed in 1997 (Bastille Day, to be precise)
with the idea of making simple rock & roll music. From the red and white peppermint candy motif of their debut singles,
self-titled album, and stage show to their on-the-surface rudimentary style,
they succeeded wildly and immediately with that mission.
Their first recordings were a mix of garage rock, blues, and the occasional show tune.
In frontman Jack (a former drummer for Detroit country outfit Goober & the Peas),
the White Stripes have a formidable songwriter, guitar player, and vocalist
capable of both morphing between styles and changing the musical styles themselves;
ranging from the folk blues of Blind Willie McTell to soaring Kinks-esque pop and narrative pop tunes
worthy of Cole Porter and into deepest Captain Beefheart territory within the span of 15 minutes
is not an uncommon listening experience with either the White Stripes live show or on record.
In drummer Meg, the White Stripes have a minimalist percussionist who seems to sense intuitively exactly when to not play.
The White Stripes are grounded in punk and blues, but the undercurrent to all of their work has been the aforementioned striving for simplicity,
a love of American folk music, and a careful approach to intriguing, emotional,
and evocative lyrics not found anywhere else in the modern punk, or garage rock (or amongst post-modern "blues" practitioners such as Jon Spencer, for that matter).

While they may have sprung from the Detroit rock scene (and they remain regular fixtures on the Detroit club circuit with Jack producing or working with many Detroit-area bands),
the White Stripes quickly gained a national following after two successive tours with indie rockers Pavement and Sleater-Kinney in 1999 and 2000. The White Stripes released their second LP, De Stijl, in 2000 and it further spread the group's reputation.
They followed its release with successful tours of Japan and Australia and entered the Memphis studio of renowned producer Doug Easley for 2001's White Blood Cells.
The album was a critical smash and the White Stripes soon found themselves, along with the Strokes and the Hives, at the forefront of the new wave of rock & roll bands poised to take over the world.
This, however, gained them press intrusion into their lives that they did not want. Infamously, Jack and Meg have always claimed to be siblings, but it only recently emerged that they were, in fact, married. John Gillis and Megan White married in 1997, and John took Meg's name, White and created and stage persona, Jack White.
The band certainly did their best to acheive world domination, appearing on Late Night with David Lettterman, being written about in Time, the New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly, playing the MTV Movie Awards and having their video for "Fell in Love with a Girl" in heavy rotation on MTV.
They also made the tough decision to jump to a major label; White Blood Cells was reissued on V2 in January of 2002 and their first two records followed suit in June. The White Stripes truly became big time rock stars when their "Fell in Love with a Girl" clip was nominated for four MTV Video Awards including Best Video of the Year (alongside Eminem and *NSYNC!), Breakthrough Video, Best Special Effects in a Video and Best Editing in a Video.
That summer the group also played four triumphant shows with the Strokes, two apiece in the bands' respective hometowns. In spring 2003 their fourth full-length Elephant -- recorded in two weeks at London's Toerag Studio and dedicated to "the death of the sweetheart" -- arrived to nearly unanimous critical acclaim.
However, now that the White Stripes had gained more exposure, other Detroit bands were keen to follow suit. The most famous of these, are The Von Bondies. Jack and Jason Stollstimer had been close friends for many years, and Jack had even produced their band's second album.
However, in late 2003, things turned sour and Jack and Jason were involved in a brawl in a Detriot bar. It resulted in Jack pleading guilty to battery and assult, therefore having to pay damages, attend anger management classes, and be put under a restrining order from Stollsteimer.
None of this slowed the now worldwide famous stars. Elephants' first single, the bassless yet bass heavy 7 Nation Army, is now a classic. Other singles to follow included the jumpy "Hardest Button To Button" the blistering "Black Math" and the infamous Kate-Moss-Pole-Dancing-Video for their cover for "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself."

Work on the fifth album, Get Behind Me Satan, was completed in two weeks in Jack's Detroit home.
Released in June to massive acclaim, and preceeded by single Blue Orchid.
The second single was the insanely catchy "My Doorbell" which featured a bassline, much to the shock of fans.
The third single to be lifted from the album was "The Denial Twist." Jack announced he is going to become a father for the first titme with his supermodel wife, and much to the shock of fans, his intentions to write a song for Coca-Cola.

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