Jack White, the founder of Nashville's Third Man Records and frontman for The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather, sat down for a fascinating interview with Patrick Doyle of Rolling Stone. In the interview, White discussed the latest projects at Third Man Records, his thoughts on blues music, and his own efforts recording new music.
Third Man has reissued remastered versions of the complete works of Charley Patton, Blind Willie McTell, and the Mississippi Sheiks, all of whom had a huge influence on blues music. White views them as "a gigantic leap forward in music." Blues has always been very important to White, who first became exposed to the genre at the tender age of 17. Reissuing old blues records has been a dream of his since the inception of Third Man. He remarks, "when Third Man Records opened, the first thought I had was it would be so nice to put those records out on vinyl again, because they haven't been available in 20 or 30 years now."
Although music from Blind Willie McTell and others of his generation is nearly 80 years old, he maintains that it is still relevant and deeply influential. "Blues musicians are telling the same stories that, you know, Lil Jon and Jay-Z are telling today. They're just telling it in a different style," he says.
Third Man Records, which started out as a storage area for White's collection of instruments, has become a creative powerhouse in the music industry. Unlike most other record labels, Third Man is not profit-driven. " break even if we're lucky, but the point is that we just want this stuff to exist so it fuels everybody's creativity," says White. Besides reissuing old blues vinyl, Third Man also presses records for local school bands and even operates a mobile record store truck. The emphasis, he states, is on "combining something beautiful that's timeless ... and something brand new."
He has been involved with a number of musical projects over the past few years, including The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, as well as touring and recording music as a solo musician. In the interview, White reveals that he has been recording music for an upcoming solo album. Considering he collaborates with many different musicians and has many different influences, it's not surprising that his creative process is a little unorthodox:
I don't pick my style and then write a song. I just write whatever comes out of me, and whatever style it is is what it is, and it becomes something later. Someone else can label it if they want to, but as it's being written and recorded I'm just trying to service the song as best as possible. So that's, again, what I'm still doing.
Through his own music and through his record label, Jack White continues to push the envelope in new and creative ways. Read through the full interview to learn even more about White and what's happening at Third Man.