The White Stripes have officially broken up, according to Pitchfork.
This is bad -- but not unexpected -- news. Jack seemingly starts a new project every year or two and the Stripes simple, punky songs have seemed increasingly at odds with the Zeppelinesque arena rock of The Dead Weather and, to a certain lesser extent, The Raconteurs.
Jack doesn't talk to the media much and Meg doesn't talk at all so speculation is sure to run rampant in the near and far future. Especially since their official site with a full statement was crumpled by traffic after the news broke.
"The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue... It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way," is what Pitchfork quoted.
An image of the site before it crashed with the full statement is below along with some thoughts about this news.
The White Stripes were a true original. One of the greatest bands of my generation, certainly, and an act that I'll miss a lot. A few other thoughts:
If You Didn't Get The Chance To See Them, You Have My Pity
I had the good fortune of seeing them a few times -- once with The Strokes at Chene Park in Detroit in 2002, which was an amazing show of scenester force. I also saw them in a club with about 800 people in Cleveland and at a Mason Lodge in Detroit -- all amazing shows. The Stripes were incredible live even if Meg wasn't much of a drummer. I always wondered whether they'd be able to take their very simple show to the next level -- to be able to play arenas, just the two of them -- and now I guess we'll never find out. That idea always seemed odd to me, though, so in a way I'm relieved we'll never see them try to play a basketball arena... At least not until they re-unite to cash in when we're all old and gray.
When a Band is Made Up of Exes this Seems Pretty Natural
Sure, when you're recently divorced staying in your profitable little garage rock band with your ex makes sense -- it's your career and you have a well-established pattern of behavior. What about when you're famous, richer than fuck, married or dating other people and living in different cities? You'd have to imagine Jack's new wife and Meg's beau weren't crazy about them touring or recording in close quarters, even if they had enough cash to keep those quarters from being too close. But, beyond that, both of them have grown and evolved a lot as people. And they no longer have a reason to keep this little band together. They probably don't relate to each other the same way -- and their relationship is where the band's gravitas came from.
What's Meg Going to Do Now? Probably Nothing that Means She'll Be On Stage
Meg's sex tape leak might have been the ultimate end of this band. She's a shy girl and knowing a certain percentage of the crowd had seen her named and engaged in coitus probably bothered her more than she'll ever say. That's a shame -- the band was victimized by the blogosphere that they didn't really owe shit to, having come up through NME and the American glossies, but which obsessed over them. Sad.
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Jack White Will Never Be in a Better Band
I realize I'm in the minority in my extreme ambivalence toward anything Jack has done that isn't either with the White Stripes, by Loretta Lynn or the first Raconteurs record, but everyone out there should be able to appreciate that the Stripes were something new, beautiful and precious whereas his other acts are just dudes with guitars playing rock music. He had one amazing vision and he saw it out. The band became the biggest of their era -- that's awesome. But it'll get harder and harder to watch his other projects become less and less unique.
Here's the band doing what they do best. And, for the record, I've been inside the elevator at the Hotel Yorba. It's scary.