Seven Nation Army
Grammy-winning rock musician, singer, and music producer Jack White, who once wanted to become a priest, is famous as the guitarist and lead vocalist of the duo group The White Stripes, along with Meg White as the band’s drummer. He came to the international attention with the group’s third release White Blood Cells (2001) and the alternative smash hit “Fell in Love with a Girl,” and went on to reach stardom with the Grammy-winning album Elephant (2003) and the Grammy-winning song “Seven Nation Army.” The White Stripes’ fifth album, Get Behind Me Satan, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart. Jack also nabbed a Grammy Award in 2004 for his duet with renowned artist Loretta Lynn, in the song “Portland, Oregon.” It was comprised in Lynn’s album Van Lear Rose (2004), in which Jack also served as producer. Jack is also one of the members of the rock group The Raconteurs, and the owner of a record label, Third Man Records.
Aside from his musical career, Jack also has occasionally appeared as an actor. He appeared as Georgia in Cold Mountain (2003) and in the comedy Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), written and helmed by Jim Jarmusch. He is rumored to play the role of Elvis Presley in the upcoming comedy Walk Hard (2008).
As for his personal life, Jack is known for his eccentric behavior, passions and hobbies. For example, he is interested in taxidermy, an interest that cultivated from his years in upholstering. He also has fascinations with the number three and all that it symbolizes, as well as with red, white, and black colors, which he believes are the three most dominant colors in the universe. As a result, he and The White Stripes dress only in those three colors whenever they perform. On a more private note, Jack is the ex-husband of the White Stripes-mate Meg White, whom he formerly mentioned as his sister. He is now married to model-singer Karen Elson and had a daughter in 2006. They are expecting their second kid, due late Summer 2007.
Son House’s Fan
Childhood and Family:
John Anthony Gillis, who would later be famous as Jack White, was born on July 9, 1975, to a big Catholic family in Detroit, Michigan. He is the youngest of ten children of Gorman and Teresa Bandyk Gillis, who both worked for the Archdiocese of Detroit. His father worked as the maintenance man and his mother as the Cardinal’s secretary. As a child, he became an admirer of classical music, and taught himself how to play the drums when he was five. Growing up, he added the blues and 1960s rock as his favorite music to be listened to. During this time, he idolized such blues musicians as Son House and Blind Willie McTell. Jack wanted to become a pastor prior to be a musician. Recalling, he said “I’d got accepted to a seminary in Wisconsin, and I was gonna become a priest, but at the last second I thought, ‘I’ll just go to public school.” I had just gotten a new amplifier in my bedroom, and I didn’t think I was allowed to take it with me.”
Jack was married to Meg White, a bartender-turned-band mate, from September 21, 1996 to March 24, 2000. He married his current wife, model and singer Karen Elson, who appeared in the music video for the White Stripes song “Blue Orchid,” on June 1, 2005. The ceremony was held in Manaus, Brazil, with Ian Montone as best man and Meg as the maid of tribute. Their daughter, Scarlett Teresa, was born on May 2, 2006, in Tennessee, where they recently purchased a new house. The couple are expecting their second child, due late Summer 2007.
After high school, wanting to learn business, the Detroit, Michigan native Jack White apprenticed as an upholsterer’s assistant at Muldoon Studio for three years before finally setting up his own upholstery shop, Third Man Upholstery, at age 21. During his term at Muldoon Studio, he founded a band with the owner Brian Muldoon called Two Part Resin, and they produced the 3-track-single The Upholsterers. By this period, Jack had already worked with several bands, including the country-rock group Goober and the Peas (played the drums) and the rock groups The Go and Two Star Tabernacle (both as guitarist/vocalist).
As a struggling businessman, Jack met Meg White (born on December 10, 1974, in Detroit, Michigan), who at that time was a bartender, and they formed a rock duo called White Stripes, in 1997, with Jack playing guitar and singing and Meg playing the drums. They made their live performance debut at the Gold Dollar in Detroit in July that same year, and soon became an underground darling in Detroit and other circles. After signing with Sympathy for the Record Industry, The White Stripes released their self-titled debut album in 1999.
The sophomore effort De Stijl followed in the next year. Despite the couple’s devastating personal life, marked by their marriage failure, the duo remained intact and signed to a bigger label, V2 Records. Under this record label, the band enjoyed international success with the release of White Blood Cells (2001), which spawned the alternative hit “Fell in Love with a Girl.” They cemented their reputation as one of the most popular guitar rock groups in the US with their fourth album, Elephant (2003), which won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album. The single of “Seven Nation Army” brought Jack, as the songwriter, a Grammy for Best Rock Song. The same year, Jack was named Rolling Stone’s “17th greatest guitarist of all time.” He furthered those prominences by taking on the role of Georgia in box office civil war movie Cold Mountain (2003), starring Nicole Kidman, where he also performed several songs for the film’s soundtrack in a traditional acoustic style. Along with Meg, he also appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s film Coffee and Cigarettes, that same year.
Riding high on The White Stripes’ victory, Jack collaborated with the famed Loretta Lynn for a duet song “Portland, Oregon.” The song was included in Lynn’s 2004 album Van Lear Rose, where Jack also served as producer. The album was launched to huge critical acclaim, and won two Grammies out of five nominations, in the categories of Best Country Album and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for the duet. He returned to The White Stripes in 2005 for the album Get Behind Me Satan, which spotted Jack playing less guitar to more focus on piano, marimba and other instruments. The album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, which is considered as the band’s highest debut on the chart. Meanwhile, he recorded and produced the first 45 record for his ex-mentor Brian Muldoon’s family project, The Muldoons. Hunter and Shane, Muldoon’s two sons, front the trio.
In addition to The White Stripes, Jack is also known as part of the rock band The Raconteurs (known in Australia as the Saboteurs). In 2006, he embarked on tours in support of the group’s debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers. In September that same year, Jack and Meg had cameo roles in an episode of “The Simpsons.”
Currently, Jack is working with Garbage vocalist Shirley Manson on a string of tracks for her debut solo album. With The White Stripes, he plans to release the group’s next album, reportedly called Icky Thump, on Warner Bros., this year 2007.