5 Things We Learned about Jack White from ‘New Yorker’ Interview

"We assumed the music we were making was private."

By Annie Reuter

Despite his widespread success in the music world, Jack White remains a mystery to most. The musician and producer rarely does interviews, but he recently granted one to The New Yorker, in which he opened up his world to the reader. Below are five things we learned about White from his interview.

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1. White says the White Stripes “had no business being in the mainstream”

“We assumed the music we were making was private, in a way. We were from the scenario where there are fifty people in every town. Something about us was beyond our control, though. Now it’s five hundred people, now it’s a second night, what is going on? Is everybody out of their minds?”

2. He almost became a priest

White was an altar boy as a child. During high school, he was accepted at a seminary in Wisconsin. “I was thinking I might become a priest,” he said. “At the last moment, I learned I couldn’t bring my guitar.”

3. He had microphones installed under the eves of his Nashville home to hear the rain better
As a result, his two children from his second marriage believe that he controls the weather because of his ability to make the rain louder.

4. He hopes to direct a movie one day
He frequently reads scripts and was disappointed at losing the opportunity to direct one about a Detroit drug dealer and F.B.I. informant called White Boy Rick.

5. He’s a collector
“He owns Leadbelly’s New York City arrest record, James Brown’s Georgia driver’s license from the nineteen-eighties, and Elvis Presley’s first record, a demo that the King made in 1953 when he was eighteen. White bought it for $300,000 at an auction, and loaned it to the Country Music Hall of Fame, where it was on display for a while,” Alec Wilkinson writes.

White also collects old photo booths and recording booths. Additionally, he has a number of pieces of taxidermy, including two hyenas, two gazelles, a kudu, an elk, an elephant head, and a zebra head, as well as a young giraffe that he keeps in his office in Nashville.

“If I’m going to invest in something, it has to have meaning to me, something that has historical value and can be passed on,” he said. “If I buy Elvis’s first record, and we are able to digitize it and release it, and people can own it, or I can preserve this comic book, it is cooler than buying some Ferrari or investing in British Petroleum.”

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