Published Apr 23, 2012As the hype surrounding Jack White's first solo album, Blunderbuss, was kicking into high gear, Exclaim! got the chance to sit down with the rock'n'roll innovator at his Third Man headquarters in Nashville, TN.
The cat is now out of the bag that White will be touring with two new backing bands, one all-female and one all-male, throughout his upcoming North American tour, but he won't decide which until the morning of each show. As White explains, it's an extension of the spontaneous thought process that spawned Blunderbuss in the first place.
"This album naturally happened pretty much like everything else I've done," he says. "The Raconteurs just happened, the Dead Weather just happened. It was hard enough to do what I wanted to do with the White Stripes, but the thing is, once something starts happening naturally, I don't get in the way of it, I let it happen. I wouldn't say that I choose to do it, like actually tried to make myself fit into a particular situation. Even with the White Stripes, it just happened."
White goes on to say that he didn't feel it was right to embark on a solo career until he and White Stripes partner Meg White officially stated early in 2011 that they wouldn't reform the band. He also vehemently denied that there's any "breakup" theme on Blunderbuss as a result of that or from his amicable split from wife Karen Elson later that year.
"If it were a breakup record, it would be really weird to have Karen singing on three songs," White says. "To me, that disproves that idea. But people are always going to take things however they want to. If I come within ten feet of a female on stage, people are going to make something out of that, even though I'm more likely to kiss Loretta Lynn than [Dead Weather/Kills vocalist] Alison Mosshart."
White's natural ability to work with female musicians throughout his career is taken to new heights with his current all-female band, which includes vocalist Ruby Amanfu, Nashville singer-songwriter Brooke Waggoner on keyboards, and drummer Carla Azar, formerly of Autolux. Along with the male band, they're fully prepared when called upon to play all of the wide-ranging material on Blunderbuss, along with nearly the rest of White's catalogue.
"I've never had any prejudice toward anybody, and I've probably worked with more women than guys," White says. "What I've noticed working with women is that a lot of bullshit goes out the window, and the focus is on accomplishing the task and getting down to something.
"Guys can often walk in the room with a lot of other agendas going on -- egos, hang-ups -- especially 20-something white hipsters. They can bring so much bullshit to the table that you have to sift through, and then they might turn around and sabotage you a week later because of all those hang-ups. I haven't really experienced that working with females."
Blunderbuss is out on April 24 via Third Man/Columbia/XL. As previously reported, Gary Oldman will direct a live webcast on April 27 at Webster Hall in New York City. The show will be streamed in partnership with VEVO and YouTube at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.
5/15 Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium *
5/16 Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium *
5/18 Gulf Shores, AL - Hangout Music Festival
5/19 Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel *
5/21 New York, NY - Roseland Ballroom *
5/22 New York, NY - Roseland Ballroom *
5/24 Detroit, MI - Scottish Rite Theater *
5/26 Quincy, WA - Sasquatch! Music Festival
5/27 Vancouver, BC - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
5/28 Eugene, OR - Silva Concert Hall at Hult Center for the Performing Arts
5/30 Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern
5/31 Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern
6/22 Lodnon, UK - Hammersmith Apollo
6/23-24 London, UK - Radio 1′s Hackney Weekend
6/25 Amsterdam, NL - Heineken Music Hall
6/26 Berlin, DE - Tempodrom
6/27 Cologne, DE - E-Werk
6/29 Werchter, BE - Rock Werchter
7/1 Belfort, FR - Le Eurokeennes
7/2 Paris, FR - L'Olympia
7/5 Hamburg, DE - Docks
7/27-29 Niigata, JP - Fuji Rock Festival
* with Alabama Shakes