Jack White is more than his reputation: 'I'm just not that guy'

White talks about his new album and tells us why he was eager to push against his reputation for being an old-fashioned analog guy who resists the digital world.
Jack White's new album Boarding House Reach is out now. (David James Swanson)

Jack White, who you might know best as the frontman for the White Stripes, has a reputation for being an old-fashioned analog guy who resists the temptations of the digital world. Believe it or not, it's a reputation he doesn't like. 

"I'm just so sick of it. You know, it just goes on and on for like 15 years, and I'm just not that guy," he says. 

That said, he still believes there's something lost when digital innovations are used to strip music of its imperfections. 

"It's just making it as stagnant as possible, there's no life. All of the music that we love, there's a looseness in the room, the beat changes, the speed and tempo change as the song goes on. If you listen to a Motown song, by the end they're going faster than when they first started the song, even though the drummer is totally in the pocket and it's grooving. But trying to make it into mathematics at times, I think that could be a dangerous thing," he says before correcting himself "For me. I'm not telling anybody else how to do it."

After a career in which his quotes have been taken out of context to position him as being against modern music, he's careful to try to avoid that. He tells Tom Power why he was eager to shatter that image with his wildly eclectic new album, Boarding House Reach

"This album has so many things, it has so many levels to it," he says. "I also almost hate talking about it because I've always, throughout the years, as people asked me how did you do this and I tell them and it's something kind of strange, I've become a poster boy for, 'hey I did this by gas lamp in the garage somewhere or I did it to a wax cylinder with nothing but a piece of straw. It's never been my intention. … The ways I try to do these things are really me trying to get in a different zone."

He also talks about the state of rock 'n' roll — "every five, eight years someone thinks rock 'n' roll is dying" — and looks back at the very first single from the White Stripes, released 20 years ago. You can see White perform live in Toronto on Saturday, June 9 and to Vancouver on Sunday, August 12. Boarding House Reach is out now.

Produced by Stuart Berman

Jack White, "Connected by Love" 


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