Dear The Black Keys, Danger Mouse, Adele, Meg White, Duffy, Lana Del Ray, and Amy Winehouse: Jack White is sorry.
The longstanding feud between White and The Black Keys over the contents of a lengthy Rolling Stone profile and a series of private emails has reached critical mass, prompting the White Stripes frontman to respond with a long letter on his personal website.
Comparing The Black Keys to teenage posers (essentially), White stated: “There are kids at school who dress like everybody else, because they don’t know what to do, and there are musicians like that, too. I’ll hear TV commercials where the music’s ripping off sounds of mine, to the point I think it’s me. Half the time, it’s The Black Keys. The other half, it’s a sound-alike song because they couldn’t license one of mine. There’s a whole world that’s totally fine with the watered-down version of the original.”
He also went on to lambast several other artists in his rant, including Adele and the late Amy Winehouse.
“Some people will hear that and say ‘Oh, Jack White thinks he’s the first person to play the blues.’ But certain acts open up a market for a certain style. Amy Winehouse: Did she invent white soul? Wearing a beehive? No. But she did something brand new and fresh, altogether as a package, and you see who’s in her wake, from the Duffys to the Lana Del Reys. Adele selling 20 million records? That would not have happened if Amy Winehouse was alive. The White Stripes did the same thing, and in our absence, you’re gonna find someone to fill that. And you get a band like The Black Keys, who said they never heard of the White Stripes? Sure.”
White, it turned out, had even more to say about Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach in a series of email exchanges between the singer and his ex-wife, Karen Elson. Dan Carney, The Black Keys’ drummer responded in kind, arguing that even though he said White “sounds like an a–hole,” that TMZ “should be f-king ashamed of themselves” for airing the couple’s dirty laundry in public.
Naturally, all of this has caused a bit of a headache for White these past few days, prompting the singer to draft a lengthy blog post on the matter, apologizing for the err of his ways. We’ve excerpted the apology bits below:
There are a lot of things that only people around me can know about or understand, but despite all of that I want to say this: I wish the band the Black Keys all the success that they can get. I hope the best for their record label Nonesuch who has such a proud history in music, and in their efforts to bring the Black Keys songs to the world. I hope for massive success also for their producer and songwriter Danger Mouse and for the other musicians that their band employs. Lord knows that I can tell you myself how hard it is to get people to pay attention to a two piece band with a plastic guitar, so any attention that the Black Keys can get in this world I wish it for them, and I hope their record stays in the top ten for many months and they have many more successful albums in their career.
I wish no slight to the talents of Winehouse, Duffy, Lana del Rey, and Adele. All of whom are wonderful performers with amazing voices. I have their records and I hope for more success for them all as the years go on. They deserve all they’ve gotten. And, I also would love to state that I personally find it inspiring to have powerful, positive female voices speaking out and creating at all times in the mainstream, and all of those singers do just that, so I thank them.
Meg White, who I also talked about to Rolling Stone about our working conversations, or lack thereof, is, of course, a musician I’ve personally championed for 15 years. She is a strong female presence in rock and roll, and I was not intending to slight her either, only to explain how hard it was for us to communicate with our very different personalities. This got blown out of proportion and made into headlines, and somehow I looked like I was picking on her. I would never publicly do that to someone I love so dearly. And, there are mountains of interviews where my words are very clear on how important I think she is to me and to music.
So, Jack White is attempting to eat his humble pie in the face of some intense and longstanding scrutiny. You buying it?