by Brian Smith
No matter how you view it Jack White made rock 'n' roll exciting again, without a hit song or much airplay. So how’d he do it?
Well it wasn’t necessarily his irreproachable sense of aesthetics, and sexual tension for little girls. Nor was it that false hint of arrogance, and androgyny, or the way he stays at arms length and eschews social media, but that stuff helped.
No, White’s one indefinable quality is a slow-burning spark that makes others want to know more about him, just like old Dylan and Sam Cooke, Marc Bolan and Kurt Cobain, or Benicio Del Toro ... it’s that one thing that allows White to do exactly as he pleases and be famously paid and adored for it.
Mr. White is, you’ll note, the last rock 'n' roll star. He even helps old ladies cross the street!
Having said that, and in our issue that streets today, new MT music journo Nathan Phillips tackles the Jack White-helmed album by 73-year-old Wanda Jackson, The Party Ain't Over (out next Tuesday), which you should read here. Watch the video below for the album’s Dylan cover (suggested by Bob himself) of “Thunder on the Mountain." What’s funny, the clip — with all of its weird Lynchian detachment and sartorial charm — was actually set inside a Nashville record pressing plant and not your alcoholic uncle’s basement rec room.
(Note that White and Jackson will appear together, performing on Late Night with David Letterman tomorrow [Thursday] night, backed by the Third Man house band.)