What's red and white and rock all over?
The White Stripes are usually classified as minimalist Detroit rock, a tagline more than it is a description of the music of Jack and Meg White. More descriptive would be to say that their music is grounded in blues and punk but varies widely and can tend toward an aggressive folk style. They have been labeled as Led Zeppelin-esque, which is probably mostly from the heavier and bluesier numbers. Jack's voice is also reminiscent of Robert Plant (I have also found that he can sound similar to Black Francis from the Pixies). However the band resents the Zeplin reference and claim to have more roots in the Beatles.
Frontman Jack White plays guitar and sings well. Meg expresses the band's minimalism beating on a simple drum kit in the background. Jack has played in a number of Detroit bands such as Goober and the Peas and the Detroit Cobras, as well as producing for his label, Sympathy for the Record Industry. Despite what you will read in nearly every article written about them, the candy-striped couple are not brother and sister. In a Metro Times interview, Jack explains that they were married, are no longer, and don't want to talk about it. Enough said.
Since ther inception on Bastille Day, 1997, they always appeared on stage wearing red and white. Jack (definitely the spokesman for the band) says dressing up and having a gimmick is something he picked up from his childhood blues heroes. Why red and white? The best reason I've heard so far is that Jack had a pair of red pants he really likes. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, the dress code has become somewhat an obsession for the band. All of their album art fits the scheme, as well as the peppermint spiral on the drum set. They have done shows where the only entrance fee was a red and white gift to the band.
Though their songs rarely break the three minute barrier, they have manage to gather up enough of them to make three full length albums and a bunch of seven inch singles. Everything they do is released on vinyl which is nice even if it is low quality, thin vinyl that comes out of the shrinkwrap already warped.
The List Includes:
White Stripes ?/99
De Stijl 8/00
White Blood Cells 6/01
and just under a dozen seven inch singles.
For an introduction I recommend:
- i fought pihranas
- apple blossom*
- hotel yorba
- pretty good looking
- the big three killed my baby
*a nice story behind this song. When asked what his favorite gift from a fan was he said a video tape of a second grade class singing "apple blossom" while the teacher played guitar.
P.S. from the Everything2 editors: The White Stripes officially called it quits on 2011-02-02.