RIP The White Stripes

The last great new rock band calls it quits.

And so my last favorite band officially comes to an end. We saw it coming, of course, but it’s still hard when we’re finally confronted with the finale. The White Stripes are over.

In a statement on their website (which is currently down, swamped with traffic) the band says:

“The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health. It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.”

The band will still issue rare live recordings, but there won’t be any more new White Stripes material. I sort of suspect that Jack White will stick to his guns here; the sentiment of not wanting to ruin the band’s goodness feels like something a fan would say and I respect that.

I still remember buying their first record (on vinyl. Yeah, I was one of those way back when!) and being blown away. I had essentially given up on modern rock, but The White Stripes managed to have a sound that, while retro, was completely of the moment. Later, I had the chance to interview them. In my job I talk to every movie star and director you could ever hope to meet, but music people remain exciting mysteries to me. I found Meg to be very, very quiet, but Jack White was funny and smart and engaging. He was incredibly thoughtful, approaching his own music from his brain, unafraid to be even a little bit scholarly. He always struck me as the Quentin Tarantino of music.

I recommend checking out Under Great White Northern Lights, a documentary of their 2007 Canadian tour, which was pretty much the band’s swan song.