Jack White: Before The White Stripes
Jack & Meg White
The Success of Jack White
Jack White first gained fame as part of the influential rock & roll power duo The White Stripes. From there he also found success with The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather and as a solo artist. On top of that he also runs his own record company and has had success as a producer. Of course all of this is well documented. But before him and Meg were declared as undisputed champions of the rock & roll tag team division, what was Jack White up to musically?
Right now we will consider 5 of Jack White's pre-Stripes music projects.
At 15 years of age Jack White accepted a job as an apprentice upholsterer with family friend Brian Muldoon. White credits Muldoon to introducing him to punk rock and the two eventually formed a band. Muldoon played drums and Jack White played guitar.
The power duo ended up releasing a 7' record, Makers of High Grade Suites. They were originally named Two Part Resin, but they released the record under the name The Upholsterers. Even though the initial recording took place prior to The Stripes, it wasn't released until 2000 (the Stripes released their debut in 1999, but didn't make their commercial breakthrough until 2001's White Blood Cells). The 7" included two covers and a Jack White original tune, "Apple of My Eye". The 7" has been produced in limited quantities and it is considered a rare collector's item.
Apple of My Eye by The Upholsterers (Video)
Goober & the Peas
Goober and the Peas was a Detroit area Cowpunk band that were active 1990-95. They built up a cult following for themselves for their entertaining live show and twisted sense of humor. White had a brief stint as the drummer for the Peas. Still performing under his birth name he was credited as John "Doc" Gillis. He drummed on three of the songs off their final album, 1995's The Jet-Age Genius of Goober & the Pea.
The band (minus Jack White) formed for a mini reunion in 2009 and they were able to sell out local venues around the Detroit area.
Neighbors by Goober & The Peas (Jack White on drums) (Video)
Formed in 1992, The Hentchmen was a Detroit area garage punk band. Jack White was an occasional member of the band. He played guitar and lead vocals on the band's cover of "Some Other Guy" (a 60s rock song recorded by The Beatles, among others) which was released as a 45 in 1997. White also played on a few of their songs from their 1998 album Hentch-Forth. The band definitely had a really cool retro 60s garage rock feel. It is a shame that they didn't have a bigger profile.
At the time Jack White was just starting up The White Stripes, and the Stripes just signed to Italy Records, the same Detroit indie label that The Hentchmen were signed to.
Some Other Guy by The Hentchmen (with Jack White) (Video)
Along with Jack White, Two-Star Tabernacle also featured Dan John Miller and his wife Tracee Mae & Damian Lang. Dan John Miller was the lead singer of the previously mentioned Goober and the Peas. Miller also played Johnny Cash's guitar player Luther Perkins, in the biopic Walk The Line. Miller and his wife also went on to form alt-country band Blanche. Lang was also in Goober and the Peas and he went on to join The Detroit Cobras.
Two-Star Tabernacle went on to release two 7" vinyl records. The first one was in 1998. The second one was released in 2011, but it was recorded around the same time as the first. A number of songs that originated with Two-Star Tabernacle ended up being reworked as Stripes songs. One example of this is "Hotel Yorba" which appeared on the Stripes 2001 commercial breakthrough White Blood Cells.
Hotel Yorba by Two-Star Tabernacle (Video)
The Go was another band that was a part of Detroit's underground garage rock scene. Jack White was the lead guitarist on their 1999 debut album, Whatcha Doin' which was released on the influential indie label, Sub Pop. After Jack White left to find fame with The Stripes, The Go continued to soldier on. They went on to release 7 albums with 2013's Fiesta being the latest.
The Go was yet another great Detroit band with a retro cool rocking sound which were somewhat overlooked.
Me Me At The Movies by The Go (Video)
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© 2013 CJ Baker