Jack White isn’t ready to call a truce with fellow garage-rock titans The Black Keys. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, White once again suggested that Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney wouldn’t be where they are today if not for The White Stripes. Actually, that’s putting it kindly:
“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,” White said. “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.”
“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.”
The Jack White-Black Keys relationship has always been tense, but it really ignited last summer when TMZ obtained email exchanges between White and his then wife Karen Elson. In one email, White expressed displeasure with the idea of his children going to the same school as Auerbach’s. “My concern with Auerbach is because I don’t want the kids involved in any of that crap,” White wrote. You aren’t thinking ahead. That’s a possible twelve fucking years I’m going to have to be sitting in kids chairs next to that asshole with other people trying to lump us in together. He gets yet another free reign to follow me around and copy me and push himself into my world.”
Auerbach’s bandmate, Patrick Carney, responded to White’s comments during a recent interview with Rolling Stone. Carney referred to White as “an asshole,” but added that TMZ “should be fucking ashamed of themselves” for releasing his emails.
“I actually feel embarrassed for him,” Carney told Rolling Stone. “I don’t hold grudges, man. I really don’t. We’ve all said fucked-up shit in private, and divorce is hard.”
He continued: “Those e-mails that Jack White wrote that got leaked, as fucked up as that shit is, that was a private conversation, and it doesn’t register to me. You know how horrifying it would be if all of our private shit was aired? And people go sniffing around looking for this shit. And ultimately it’s no one’s business.”
White and The Black Keys are both set to appear at Glastonbury. Maybe they can settle this once and for all with a mud wrestling competition?