Jack White interview | GQ

From The Survivors issue.


GQ: When I interviewed Wanda Jackson she said that you told her you don’t take a guitar solo, you attack a guitar solo.
Jack White:
Yeah, you have to. You have to. I don’t know how you can do it politely. Even Django Reinhardt didn’t do it politely. You have to be so involved, and it has to be a fight, a power struggle. Some kind of confrontation. I think that’s what we witness in good stories, in good films, good music—we’re witnessing confrontation. Protagonists and antagonists. People fighting about something. That’s what stories are. And if you want to tell a story with a guitar, you have to do that. Sometimes you have to be both the protagonist and the antagonist at the same time.


GQ: How would you distill what you’re after when you’re producing?
Jack White:
I want to blow something up. I want to make something happen that’s hard to do. I want to be able to say, “We didn’t spend a million dollars in a studio and 17 months on Pro Tools—we did that with two napkins and a toothpick.” That’s what I’m proud of. The circumstances, the energy that was in the room that got created that wouldn’t have been there had you not done such and such a thing. I get off on those ideas. Trying to shake things up and make something happen. It doesn’t always work—you can’t just fire off a gun and all of a sudden someone’s going to record a hit song—but the attempt is worth it. It’s the “taking it easy” part—when I go and see people in the studios, and I see them taking it easy, it upsets me. It kind of bums me out. I want to take ’em aside and take ’em outside and say, “What are you doing? I don’t understand why you’re doing that.” I think a lot of people are trained to think that when they play in front of X amount of people, I’ve arrived, I’ve made it, and now I can rest on my laurels, because I’m The Guy. And that’s the biggest mistake.


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