gone punk

Punk is in the air. Jack White’s debut solo release is slowly creeping up on us, just like March did. Out not soon enough on April 24 on Third Man Records/Columbia, Blunderbuss, is shaping up to be a hearty record full of rock, twang and a full-on punk release. [The vinyl 7” of Love Interruption/Machine Gun Silhouette should be enough for you.]

Jack White is the punk heavy hitter around these days. He makes records with soul backup bands, slide guitars and organs. He also produces a myriad of artists, from the great Wanda Jackson to Steven Colbert and, we’ll never forget, The Insane Clown Posse. The man does what he wants and he does it in style.


Jack White goes too many times misunderstood. People complain about the White Stripes. Apparently Meg wasn’t a good enough drummer [seems to be the biggest complaint, doesn’t it?] And their style is so simple its boring, right? People who listen like this don’t look close enough. [They also don’t listen enough to live White Stripes records.] The White Stripes were a live, concept band. They recorded their takes and left out the post-production editing, as listed on their records. All of the color and instrument concepts in the band were chosen for a reason. As was Meg’s stripped down drumming. It was used to highlight the incredible guitar work and traditional punk-writing of their songs. White is a man of detail. All of the work we have seen from him, from his vinyl releases to his collaborations, he challenges himself to use simple methods to create unique sounds and images. Trying to find another White Stripes is like trying to find another [insert any ‘strange’ sounding unique band here that people follow like a cult. Read: Pavement, the Replacements, Sonic Youth and Black Flag.]

Concept punk bands have always been in style. Concept bands have always been in style. It’s what punk is and it’s what all music is. Artists have been creating images for themselves since the Beatles put on those suits and grew their hair. Even then, that was punk! and risque! Then it was The RAMONES who only played their songs because they couldn’t figure out how to play others’. From Pete Townshend smashing his guitars to what became hardcore, punk throbs in many different places. [Insert 40 years of music here.] And right now it’s walking and throbbing as Jack White.

You can watch his performance of another song, Sixteen Salteens, over at NBC. I was smitten to see him wear his hair wavy again. And to see him really show us the magnitude of this record. I can’t wait to listen to it and step into another dimension. So far we’ve seen folk songs crunched in with his traditional raspy rock and roll shouts, you know – the ones that made us all fall in love with him in the first place. Asking love to ‘murder his own mother ‘ should be enough for all of you. It is for me. When you don’t understand Jack White, you don’t understand rock music. And you clearly can’t get punk. Just do us all a favor and step out of your comfort zone. GO PUNK.