Musician Jack White has recently had fans of Meg White, The Black Keys, Lana Del Rey, Adele, and Duffy up in arms because of a recent interview with Rolling Stone in which White seemed to be picking on each of them for one thing or another. While he seemed to present his White Stripes counterpart Meg White as an unsupportive recluse, he also claimed that The Black Keys were effectively ripping off his sound and seemed to be insinuating that artists like Adele, Duffy and Lana Del Rey have only found success because of the door opened by Amy Winehouse and the gap left by her untimely passing.
This past Saturday, in an effort to explain himself and apologize to his fellow musicians, White posted a lengthy letter on his website. He opens this way:
It seems like it’s becoming obvious that to continue the activities I have planned for the rest of my year as a musician, and not be hounded by nonsense throughout those experiences, I should make a statement to clear up a lot of the negativity surrounding things I’ve said or written, despite the fact that I loathe to bring more attention to these things.
White then addresses his feelings about the interview itself, and how he felt the need to discuss very personal topics after his personal letters were leaked to the public last year.
I felt in a way forced into talking about very private opinions of mine that are very much in the realm of “behind the curtain” show business conversations, and things to do with my own family and friends. These are things I never talked about publicly, but through the actions of lawyers trying to villainize me in a private legal scenario, my private letters were made public for reasons I still don’t understand. They contained comments that were part of a much bigger scenario that is difficult to elaborate on, and also one that I really shouldn’t have to explain as it was personal and private in nature.
But in an effort to douse the flames and express how he actually feels about each artist mentioned, explain he does. Regarding The Black Keys, White’s letter states:
There are a lot of things that only people around me can know about or understand, but despite all of that I want to say this: I wish the band the Black Keys all the success that they can get. I hope the best for their record label Nonesuch who has such a proud history in music, and in their efforts to bring the Black Keys songs to the world. I hope for massive success also for their producer and songwriter Danger Mouse and for the other musicians that their band employs. Lord knows that I can tell you myself how hard it is to get people to pay attention to a two piece band with a plastic guitar, so any attention that the Black Keys can get in this world I wish it for them, and I hope their record stays in the top ten for many months and they have many more successful albums in their career.
And regarding Amy Winehouse, Adele, Duffy and Lana Del Rey, White says:
I wish no slight to the talents of Winehouse, Duffy, Lana Del Rey, and Adele. All of whom are wonderful performers with amazing voices. I have their records and I hope for more success for them all as the years go on. They deserve all they’ve gotten. And, I also would love to state that I personally find it inspiring to have powerful, positive female voices speaking out and creating at all times in the mainstream, and all of those singers do just that, so I thank them.
And perhaps most importantly, White expressed deep love and respect for Meg White, saying:
Meg White, who I also talked about to Rolling Stone about our working conversations, or lack thereof, is, of course, a musician I’ve personally championed for 15 years. She is a strong female presence in rock and roll, and I was not intending to slight her either, only to explain how hard it was for us to communicate with our very different personalities. This got blown out of proportion and made into headlines, and somehow I looked like I was picking on her. I would never publicly do that to someone I love so dearly. And, there are mountains of interviews where my words are very clear on how important I think she is to me and to music.
In conclusion, White wraps up his letter with what comes across as a sincere apology, and a statement that makes it abundantly clear how deeply he loves his craft and how genuinely he respects others who are equally devoted to it. This, friends, is how you write a damage control statement.
Anyone who can get people to pay attention for more than a second with musical notes in this age, or any age for that matter, deserves credit and applause. Thank you for reading all of this and I hope that the nonsense started by lawyers and strangers to me and perpetuated by tabloid journalism can be left behind, and all of the musicians can move forward in positivity. So, God bless the Black Keys, Danger Mouse, Adele, Meg White, and anyone else I’ve spoken about, and thank you for understanding. Good fortune to all of them, and I’m sorry for my statements hurting anyone.