Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Dead Weather - the first three years

Three years ago today, on June 17th 2009, I went to my first Dead Weather gig. It was at the Roxy, in Los Angeles and came hard on the heels of the opening of the Jimmy Page/Jack White/The Edge guitar movie, It Might Get Loud. And now there's a hint that the Dead Weather may still be a thing today....

I wrote extensively about both The Dead Weather and the movie, back in the day. I Raconteurs fan and if the Raconteurs were to be no more, I thought, I'll go see this band and maybe I'll like them (or at least like them more than the Cold Mountain soundtrack, which gave compelling evidence that Jack White was becoming a folkie, or a singer of Americana as it's called now).  This turned out to be a significant understatement. I loved the Dead Weather, flew all over the country to see them, made the sort of online friends you make; and in many cases lost them in the sort of ways you lose online friends.

The Roxy gig was loud, and raw - a couple of mistakes were heard. Jimmy Page was in the VIP area. The crowd was relatively quiet, as we didn't really know the songs yet. The whole thing was recorded professionally, and can still be seen on the band's YouTube channel.

They were pretty new then, having formed in January, 2009 (at least, according to Wikipedia) recording several tracks at Third Man records, and then performing at the opening of the Third Man Records store, on March 11th 2009.  At that gig, the band gave away a goodie bag including among other things a copy of Hang You From the Heavens/Are Friends Electric? with sleeves hand painted by the band members. One of these recently sold for over $3000, so I guess collectors' items appreciate quickly in the modern world. (I have a Roxy Dead Weather poster, but it hasn't apparently reached those dizzying heights yet.)

Jack's been strolling in a minstrelsy way around town as a solo artist (which means he has two six piece or nearabouts bands, but since they are sidemen (and sidewomen) backing him, they don't really count. Three bands were enough, and he'll never form another, he said in February.) Along the way, the Dead Weather have ceased to be, but like the ex-parrot, they are still nailed to their perch. Jack White doesn't end bands - he seems to have some issues with that type of finality, given the way he pinned the end of the White Stripes so definitively on Meg White.  Like the Raconteurs, they still exist, if the members actually get around to doing it again. Unlike the Raconteurs, they might actually do it. Last Sunday, June 10th 2012, Jack White appeared on the chatroom area of fan site The Vault and declared that there had just been a Dead Weather reunion.

I've simplified the conversation a bit, but here's the gist of it.  Don't send me a's technically a derivative work but so what. Wait, what? Jack sending DMCAs?  Sounds unlikely? Not a bit of it.  Jack's been sending cease and desist letters to people who share his files and taking down videos from YouTube in an apparent effort to rewrite his own history - I guess getting his image out of the hands of what he once called the Sea of Cowards (us) makes him feel better.

Chatroom speak reads from the bottom up. Don't ask me why. It was probably dee rigger for something on a university's VAX in 1986 and we're stuck with it.

[JackWhite] bye bye bye
[JackWhite] or sense of balance
[JackWhite] with no ladder
[JackWhite] like washing windows from the other side
[JackWhite] i have some chores to do around here
[JackWhite] have to go
[JackWhite] but sometimes she feels 60
[JackWhite] alison is almost six feet tall
[lsnyder] How is Alison?
[JackWhite] but now alison is watching black sabbath
[JackWhite] we had a dead weather reunion yesterday in my living room
[stripes333] JackWhite: will there be a dead weather reunion at outside lands?
[JackWhite] nevermind
[JackWhite] did i think that or type it?
[JackWhite] i killed a man once
[JackWhite] my neck is straight, like an arrow
[JackWhite] i'm good, good like good humor ice cream
[drdano] JackWhite: how's the neck ?
[lsnyder] How are you, Jack?
[JackWhite] yep yep yep
[JackWhite] ................
[JackWhite] ................
[JackWhite] ................

It probably means they spent an afternoon drinking champagne and lying on the couch comparing airplane-held-on-tarmac horror stories, but it just might mean something's happening.

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