The end of the White Stripes

Yesterday, on February 2, 2011, the White Stripes announced on their official site that they will no longer record or perform together. I am certainly disappointed to hear the news of the duo’s breakup, but I’m not necessarily surprised. Jack White has been keeping himself very busy with his Third Man Records label, not to mention his other two bands. And the duo needed to cancel most of their last tour in 2007 when drummer Meg White suffered from acute anxiety. The Stripes have remained inactive ever since, although they did release the 2007-recorded live album and documentary film Under Great White Northern Lights in 2010.

The band’s statement says that the breakup has nothing to do with health issues. Meg has apparently recovered from her anxiety, but she may not be eager to go back out on the road again after such an experience. Jack has seemingly been producing and playing on nearly every record released on Third Man. Jack’s other two bands, the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather, seem to be on hiatus, but (assuming that those bands do not also split) he is still technically a member of two bands at this time.

I don’t want to speculate on their personal lives, but the formerly married Whites (no, they are not brother and sister) have both remarried. I can’t help but wonder how their current spouses would feel about them touring together again. Besides, it’s possible that Meg may want to, you know, settle down.

I’m sure that Jack will continue recording and performing, either as a solo artist, or with his other two bands, or maybe even other bands that he will form later. But Meg will be missed.

It is at least nice to know that more unreleased White Stripes material is on the way, either through the Vault service or through normal channels. And there’s a good chance that the duo will reunite one day. Lots of bands with more than two members have done it, right?

In any case, I want to thank the White Stripes for giving a much-needed shot in the arm to rock and roll during its weakest decade. Their music returned rock and roll to its simplest essence, which is where it needs to go when it is in trouble.

Here is the complete statement from the White Stripes website:

The White Stripes would like to announce that today, February 2nd, 2011, their band has officially ended and will make no further new recordings or perform live.

The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health.

It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve What is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.

Meg and Jack want to thank every one of their fans and admirers for the incredible support they have given throughout the 13 plus years of the White Stripes’ intense and incredible career.

Third Man Records will continue to put out unreleased live and studio recordings from The White Stripes in their Vault Subscription record club, as well as through regular channels.

Both Meg and Jack hope this decision isn’t met with sorrow by their fans but that it is seen as a positive move done out of respect for the art and music that the band has created. It is also done with the utmost respect to those fans who’ve shared in those creations, with their feelings considered greatly.

With that in mind the band have this to say:

“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”

Meg and Jack White
The White Stripes