Music Geeks, part II. Jack White

Jack White. Image thanks to Esquire.

In the first post on this subject I linked to a bunch of stuff on ?uestlove, the Roots’ frontman.

Because it’s Jack White’s birthday today, I thought it might be time to dig up some stuff I liked on him, too.

The first stop would have to be this brilliant profile in the New York Times Magazine. It covers a lot of ground, from his biography to The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weathers, and now his solo stuff. Then, check out the Esquire piece by Miranda Collinge.

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Music Geeks

His love of music bordered on the obsessive. As a two-year-old, he would watch records spin just to memorize the labels. Later, he would count off the seconds to the end of a shower, or the steps to the end of the hall, or try to cross a bridge before the end of a song, walking at a certain number of beats per minute—he could feel the rhythm in everything. He had an unending appetite for pop culture, a prodigious memory for dates, and a compulsion for cross-referencing them. He can tell you, for instance, that Philadelphia police bombed the MOVE headquarters on May 13, 1985; that Tony Orlando guest-starred on “Cosby” that month, and that “Soul Train” was a rerun that week. “I got home the second the bomb dropped,” he says. “That was the day my ninth-grade girlfriend dumped me.”

(from “The Rhythm in Everything,” a profile of ?uestlove. Sadly Paywalled)

I spent a good part of the day watching Nardwuar the Human Serviette interview various musicians, mostly rappers. He’s an extremely eccentric interviewer who has assembled a bit of a cult following due to his pieces. Essentially, he confronts interviewees with obscure bits of musical history that often have significant meaning to their story. He’s clearly a huge music geek, and who better to interview than ?uest, who is a walking encyclopaedia himself. If you don’t just want to watch a 45-minute video, scroll down to watch his interview with N.E.R.D. Pharrell liked it so much that he pestered Jay-Z to let himself be interviewed by Nardwuar.

Anyways, here’s the ?uestlove one:


Here’s the Pharrell interview.


Quick word on Nardwuar. His style can be very off-putting, which is a shame in a way. I watch those interviews and wish he could sit down with them — with a different personality, he could get them to really open up more than any other interviewer. But then, with a different personality, he probably wouldn’t know these things about them/dig up these priceless artifacts.

Another geek who comes to mind is Jack White, who clearly reveres the history and tradition of his craft. Was gonna post some links, but I’ll save that for another post.