Conan O’Brien and Jack White are good friends. Jack is set to perform on the premiere of Conan’s new show on Monday night, the White Stripes briefly ended their hiatus to perform on Conan’s final Late Night With Conan O’Brien episode last year, and of course the group did a four-night residency on the show in 2003. Conan even recorded a live album with his band,
Live at Third Man, at Jack’s studio earlier this year.
But they go back even further than Conan thought, as Mark Binelli reports in his cover story on O’Brien in
“In Detroit, there’s a place where you can get a bite to eat, and then go bowling, and there’s a rock venue there too,” Conan recalled. “When I was there — I wanna say this is like 1999 — I got a bite to eat with my crew, and then we decided to go bowling, and these kids started to come over and hang out with us. I don’t even remember — I just remember hanging out with all these really young, scruffy Detroit kids for a while, all of us talking and drinking beer.
“Flash forward to: the White Stripes are the big deal and they’re on Saturday Night Live, and I really love them, so I went to watch them at rehearsal,” he continued. “After they’re done rehearsing, Jack and Meg walk down — and they’re coming right at me. And they said, ‘Hey, it’s good to see you again.’
“And I said, ‘Again?’ They said, ‘Yeah, in Detroit you hung out with us for like three hours and had beers in a bowling alley and we just shot the shit and you were real nice.’ “
Conan erupted into laughter. “And I’m like, ‘I didn’t know that was you guys!’ “