Jack White Talks to Dan Rather About Success, Nashville Move - Rolling Stone
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Jack White: ‘Cynical Environment’ of Detroit Led to Nashville Move

“You give your brothers and sisters a million dollars if you win the lottery,” White says, “they’re going to end up hating you a couple of years later”

Jack White has love for his hometown of Detroit, but the rock icon says the city’s “cynical environment” after his early success with the White Stripes was the catalyst that brought him to his current home in Nashville. In an upcoming interview with Dan Rather for the host’s Big Interview show, White discusses his complicated feelings toward his old working class stomping ground and the benefits of living and writing in a city dominated by country music.

“It was very hard for me to move,” White says in the exclusive clip above. “Detroit, I always imagined I was going to be there my whole life. It always felt like my home – even as hard as it is to live there, it always felt that way to me.”

But the singer-songwriter-guitarist – who released his second solo LP, Lazaretto, back in June – says that he and former Stripes bandmate Meg White were blindsided by the city’s cynicism after “breaking into the mainstream.” 

“When you’re in that kind of cynical environment, it’s hard for people to understand how to relate to it,” he says. “It was hard for me to understand. . . When you win the lottery, what do you do? You give your brothers and sisters a million dollars if you win the lottery, they’re going to end up hating you a couple of years later.”

White says he found it difficult to “live and create” in Detroit after that point, and he followed his instincts down South – looking first in Georgia and Louisiana but eventually settling in Nashville. 

“They look at music and the business of music so differently than I do that I thought, ‘Well, maybe this is the perfect place,'” he says. “I can just kind of be comfortable here, and I won’t be in competition with anybody else.”

White’s wide-ranging segment on The Big Interview, set to premiere on AXS TV on Tuesday, September 16th, at 8 p.m. ET, will feature the rocker giving Rather a tour of Third Man Records, showing the interviewer some of his guitars and singing an impromptu Hank Williams cover. Re-broadcasts will air Wednesday, September 17th, at 9:30 a.m. ET; Thursday, September 18th at 7 p.m. ET; Friday, September 19th at 9:30 a.m. ET; and Sunday, September 21st at 10 a.m. ET.

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