UPDATE: Jack White has issued a statement regarding his below comments in Rolling Stone.
At this point, you practically need a scorecard to keep track of the feud between Jack White and the Black Keys, which had been simmering for years but finally boiled over in 2013, after White accused the Keys of riding his coattails in a series of leaked e-mails.
Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney addressed those e-mails in the May 22nd issue of Rolling Stone, saying that, while he thought White “sounds like an asshole,” he had sympathy for his presumptive foe because he’d written the messages while in the midst of a custody dispute with ex-wife Karen Elson. As Carney put it: “We’ve all said fucked-up shit in private, and divorce is hard.”
So consider the beef buried, right? Not so fast. Because in the current Rolling Stone cover story, White speaks at length about those e-mails. And he didn’t back down from his stance about the Black Keys.
“There are kids at school who dress like everybody else, because they don’t know what to do, and there are musicians like that, too. I’ll hear TV commercials where the music’s ripping off sounds of mine, to the point I think it’s me. Half the time, it’s the Black Keys,” White says. “The other half, it’s a sound-alike song because they couldn’t license one of mine. There’s a whole world that’s totally fine with the watered-down version of the original.”
“Some people will hear that and say ‘Oh, Jack White thinks he’s the first person to play the blues.’ But certain acts open up a market for a certain style. Amy Winehouse: Did she invent white soul? Wearing a beehive? No. But she did something brand new and fresh, altogether as a package, and you see who’s in her wake, from the Duffys to the Lana Del Reys,” he says. “Adele selling 20 million records? That would not have happened if Amy Winehouse was alive. The White Stripes did the same thing, and in our absence, you’re gonna find someone to fill that. And you get a band like the Black Keys, who said they never heard of the White Stripes? Sure.”
At press time, there was no word on which side Justin Bieber is taking. Though we can probably guess.