“We were standing in a room and I was showing him all my stuff, you know, I was kind of showing off all my crap — guitars and amps,” Benson jovially recalls. “He was smoking a cigarette and he looked around — for an ashtray, I guess, now — but he didn’t find one, so he kind of ashed on the table. I was just like… shocked.”
Luckily, White “noticed [Benson’s] horror” and wiped up the mess. “And that was Jack,” Benson says.
The story comes from an upcoming podcast series from Third Man Records and Misfire Media titled Striped: The Story of the White Stripes, the first season of which deals with the early days of the Detroit, Michigan band to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the White Stripes’ self-titled debut.
Third Man also plans to release a 20th anniversary edition of the album this fall: The White Stripes XX, which will be available as part of the label’s Vault subscription service. (The deadline to sign up for the package is October 31st at 1 a.m. ET.) The album gets a new mix from White, as well as unreleased studio outtakes, a DVD including two 1999 shows in Michigan, live LP documenting a show in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a 24-page booklet with photos, flyers, lyrics, receipts and other archival material.
The podcast, hosted by journalist Sean Cannon, brings in fans and friends from the band’s early days, including members of Pavement, Wayne Kramer of the MC5 and filmmaker Lance Bangs.
After a string of solo releases, White reunited with Benson and Co. in 2019 to release the Raconteurs’ first record in 11 years, Help Us Stranger, which saw White, Benson, drummer Patrick Keeler and bassist Jack Lawrence back in the studio and on the road.
Benson looks back fondly on those early days in the podcast — including some amusing commentary on their diets in the Nineties. “I think he was picky,” he says of White. “Because at the time, I think he wasn’t very health-conscious. [Ben] Blackwell [from Third Man, too]. I think he had his first tomato at my house.”
Striped: The Story Of The White Stripes premieres on October 8th via Apple Podcasts