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20 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Jack White

With Jack White‘s second solo album, ‘Lazaretto,’ out to the masses and a summer calendar full of headlining gigs and festival dates wrapped up, now’s the perfect time to check out some crazy and cool facts about the famed White Stripes/Raconteurs/Dead Weather rocker that you probably didn’t know.

You can either check out the video montage above to test your knowledge, or read through the facts below!


1

Jack White was still answering to his birth name of Jack Gillis when he started playing in his first band, an early-'90s, Detroit-based cow punk act called Goober & the Peas.

 
 
 
2

As a young man, White was accepted into a Wisconsin seminary and almost pursued the life of a priest, but changed his mind at the last minute when he realized he couldn't bring his guitar amp along.

 
 
 
3

Years before Jack founded his own label Third Man Records, he was a professional furniture upholsterer and owned a furniture company in Detroit called Third Man Upholstery. He later celebrated his days in the business with a one-off side project called the Upholsterers.

 
 
 
4

Jack and Meg went to great lengths trying to convince White Stripes fans that they were siblings, not exes, but their marriage was seemingly confirmed once and for all when Entertainment Weekly published an allegedly official Jack/Meg marriage certificate. Jack's response? "I didn't see any signature on that certificate."

 
 
 
5

Speaking of Meg, don't hold your breath waiting for Jack to reunite with his former Stripes drummer: He recently revealed that he basically doesn't speak with her at all any more.

 
 
 
6

White once said that White Stripes fans who bought a copy of their 'Elephant' album in England got a special surprise: “Did you know the British sleeve of 'Elephant' was made out of recycled elephant dung? We forgot to tell people about that at the time.”

 
 
 
7

White snagged one of his first Grammys for a Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for the song 'Portland, Ore.,' which was on country legend Loretta Lynn's White-produced 2004 album 'Van Lear Rose.'

 
 
 
8

It's no secret that White pleaded guilty to assault charges after beating the hell out of Von Bondies singer Jason Stollsteimer in a Detroit nightclub in 2003; less known is Stollsteimer's accusation that White later stabbed a threatening letter into his front door with a knife. So much for those anger management classes White had to attend as part of his plea.

 
 
 
9

While touring behind 'Blunderbuss,' White had two fully distinct backing bands -- the all-female Peacocks, and the all-male Buzzards -- and would pick only one to use for each show, depending on the whims of his mood. "It’s very expensive," he admitted, "but I’m getting a lot out of it.” Both acts appeared in his 'I'm Shakin'' video.

 
 
 
10

White is frequently called the "Willy Wonka of Indie Rock" because of his eccentric nature, but White himself thinks he has more in common with famous curmudgeon Larry David.

 
 
 
11

With all the nastiness going on in court between White and his ex, model Karen Elson, it's hard to believe the once-happy couple was so smitten it actually announced a festive break-up bash to celebrate the end of their union and their continued friendship.

 
 
 
jack white karen elson
Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images
12

White has some spectacular guitars in his personal collection -- several vintage Telecasters, a few SGs, a bunch of custom axes from Gretch -- but one of his most cherished is a minimalist instrument he crafted out of little more than a pickup and a piece of scrap wood.

 
 
 
13

Born in Southwest Detroit in July of 1975, White is the youngest of 10 siblings.

 
 
 
14

Bob Dylan taught White how to weld. “I’d never done it before, and he’d been doing it for a while, so he kind of gave me the lowdown,” White told the New York Times. Dylan even offered to help fix White's fence.

 
 
 
15

Speaking of Dylan, White says a Bob Dylan concert was the first he ever attended -- and he swears his seat number at the venue was 666.

 
 
 
16

White celebrated the release of his single 'Freedom at 21' by letting 1,000 vinyl copies of disc go free into the sky. A bunch of Third Man interns tied them to helium balloons and released them skyward.

 
 
 
Third Man Records Staff
YouTube
17

An outspoken Luddite when it comes to recording technology, White skips over using anything digital in favor of analog equipment like reel-to-reel tape decks. He then edits out mistakes out by splicing tape apart by hand.

 
 
 
18

White's relationship with actress Renee Zellweger, whom he met on the set of 'Cold Mountain,' lasted about a year-and-a-half -- six months less than it took the White Stripes to announce their split as a band after their final performance, which took place on the final episode of 'Late Night With Conan O'Brien' in 2009.

 
 
 
19

The Stripes exclusively used the colors red, white and black for all professional duties because "they are the most powerful color combination of all time, from a Coca-Cola can to a Nazi banner," White explained. "Those colors strike chords with people."

 
 
 
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20

White once got into a verbal tiff with the Guinness World Records organization after the White Stripes  played a one-note concert in Canada and tried to have it officially declared the the shortest concert ever. The request was denied.

 
 
 

Next: 20 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About the Warped Tour

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