(Posted March 12, 2009)
By Lucas Hendrickson
You first have to wonder just how many side projects one musician needs.
Then, when you see the attention to detail for both his new band, The Dead Weather, and the new physical space for his Third Man Records endeavor, you know the answer for Jack White: as many as he wants.
As hackneyed as the phrase “supergroup” has become, White, last night in Nashville, unveiled another unit in which he can ply his seemingly infinite musical curiosity. The Dead Weather is a tightly wound four-piece consisting of The Kills vocalist Alison Mosshart on vocals, Queens of the Stone Age’s Dean Fertita on guitar, White’s fellow Raconteurs racket-maker Jack Lawrence on bass and White on drums.
White certainly doesn’t keep his contributions confined to the kit, though the rhythm section does seem to drive a preponderance of the tracks on the group’s forthcoming debut, Horehound. White also played guitar, but left the bulk of the leads to Fertita (who also contributed organ and piano work) during the three-week tracking sessions that generated Dead Weather’s first effort.
The band previewed the recorded project in front of a select audience at the new Third Man Records space in Nashville, followed by a live show in the complex’s performance space. The first single, the muscularly fuzzy “Hang You From The Heavens,” is available now on iTunes, with the full album to follow in June.
The Horehound sessions found the band playing live together in a single room on many of the tracks, choosing to focus on purpose rather than perfection, and was recorded to two-inch eight track tape rather than digitally. A cover of Bob Dylan’s “New Pony” that made it onto the record was even drawn from a rough mix.
White’s longtime manager Ian Montone welcomed the evening's listeners to the Third Man headquarters, and talked about plans for the downtown Nashville location, including rehearsal space, a photo studio and eventually a record store. The latter plan spins right into the companies’ relationship with United Record Pressing, one of the few remaining vinyl pressing plants left in America.
White called the new location his “new bear cave away from home,” calling the effort a way to combat “the age of invisible music, which is causing us to be fearful for 50 different reasons.” He also said the company has a number of projects already in the works, but looks forward to the opportunity for fostering bands he sees potential in, and bringing them to the complex for quick-turnaround recording, imaging and product manufacturing that can generate 45s for the bands to sell at shows.
“This is about the physicality of music,” White said. “It’s music you can smell, touch…taste if you want to.”
60 Feet Tall
Hang You From The Heavens
Treat Me Like Your Mother
New Pony (Bob Dylan cover)