In a move that came as a surprise to music fans around the world, the American rock duo the White Stripes officially announced their break-up today via a post on frontman Jack White’s Third Man Records website.
The statement reads:
“The White Stripes would like to announce that today, February 2nd, 2011, their band has officially ended and will make no further new recordings or perform live.
The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health.
It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.”
Though the group hadn’t toured in support of a new album since 2007’s “Icky Thump,” both members had kept busy in the intervening years. Jack White formed and recorded records with side bands The Raconteurs and the Dead Weather. He also produced rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson’s new record “The Party Ain’t Over,” and appeared in the guitar-themed documentary “It Might Get Loud” alongside Jimmy Page and the Edge.
Meanwhile, drummer Meg White chose largely to stay out of the limelight and married guitarist Jackson Smith, son of Patti Smith and the late MC5 axeman Fred “Sonic” Smith in 2009. While anxiety issues had plagued Meg in the past, even forcing the cancellation of 18 White Stripe concerts in 2008, she had appeared with Jack on the final episode of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” to perform the song “We’re Going to Be Friends,” and was in talks to possibly go back into the studio soon to “start fresh.” Unfortunately, it now seems unlikely for fans to ever hear what that would have sounded like.
Watch the music video for the White Stripes “We’re Going to Be Friends" here:
Still, even though the White Stripes time as a band is over there is no shortage of music to be had. Also in the Third Man Records post was the promise of the label to continue distributing live and studio recordings by the group via a subscription record club as well as other channels. The material may not be new, but then again it doesn’t belong to the band anymore anyway.
The band writes:
“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong
to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is
that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your
involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”