The WHITE STRIPES – ” You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told) “

Posted: September 23, 2016 in MUSIC
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Anyone who saw The White Stripes in concert witnessed Jack White introduce his “big sister Meg” on the drums. That was the story the rock duo concocted in the early days of the Stripes: that Jack and Meg were the youngest of 10 siblings, and they formed a band when Meg tried drumming on Bastille Day of 1997.

In actuality, John “Jack” Gillis met Megan White in the early ’90s, when he was in high school and she was a waitress. The Detroit area residents started hanging out at local concerts and record stores, then began dating. On September 21, 1996, when Jack and Meg were both 21, the pair tied the knot. Instead of Meg taking her new husband’s family name, Jack changed his last name to White.

Around that time, Jack was playing drums and guitar in various bands. But soon after getting married, the couple formed their own act, concocting the brother-sister story. In the early days of the White Stripes, most people (and the press) took the Whites’ lie as truth. However, after the duo began to attract mainstream attention in 2001, the couple’s ruse was exposed. A Detroit newspaper even published their marriage certificate as proof.

By then, Jack and Meg were no longer married (they divorced in 2000). But they remained bandmates and continued their brother and sister ruse as the White Stripes became global rock stars with the release of White Blood Cells in 2001 and then Elephant in 2003.

Although the pair kept spinning their yarn on stage through the end of the Stripes’ touring days in 2007, Jack gave a little peek behind the curtain in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2005. He suggested that the lie helped people take the duo seriously.

“When you see a band that is two pieces, husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, you think, ‘Oh, I see…’,” Jack said. “When they’re brother and sister, you go, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’ You care more about the music, not the relationship – whether they’re trying to save their relationship by being in a band. You don’t think about that with a brother and sister. They’re mated for life. That’s what family is like.”

Jack and Meg dissolved their band about a decade after they ended their marriage. Jack married model/singer Karen Elston in 2005 (the couple divorced in 2013), while Meg married Patti and Fred “Sonic” Smith’s son Jackson Smith in 2009 (the couple divorced in 2014).

 

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