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White Stripes success a mystery to Jack White

Singer says he enjoys simplicity of two-member band
/ Source: The Associated Press

Even after selling millions of records and winning Grammy awards, Jack White says he still isn’t sure what makes The White Stripes work.

There are only two members in the band — he plays guitar and sings and Meg White plays drums — and their music is boiled down to its essentials.

“I don’t know why it works on the radio or on MTV or on a stage in front of 80,000 people,” White said in an interview with AP Radio. “It seems like there should be more going on, there should be these anthems.”

But having only two people in the band has its advantages, White said — there isn’t a third person to take sides and cause discord.

“The whole idea of the band, if it has a concept to it, it’s all about what not to do,” White said. “Why be repetitive? Why have two guitars? Why have a bassist playing the same thing the guitar’s playing? Let’s break this down and still have it be rock and roll. Let’s show what two people can do.”

White’s idea of simplicity has earned him musical credibility, including the respect of country legend Loretta Lynn. The White Stripes dedicated their third album, 2003’s “Elephant,” to her. When she heard about it, she invited them over for a dinner of chicken and dumplings. Then they played a show together in New York City.

When White heard that Lynn was planning to do a new album, he said he would love to produce it. He got the job: “Van Lear Rose” came out in April.