Considering Jack White’s passion for vinyl records, it’s not surprising that he was a keynote speaker at the Making Vinyl conference on Monday (November 6) in his hometown of Detroit.
White sat for a lively and insightful 35-minute Q&A conducted by his nephew and Third Man Records principle Ben Blackwell, during which he extolled vinyl as the best way to listen to music:
“Vinyl in the music world is one of the most reverential ways that you can experience this music. It’s very hard to pause vinyl, as you know. It’s not like CDs and then digital and then streaming where you are in control…You can stop whenever you want, you can pick and choose. Vinyl is dropping the needle, sitting down and playing attention. And I’m sure you can say…there’s some nostalgia things of playing on your stomach as a teenager and looking at the album cover and the liner notes and reading who’s on there, and that maybe that’s lost nowadays to a lot of teenagers. But I think at some point if you love music, no matter who you are you will get to that point. You will care who played bass on track three and who produced the B-side of this record. That’s for people who really love music.”
White also told the gathering of nearly 300 manufacturers, suppliers and retailers that he sees signs all-around of vinyl’s resurgence in popular culture:
“Last week I saw a TV show, I’m watching and there’s a commercial for an insurance company and someone drops a needle on a vinyl record. Five minutes later there’s a commercial for some drug company and there’s someone dropping a needle on a vinyl record. My kids are watching ‘The Price Is Right’ and they’re giving away a turntable on ‘The Price Is Right’ in 2017! I mean, we should all in this room be proud of that. That’s a big deal. It’s almost an avant garde thing on its own.”
During February White’s Third Man Records opened a Third Man Pressing plant — the first in 35 years in the U.S. to open with brand new presses — in Detroit. Its latest project is vinyl 12-inch copies of U2‘s “The Blackout” for Record Store Black Friday.
White himself recently published a children’s book, We’re Going To Be Friends and will release a new album in 2018 that he said after his talk was “practically done.”
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.