Jack White made history yesterday by producing the world’s fastest released record during a day of festivities to mark Record Store Day at his Third Man studio in Nashville, Tennessee.
At 10am on Saturday (April 19), the singer took to the stage in the Blue Room of his studio to record a limited edition direct-to-acetate single. The room is the only live venue in the world where artists can record live shows straight to vinyl. The masters were then rushed over to United Record Pressing plant in Nashville, which began pressing the 45s before they were delivered back to hundreds of fans queuing outside Third Man, some of whom had queued all night to be there.
At the morning gig, White walked onto stage flanked by two men in helmets dressed like characters from 1970s cop programme Chips for the intimate studio show, tickets for which had sold out in 23 seconds. He began with the title track and first single from his forthcoming second solo album Lazaretto, the A-Side to the Record Store Day single. He then recorded a cover of Elvis Presley’s ‘The Power Of My Love’ for the B-Side.
During the performance, a screen to the right of the stage showed a close up of the acetate template for the record being produced before an announcement declared that “the records have left the building!”
“Originally, we were gonna play these two tracks then go back to sleep,” White told the crowd. “But we thought you’d like it if we played a couple more.”
He then launched into The White Stripes’ ‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground‘ before heading straight into ‘Freedom At 21’ and ‘Three Women’ – two tracks from his 2012 debut solo album ‘Blunderbuss’. He then picked up an acoustic guitar for more solo tracks – ‘Weep Themselves to Sleep’ and ‘Love Interruption’. A rendition of The White Stripes’ ‘Ball And Biscuit’ saw the crowd sing all the vocals as White jammed along.
“We’re gonna try a new song,” he then told the audience, before premiering honky tonk rock track ‘Just One Drink’. White Stripes track ‘Hotel Yorba‘ was followed by another new track, ‘Would You Fight For My Love’ – a brooding number about a relationship breakdown, which culminates in White shrieking “I want you to fight for my love”.
After the show, White then rushed off to the United Record Pressing to oversee the pressing process as more fans queued outside to get a copy in the sunshine.
Some 3 hours, 55 minutes and 21 seconds later, White returned in a black car flanked by the two men on motorbikes dressed as police officers to sell the first copy of the 7″ on the specially constructed stall outside the Third Man shop. The first customers were Whirlwind Heat – who then went inside to play their first gig in eight years in the Blue Room for a one-off reunion to mark the re-issue of their 2003 LP Do Rabbits Wonder?.
“I woke up at about 4 in the morning last night, and I thought, ‘Wow. I think there’s about 12 or 13 things that could really go wrong tomorrow,’ he told a press conference. “I just thought how difficult it would be to explain to people if we didn’t pull it off, so thank God we did.”
“When you just go gangbusters and attack something, it just seems to work out. All the molecules line up or something,” he added.
Speaking about Record Store Day generally, he said: “It’s bigger than ever. Every neighbourhood wants to have one [an independent record store] and the thousands of people you see here at Third Man and Grimeys and record stores all around Nashville even – you can see how popular and important that is to people.”
Jack White played:
‘The Power Of My Love’
‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’
‘Freedom At 21’
‘Weep Themselves to Sleep’ and ‘Love Interruption’
‘Ball And Biscuit’
‘Just One Drink’
‘Would You Fight For My Love’