Jack White: “You shouldn’t believe events in songs are all real for the songwriter or the singer”

Jack White discusses the making of his second solo album, Lazaretto, in the new issue of Uncut, dated July 2014 and out now.

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Jack White discusses the making of his second solo album, Lazaretto, in the new issue of Uncut, dated July 2014 and out now.

As well as talking about his teenage self’s “mediocre writing” that inspired the record, and the freedom of being a solo artist, White addresses the nature of myth in songwriting, with specific reference to Blind Willie McTell’s “Three Women Blues”, which Lazaretto’s “Three Women” sprang from.

“I think [McTell’s ‘Three Women Blues’] is a lesson in how it’s all false to begin with, how you shouldn’t believe these are all real events for the songwriter or the person singing,” explains White.

“It’s like when Elvis was singing his songs – he didn’t write the songs so they’re not about him.

“That’s one thing people really get wrong about all the old blues musicians – that every song they were singing was from the heart and about their own specific problems.

“I highly doubt that Blind Willie McTell had three girlfriends at the same time – it’s hard to pull off for anyone, especially someone who’s blind!”

The new Uncut, dated July 2014, is out now.


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