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Social Competency Lesson the Fifth: Vampires Don’t Need Jobs

July 27, 2009

Boy these sure are tough economic times, huh?  Just about all 3 of my friends are having some sort of difficulty with thier jobs.  Well in my buddy Louie’s case that drug conviction didn’t help, but that’s another story.  From downsizing to…well, more downsizing, people are having trouble finding and holding on to gainful employment.  Folks, I want to let you know that we here at TBTS feel your pain.  Mainly that’s due to the fact that I haven’t held down steady employment for about 13 years, but despite that we know people are hurting out there.  So in the spirit of LBJ’s Great Society programs, we’re here to offer you a way out!  Through painstaking research and secret covert operations known only to my fellow TBTS cohorts, I have uncovered a sure-fire career path that will bring you security and fortune for eternity:  join the ranks of the Undead!

Our assistant in today’s lesson will be none other than the lead singer of the White Stripes, Detroit’s own Jack White.  White has a record of making solid career choices: take for example his move from itinerant furniture upholsterer to rock god.  Pure genius!  But many of you may not realize that he’s uniquely qualified to help us with employment modification issues because, well, he’s a vampire.  Ever known vampires to have job problems?  Me neither.

In addition to his career as a rock singer/blood sucker, White has enjoyed unparalleled success in the film business.  Due to the fact that he doesn’t age*, White has enjoyed a long film career that includes serving as producer, director and writer of the 1929 film Lover’s Delight, actor and namesake of the 1975 movie White Line Fever, and serving in the art department of the 1988 production Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf. Finally, we all know that it was his terrific camera work on 1999’s Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace that resurrected a struggling Star Wars franchise**.

After conquering the film world, White moved on to music.  The White Stripes burst onto the scene in 1999 with their self-titled debut album.  Fame and critical acclaim followed every album from there, through 2003’s Elephant (which some say is their best album) up to 2007’s Icky Thump.  White is widely respected in musical circles, allowing him to collaborate with a wide variety of musicians, from Beck to Mark Ronson to Loretta Lynn.  White also was listed as the 17th greatest guitar player of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, a mysteriously high honor for such a young musician.  I suspect that he made the list because of his close association with another member of the Insane Undead Posse, David Fricke.  I mean c’mon!  Does the guy ever age?  Fricke’s denial of a formal interview for this piece indicates that I am correct.

In 2005, White formed the Raconteurs with Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler.  This side project proved to be every bit the Stripes’ match both musically and critically.  The Raconteurs have released two albums: 2006’s Broken Boy Soldiers and 2008’s Consolers of the Lonely.  Although the band is nowhere near as recognizable as the White Stripes, the Raconteurs indie cred is heightened through the songwriting of Benson and the extra musical muscle that the rhythm section of Lawrence and Keeler bring to the table.  The fact that White has killed anyone who dares criticize the band doesn’t hurt, either.

In 2009, White moved on to form a band consisting solely of the undead, side project The Dead Weather.  The Dead Weather found White playing drums while the Kills’ Alison Mosshart (another vampire) took over lead vocal duties.  Rounding out the Dead Weather are Raconteur, Jack Lawrence (lycanthrope), on bass and Queens of the Stone Age’s Dean Fertita (mummy) on lead guitar.  The Dead Weather released Horehound on July 14, 2009 on White’s own Third Man records.  The album was released to critical acclaim as the Dead Weather sound was markedly different from either the White Stripes or the Raconteurs, mainly due to the addition of the then-unemployed Zombie Singers to provide backup vocals.  Horehound debuted at #6 on Billboards top 200 Album chart and the video for “Treat Me Like Your Mother” got the deluxe treatment by being directed by Jonathan Glazer (Radiohead, Jamiroquai) and debuting on Cinemax.  White and Mosshart were also recognized by Revenant Weekly magazine for their courageous decision to demonstrate thier immortality in the video by constantly shooting each other with machine guns at point-blank range while suffering no life-threatening injuries.

All in all, Jack White has made himself into a musician’s musician.  In his hundreds of years of existence, he’s developed an impressive recording resume and playing with some of the legends of the business.  He claims that there’s another White Stripes record coming next in 2010 or 2011, with another Raconteurs record to follow.  All we know is he’s a one-man-wrecking-machine who’s out for blood.  Literally.  For those of you interested in joining the ranks of the undead, find a vampire or a zombie near you and present yourself for turning.  If you have trouble locating an undead, give me a call, there’s this goth chick that lives next door who’s been eying my cat…I think she’s looking for new recruits.  Holla, I can hook you up.

*For a refresher on vampire rules, see the HBO documentary series True Blood.

**Some of the things I say about Jack White’s film resume are fabrications and not based in reality.  For example, it was a different Jack White that worked on Scooby Doo.  But the part about him being a vampire, trust me, that’s all true.  I swear.

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