By: Alan Denton
NEW YORK (AP) — The White Stripes are done.
The groundbreaking rock duo, which helped revive and reshape a stale rock scene with their scorching, guitar-fueled, blues-tinged songs, announced Wednesday they are splitting up after more than a decade and six albums together.
Jack and Meg White (who presented themselves as brother and sister but were actually ex-husband and wife) said no “Behind the Music”-type troubles doomed the band.
“The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health,” a statement announced. “It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.”
The Grammy-winning, platinum-selling band started off in Detroit in 1997. Seen mainly as the brainchild of frontman Jack White (Meg was the drummer), the band’s breakthrough came at the start of the new millennium with the albums “White Blood Cells” and 2003’s “Elephant,” with the now-classic song “Seven Nation Army.”
But over the years, Jack White has focused attention on other projects, including the bands the Dead Weather and the Raconteurs, as well as his Nashville, Tenn.-based Third Man Records. He’s also acted as producer, helping revive the career of Loretta Lynn with the album “Van Lear Rose” and most recently, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson’s “The Party Ain’t Over.”
The last recording by the White Stripes was the live album “Under the Great White Northern Lights,” released last year, along with an accompanying DVD documentary.
In an interview with The Associated Press last year, White said being a part of the Stripes was “extremely hard,” but he liked the challenge.
“If it ever got easy to go out and do a White Stripes show, I think we would just end it. It’s always been hard. That’s what I get from it though. It forces me to create something that I wouldn’t have done before. That’s tricky,” he said. “It’s tricky to go out on stage with two people in front of 10,000 people and make them all interested and keep them all interested for an hour or two, and standing their proudly and say it’s finished, that’s the show. That’s hard to pull off.”
The duo urged fans not to be upset at the band’s demise. Though no new recordings are expected, unreleased tracks are forthcoming.
“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want,” they said. “The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”