AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Nobody likes a breakup. And today, "nobody" includes millions of rock fans.
After more than 13 years as a hit-producing, cred-keeping (aside from that whole Bond thing), media-shy duo, Jack and Meg White announced today that The White Stripes are no more.
Which isn't exactly a shock, but it is a surprise. So what happened?
"The White Stripes would like to announce that today, February 2nd, 2011, their band has officially ended and will make no further new recordings or perform live," a message posted to their official Website read.
But don't go looking for any rift or those ever-scapegoated creative differences to blame for the break up.
"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," they wrote. "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.
"Meg and Jack want to thank every one of their fans and admirers for the incredible support they have given throughout the 13 plus years of The White Stripes' intense and incredible career."
That incredible career included their 2001 breakout hit, "Fell In Love With a Girl," 2003's standout "Seven Nation Army," four Grammy Awards, an impressively deceptive conceit of former lovers masquerading as siblings, and enough red and white paraphernalia to fill a stadium.
Included in the breakup message were a few words directly from Jack and Meg themselves:
"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. 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."
Helping to soften the blow to fans is the fact that this news comes both a safe distance from the band's peak, as well as in the wake of numerous solo projects for both members.
Jack, in particular, has spread his wings in recent years, performing in side bands The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, launching his own label, Third Man Records, and even releasing a spoken-word album with Conan O'Brien. Now that's range. (Incidentally, their final TV appearance was also on Conan's final Late Night episode back in 2009.)
As for Meg, she may never have been particularly cut out for the life of a rock star. After the release of their 2007 album—their final studio effort, as it turns out—the band was forced to cancel a planned tour, citing the drummer's "acute anxiety."
The duo released their final Grammy-nominated live concert album last year, Under the Great White Northern Lights. Here's hoping we can squeeze one more appearance out of the duo, as the titular tune goes up for Best Long Form Music Video come Feb. 13.
In the meantime, thanks for the memories, White Stripes. Catch you on the flip side.