Wednesday was not the happiest of days in the rock world. The White Stripes announced the end of their prolonged hiatus in a way no one expected—with a breakup. Rock god Jack White and his ex-wife, Meg White, broke the news to their fans over their website:
“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.”
Throughout their 13-year tenure as a musical duo, Jack insisted that he and Meg were siblings, even though they were married in 1996 and then divorced in 2000. Jack said he wanted fans to focus on the music itself and not the relationship behind it.
The White Stripes became one of the most respected and prolific bands of the modern rock era. Of the band’s six studio albums, the most recent three were awarded Grammys. They also released a plethora of singles and music videos, a live album and a tour documentary that chronicled their 2007 tour of Canada.
After jumpstarting a side project called The Raconteurs, Jack decided it was time to return to the White Stripes to record a new album and launch a new tour. It was during 2007 that Meg began suffering from acute anxiety, which forced the cancellation of 18 dates and the UK leg.
Since then, Jack has put forth another album with The Raconteurs and another two albums with a new “supergroup” called The Dead Weather that features Alison Mosshart (The Kills), Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs) and Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age).
The news of The White Stripes’ termination came as a surprise to many as Jack hinted in the December issue of Vanity Fair that a Stripes reunion was imminent:
“It was one long project that took almost three years. Now that we’ve gotten a lot of that out of our system, Meg and I can get back in the studio and start fresh.”
So now we are left to wonder just what happened between December and now that saw the band step away from their ambitions to head back into the studio. One thing is for certain, The White Stripes will be dearly missed by all of us who get goosebumps from a lo-fi, garage-rock guitar.