Jack White has been in three bands, had a successful solo career, and founded his own record label. “Hanging out with Jack White,” Dan Rather said in an interview with the Grammy-winning musician, “the term ‘renaissance man’ definitely comes to mind.”
Rather talked with White for The Big Interview, a series where the former CBS Evening News anchor interviews celebrities for hour-long specials. The interview features White talking about everything from religion to his design aesthetic, mixed with clips of White performing with his various bands including the White Stripes.
White also touched on technology and its effect on music today, claiming that he aims for truth in his creations. “I don’t see that beauty in the way that pop music is all recorded on computer and auto-tuned and presented in that really plastic way,” he told Rather. “And I guess I just do my best, in whatever I do, to try to defeat those ideas and present it in something that I think at least is an attempt at getting at truth and beauty. But it is a lot harder now.”
His attempt to get back to basics is working: White’s most recent solo album, Lazaretto, sold over 40,000 vinyl LPs in its first week—this number broke the record for most vinyl LPs sold in the first week of sales since 1991, when Soundscan first began tracking these sales.
Later in the interview, White played Hank Williams’ “Tennessee Border” and broke out into a goofy smile at song’s end. He and Rather shared some laughs before ending the interview on a playful note: “Tell me something about you that people don’t know,” Rather asked.
“I’m incredibly handsome,” White joked before shyly bowing his head and chuckling.
White doesn’t just have a bone to pick with auto-tuned pop hits: He also has a huge problem with Rolling Stone. Pitchfork found a video of White bantering between songs at his Sept. 17 Boston show, where he presented made-up headlines for the Rolling Stone website: “15 outfits that will blow your mind that Taylor Swift wore this month,” “10 reasons why RollingStone.com didn’t cover the Newport Folk Festival for 50 years straight,” “12 reasons Rolling Stone won’t put a black-and-white cover on the cover of their magazine unless you’re dead.”
After about three minutes, White wrapped it up. “Okay, I’m officially supposed to stop now because this is becoming a Kanye-esque rant,” he told a cheering crowd. “Because apparently nowadays you’re not allowed to speak to your own fans about anything, lest it be a rant.” West would probably be proud.