Jack White’s ongoing feud with the Black Keys appears to have reached new heights – or plumbed new depths, depending on your point of view. Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney has tweeted that White tried to fight him in a bar in New York on Sunday evening. Carney said of the singer-guitarist-drummer-label-owner-retro-fetishist-aesthete: “Jack White is basically Billy Corgan’s dumb ass zero T-shirt in human form.”
White’s antipathy towards the Grammy-winning blues rock duo became apparent in 2013, when emails concerning his divorce from Karen Elson were leaked, containing unflattering references to the Black Keys, not least his unhappiness that his own child was expected to attend the same school as the Keys’ Dan Auerbach’s child.
Though Carney was conciliatory, telling Rolling Stone: “We’ve all said fucked-up shit in private, and divorce is hard,” White did not back down. “There are kids at school who dress like everybody else, because they don’t know what to do, and there are musicians like that, too. I’ll hear TV commercials where the music’s ripping off sounds of mine, to the point I think it’s me. Half the time, it’s the Black Keys,” he said in May 2014.
He then appeared to recant, issuing a statement in which he said: “I wish the band the Black Keys all the success that they can get. I hope the best for their record label Nonesuch who has such a proud history in music, and in their efforts to bring the Black Keys songs to the world. I hope for massive success also for their producer and songwriter Danger Mouse and for the other musicians that their band employs. Lord knows that I can tell you myself how hard it is to get people to pay attention to a two piece band with a plastic guitar, so any attention that the Black Keys can get in this world I wish it for them, and I hope their record stays in the top ten for many months and they have many more successful albums in their career.”
Now, apparently, he’s back to disliking the Black Keys, according to Carney’s series of tweets. US publications had contacted White’s and Carney’s publicists about the incident, but had received no comment.
White has form for attacking other musicians. In 2004 he pleaded guilty to assault and battery following an attack on Von Bondies frontman Jason Stollsteimer. The attack was the result of a row over the productions credits for the Von Bondies’ album Lack of Communication, which White claimed for his own, but which the Von Bondies said should have been shared with Detroit garage rock producer Jim Diamond.