Fell in Love with a Girl: Six Months After The White Stripes Break Up

Breakups are rough.

When people lose something that they love, they often go through various stages of grief. The initial stage is usually shock and denial followed soon after by anger. Once the anger subsides and reality sets in, people sometimes feel a little lost and lonely before they start to feel normal again. Then normal turns into hope—hope for something new, something better, or maybe just gratitude for the time you had.

I know this is a little melodramatic, but six months ago today, The White Stripes decided that after 13+ years it was time to part ways. No more albums, no tours, no new music from the most original music duo ever, in my opinion. I was completely blindsided by the news. I was so sure that Jack and Meg would record a least one more album together. Jack was done with his latest tour with the Dead Weather. The Green Horns had just released their latest album and were on tour, so The Raconteurs weren’t going to be getting back together anytime soon. And Alison Mosshart was back with The Kills.

Everything said to me—this is the year for another White Stripes album! Sadly, I was wrong.

When I heard the news on that fateful February day, I did what probably most White Stripes fans did; after the initial shock wore off I immediately went online to Third Man Records to buy their first three albums on vinyl. For some reason I was putting this off, but saving money didn’t seem to matter in that moment.

I was feeling pretty glum about the whole breakup, so I decided to have my own White Stripes tribute day. The Friday after the breakup, I wore red, black, and white in honor of the band that introduced me to the blues and forever shaped my taste in music. That same night, I went out with friends, continuing my tribute with several pints of beer. I know I sound pathetic, but my blues, garage-rock, punk-a-billy-loving heart was broken.

I somehow started talking with a group of people about music in general, and I told them about my tribute. For some reason, one guy started talking about Axl Rose and how Guns N’ Roses was the greatest band ever. Now, I have no hard feeling against Guns N’ Roses, but that was not the night to tell me that Axl Rose was a better musician than Jack White.

Needless to say, the beer kicked in, and the conversation took an ugly turn. It escalated pretty quickly to the point where I was yelling at a complete stranger. We’ll call that the anger stage.

After I recovered from my fit of rage and my new albums arrived in the mail, I was starting to accept that The White Stripes were no longer. It wasn’t until recently when I went to a Peter Frampton concert that I began to think about when Jack and Meg might reunite for a tour. Sitting on the Wolf Trap lawn, listening to Peter Frampton play, I hoped that it wouldn’t be twenty years— just don’t think I can wait that long. I was extremely fortunate to see The White Stripes’ last tour, the only time I ever got to see them play.

In the statement announcing their breakup, Jack and Meg said they are giving the music to the fans, to us. The White Stripes may not be a band anymore, but they live on. I think we’ll hear from them again one day, and until then we can wait for little treasures to surface like the link that came out with two unreleased White Stripes songs.

Since this is the sixth month mark, I wanted to check in to see how everyone is doing. By this stage in the process, you may have forgotten about the breakup altogether. Some things just aren’t meant to last forever, and sometimes, if we’re lucky, the result of a breakup is a great friendship.

Illustration: Jason Seiler

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