- John Shearer/Getty Images for Essential Broadcast Media, LLC
- Jack White, guitarist and former singer for The White Stripes, recently said in an interview that he’s never owned a cell phone.
- In an interview with Channel 4 News, a UK news channel, White said he thinks it’s “nonsense” that people are unable to walk down the street or be at concerts without staring at their cell phones.
- White is one of a growing number of musicians, including Alicia Keys and The Lumineers, who has taken measures to ensure fans aren’t on their phones during their concerts.
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Cell phones may be more prolific today than people, but that hasn’t stopped someone as high profile as singer and guitarist Jack White from steering clear of them.
White does not – and never has – owned a cell phone, he said in an interview this month with Channel 4 News in the UK. Although White says he doesn’t necessarily think he’s a Luddite, he did admit that he’s been “suspicious of technology” since he entered the music industry in the 90s, when most people were still using tapes for recording and editing.
“For someone like me who is one of the few who doesn’t own a cell phone, it’s pretty funny to walk down the street and see everyone doing this,” White said, making a motion of looking down at a phone and texting. “If you can’t just put that down for an hour and experience life in a real way – that’s sad.”
White is the lead singer for the Raconteurs, the band behind the hit “Steady as She Goes.” He also has a prolific solo career, and used to head up the rock band The White Stripes – of “Seven Nation Army” fame – but it dissolved in 2011.
In the interview, White continued on to express his distaste for cell phones, calling them an “addiction.” His dislike for them extends to the role they play during his concerts, when he’s up on stage and sees the crowd looking down at their phones or holding them up to record the performance.
It’s the reason why White has essentially banned cell phones at his concerts. After years of discouraging fans from using their cell phones at his performances, White announced in January 2018 that his gigs would be “phone-free.” When attendees walk into a Jack White show, they’re given special pouches that can only be unlocked in certain areas of venues. The pouches are unlocked at the end of the show.
White isn’t the only artist who has taken such measures. The same lockable pouches, made by a startup called Yondr, are used by artists like Alicia Keys, The Lumineers, and Guns N’ Roses.
“I thought it was a big art project at first just to see if people would think it was funny or cool or just a new experience,” White said in the Channel 4 interview. “To my surprise and to everyone around us surprise, everyone loved it, and we’ve been doing it now for over a year.”
Watch the full interview Jack White gave with the UK’s Channel 4 News.