Jack White hasn’t talked much publicly about his forthcoming pair of new albums — “Fear of the Dawn,” out April 8, and “Entering Heaven Alive,” due July 22 — but he took to Los Angeles radio station Alt 98.7 to exclusively premiere a new live-in-the-studio music video on the station’s website, as well as to discuss the nature of the two records as well as tour plans.
With the self-directed live video for “Taking Me Back,” White told host Chris Booker that “we wanted to kill a few birds with one stone. People keep asking who’s going to be in the band,” so he thought that with putting the video up, it’s “good to let people see who it is is, and as rehearsals start for the tour, to film and record something to see how it’s sounding — let’s do all that at once.”
White also revealed that he’ll be putting out another single next week — not from “Fear of the Dawn,” but from the so-called follow-up album, even though that long-player won’t be coming out till three and a half weeks later… agreeing with Booker that that might count as “ping-ponging,” but adding that he thinks fans will keep it all straight.
“There’s been a lot of concern with our whole camp, with Third Man: Maybe this is too confusing to go back and forth between the two albums with singles,” he admitted. “I was like, let’s give people a little more credit. Especially my fans – they’re used to more left-field things. So I think people can understand: This is from that record; this is from that record.”
The lineup for the already sold-out tour won’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who caught an incendiary TV appearance when he filled in on late-night TV for Morgan Wallen — it’s that same crew, plus one.
“It’s a quartet. So it’s going to be really cool because we can do really hard-hitting stuff, and then also really gentle, acoustic numbers or even whole sets with this crew. And they’re just such improvisational musicians. They really perform differently every time… I think people got a taste of it when we did ‘Saturday Night Live with the trio I had of me and Daru Jones and Dominic Davis last year, and then Quincy McCrary coming aboard with handling all the key parts is going to be heavy-duty. Because I like the snarl where there’s just one guitar, too. So you hear those tones, you know where it’s coming from. You will know instantly who’s making what sound.”
As for what to expect on tour, “I’m doing songs from everything I’ve ever done in my life. Not much is off-limits,” he told Booker. “Everything that I was the main songwriter or main singer, then that’s kind of in our bag of tricks” — including White Stripes, Dead Weather and Raconteurs songs, he specifically pointed out, excepting ones he didn’t write or sing lead on. “I think we ended up having over 80 the last time I went on the road… I haven’t used a set list in 20 years.”
White said the “Fear of the Dawn” album is “really hard, like lots of really hard-hitting tracks like ‘Taking Me Back.’ The other album is very mellow, almost sort of like a Sunday morning album, to me. And I didn’t get in and do it all at once, either. It was little sporadic (bursts) here and there… I found myself in the studio every day for weeks. I knew something was happening for myself, cathartically.”
The intent wasn’t to do two albums. “I usually just write and record and then eventually it starts to tell me what it is,” White told Booker. “I usually don’t say this is the kind of record I’m gonna make. I didn’t in this case, either. I just kept writing and recording as it was happening, with no real urgency to it. because of the lockdown. Because I said. who knows if we’re going to be doing shows or when a good time for another record would be to come out anyway? So I wasn’t really in that mindset
“I was actually working on furniture more, half the time. But as things started to come together, you know, I started seeing live shows are happening and things are starting to come around, I thought. This is nice. Because these songs are falling into these two categories for me, I think it would be good to put ‘em out as two different albums and put ‘em out in the same year. I’ve never done that before, something like this, releasing two albums in the span of a couple months, so we’ll see.”
“Next week we’re putting out a song from the gentle album called ‘Entering Heaven Alive,'” White added, promising a self-directed music video would be coming out with that as well.