Detroit's darlings love their candy-cane children
KARI WETHINGTON | CIN WEEKLY
They're bona fide rock stars. Their concerts sell out across America and Europe. It may have been Jack and Meg White's color coordination and ambiguous relationship that originally attracted mainstream media attention, but it is the White Stripes' dynamic sound that has kept fans coming back for more since 1999.
If you don't already have tickets to the band's show Tuesday at Bogart's, you're definitely out of luck. And if you missed all the buzz about the band before it was huge (when you actually could have seen the band play in a small local venue, such as the now-defunct Electric Company), you now have hordes of devotees to compete with. But that doesn't mean it's too late to become a Stripes fan - they're everywhere.
One fan - Eric Breen, a longtime employee of Phil's Records in Latonia - has never seen the band live, but prefers it that way. "I'll see them on the way back down, when (the fans are not) mosh-pitting to 'Seven Nation Army' or 'Fell in Love with a Girl.'
"Musically, the band is too talented to be an MTV band," Breen contends. "The only reason they got so big (with MTV fans) was the color scheme of what they wear. They got lucky. Good for them."
Not wanting to sound too much like a record-store-cynic, Breen continues: "In a perfect world, bands with that kind of talent would get big for their music - but nobody gets big based on their music anymore."
Brian LaCalameto, a local fan and creator of Web site www.whitestripes.net, has been hooked since the release of White Blood Cells. LaCalameto's site is constantly updated with news on the band and includes a forum for fans to discuss song lyrics, concert reviews and all things Stripes-related.
LaCalameto agrees that the color scheme had a lot to with their mainstream success, and points to "Fell In Love With a Girl" as the turning point in their popularity.
"You have an amazing video combined with a very catchy song under three minutes," he says. "This is one of those songs that is hard not to like. Once you hear it, it will be bouncing around in your head for a while."
Fans are confident that their favorite duo is more than a trend. "The White Stripes' music will stand the test of time - it is not trendy," LaCalameto says, noting the band's preference for simplicity over fancy technologies. "All of the equipment used in making Elephant was from the early '60s to give it that raw, vintage feel. It's nice to see a band living in the 'Pro Tools' age turn their back on today's technology."
The White Stripes visit Cincinnati next week and play to a sold-out show at Bogart's.