Today, a legend fell. The White Stripes, with their Grammy nominations and color-coordinated outfits (and weird mock brother-sister relationship) have called it quits. The duo has as many fans as critics, but let’s think for a moment about what the world would be like without the Stripes:
The year is 2001. The White Stripes never release their influential album White Blood Cells and the blues-doused garage rock revolution does not begin. Rolling Stone instead writes about the new face of rock music and features a cover story about the rise of bands like Tool and Linkin Park. Indie music lovers dig in their heels deeper with The Strokes and Radiohead.
A year later, Michel Gondry doesn’t film his breakthrough LEGO video for “Fell In Love With A Girl,” instead shooting a bland, albeit odd, video for Tool’s latest single, “Lateralus.” As a result, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind stars Keanu Reeves and Drew Barrymore (it’s just the way the world works).
At the 2003 Grammy Awards, the Best Alternative Album award goes to Radiohead’s Hail To The Thief and since it’s their third Grammy nothing really changes with them. But furious at the continued success of their non-American counterparts, Sigur Ros decides to start making music in a coherent language and loses half their fan base. So it goes.
Conan O’Brien doesn’t have The White Stripes to partner with, so he instead opts for similarly bluesy garage act The Black Keys who bring all the substance without the style. Conan loses his weird/artsy edge and without the confidence, later gives in to NBC and moves his show after Leno’s. He develops a drinking problem and in an on-air drunken rampage CoCo breaks a bottle of whiskey over Andy Richter’s head, ending both their television careers.
And without Jack White’s success we don’t have The Raconteurs or The Dead Weather, which I guess means The Kills and The Greenhorns focus more on their own music and maybe make some better albums as a result. BUT! The world is without “Steady As She Goes” and sports arenas everywhere instead start playing “Welcome To The Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance. Unable to sell tickets, the Detroit Pistons go bankrupt and sell the team to Las Vegas (who, you know, change the name to the Pistols for that old west feel).
Finally, Rolling Stone‘s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists has an open spot that is filled by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, leading to a new popularity of the band and a world tour. The stress of the tour leads to the band’s death, giving us two long-bearded angels to mourn. Everybody everywhere watches the video for “TV Dinners” and weeps.
ALL OF THIS BECAUSE THE WHITE STRIPES NEVER EXISTED. Are you happy now, haters? Would you rather live in a world without Conan O’Brien and the Detroit Pistons? Where Tool is the new hot thing? Where the history of rock music is without the blues/garage niche? What would Billy Gibbons think? What would Billy Gibbons think…
[BTW the idea for this post was totally Brittany Borghi’s. Not mine at all.]