Marc Maron is a superb interviewer, and what’s so masterful about Maron’s interviews is that they never feel like one. They are free flowing and unrestrained, and his guests are allowed space for not only dialogue, but also therapy. Marc Maron’s interviews are conversations. They can be cathartic, enlightening, funny, and most of all they are unbounded by the often mechanical and unoriginal inquiries of a standard interview. This week’s episode of WTF with Marc Maron was no different, as Maron paid a visit to Third Man Records in Nashville, Tennessee and sat down for an outstanding one-hour conversation with Jack White.
Early on in the conversation, Maron and White speak about the multi-talented musician’s early life in Detroit as well as his staunch Catholic upbringing. Maron then shifts the conversation towards music, most primarily the blues, before inquiring about White’s decision to change base and move to Nashville. The most intriguing portion of the conversation, however, concerns Third Man Records and its standing as an innovative record label in a time when the terms “label” and “innovation” seems to be at such extreme odds. White says of the label:
“[Third Man] is so many different kind of things at once. You could come in and you could be a band. The Red Hot Chili Peppers could come here and play a live show and release it as a live concert if they want to… That’s the thing… It’s the kind of place you would expect to run into a few times… but you never do. You never run into these mythical places in your head when such things can happen… [For example] the live venue [here is] the only venue in the world where you can record in front of a live audience to analog tape.”
After White reveals to Maron that the entirety of Blunderbuss was recorded on analog, the two engage about the advantages of recording analog as opposed to digital.
“Tape looks like a bunch of work that is not necessary anymore… [but] it sounds so much better,” White attests. “If you could just let people sit there that whole time and experience that, they wouldn’t ever record on computer again if they knew the difference.”
According to Marc Maron, Jack White is a man “haunted by the spirit of American music.” Maron is a man haunted by his own spirit. It’s that struggle to ground one’s torment that produces such great art, and that struggle is manifest in Maron and White’s constant pursuit of honing their crafts and going beyond every boundary there is.
The hourlong conversation (which also touches on White’s mysterious Radiohead collaboration) can be downloaded free on iTunes or listened to on the WTF podcast’s official website. And maybe donate some shekels to the man. He deserves it.