10 Things We Learned From Jack White Open Letter

Hopefully bringing to an end an already silly saga, Jack White issued what should be the final word on the recent publishing of his tour rider by the Oklahoma University student paper, The Oklahoma Daily. With a lengthy essay posted on his Third Man Records website, White’s sights were aimed at the media in general (and NPR specifically) for not factually reporting various details of the incident surrounding his February 2 gig at the McCasland Field House, particularly with respect to that headline grabbing guacamole recipe.

[Photo by David James Swanson]

Addressed to “dear journalists and other people looking for drama or a diva,” here are 10 things we learned from White’s edict:

1. The infamous guacamole recipe belongs to White’s tour manager and was included on the rider as an “inside joke.”

2. White insinuates that he holds nothing personal against bananas, instead implying their banishment on the rider is due to a crew member’s allergy.

3. White has forgiven the student paper for publishing his tour rider, though he does make clear he’s “absolutely” “disappointed” in them.

4. But he’s both not “pissed” at the students that attend Oklahoma University nor will he never be back to Oklahoma –a state he has a clear fondness for.

5. This was the first time White has had the contents one of this riders published publicly.

[Photo by David James Swanson]

6. He is however pissed at media outlets and journalists who didn’t research the source of the guac and banana requests and instead went for the easy “click bait.”

7. White does not know how to make Kool-Aid.

8. Addressing claims that workers at his OU concert were told to delete photos taken during the show, White implied a breach of an agreement (“miscommunication”) over what areas of the venue where open to press coverage.

9. Most of the fallout is, “because people don’t understand what a rider is or what the terms of a contract are. they’re out of their element, and you can’t blame them for it.”

10. White has no respect for grammar (capitalization especially) but does hold in high regard the right to free speech and information on public spending.

Let’s hope this means White can get back to making killer solo records, forming kick ass bands and pressing ridiculously cool vinyl records, all the while keeping his rider requests out of the news cycle.

Here’s the full text of the statement White issued:


dear journalists and other people looking for drama or a diva,

even in the age of the short attention span internet article, it’s still hard to believe you are STILL writing about this:

NPR Link: For Musician Jack White, Any Old Guacamole Just Won’t Do

wow. classy.

seems like there’s a new rule number one for up and coming journalists: don’t let the facts get in the way of click bait. at the risk of incurring even more of this hoo haa (and i’ve definitely turned my cheek more than once lately) and even though our management sent out a letter to clarify this, and since this seems to be all anyone can ask me about lately, here’s the real deal, and hopefully it’ll explain this nonsensical scenario and we can move on with our lives. (or what have you).

first off, this is none of your business, but i have no specific demands in my dressing room. i know i could ask for lots of things but i actually don’t ask for ANYTHING. i take with me what i need, and that ain’t much. anything on the rider is for the band and the crew. this “guacamole recipe” is my hilarious tour managers inside joke with the local promoters, it’s his recipe, not mine. it’s just something to break up the boredom, seeing who can make it best. though i wouldn’t know because i’ve never had it. i can’t even make kool aid let alone cook any real food enough to have a “recipe.” sorry, i don’t have that talent.

bananas: did it occur to anyone someone on the tour might have an allergy to them? no? hmmm. one day some fantasy journalist out there will call someone in the biz and actually have a rider explained to them, maybe none of them have ever been on tour. oh well, let’s move on, first amendment issues: i fully believe in the freedom of the press (though the supposed search for truth from the press requires microscopes and a some morton salt), and i also defend anyone’s right to free speech (just look at my lack of respect for grammar in this letter and tell me i’m not for communicating freely) and i defend the right to free information in regards to public funds, but never in my 20 years of playing shows has my contract and tour rider been published in the paper that i recall.

do you know why we don’t do that or want that? a hundred articles about bananas, free speech, and guacamole is why; it’s because people don’t understand what a rider is or what the terms of a contract are. they’re out of their element, and you can’t blame them for it. and people who write about that know this. people WANT a rider to be a list of demands that a diva insists occur lest he or she refuse to play a note of music.

but in reality, it’s just some food and drinks backstage for the hundred workers and guests who have to live in a concrete bunker for 15 hours. some people bring their own living rooms on tour, some people ask for a huge spread. who cares? what you’re looking for is someone throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get their brown m and m’s, sorry to disappoint.

someone printed that i’m never going to oklahoma again? not true. i love oklahoma, that’s why i booked this show instead of playing chicago or atlanta for four times as much money. ask around in tulsa. i’ve been there at least three times on these last two albums. i love it there. our booking agent warned the college that other artists might not book shows there? of course they did, it’s bad business what that school paper did and really rude. of course they are going to tell them to wise up.

am i pissed at the students at oklahoma university? absolutely not. am i disappointed in young journalists at their school paper? absolutely. but i forgive them, they’re young and have learned their lesson about truth and ethics hopefully. all they have to do is google this to know that it’s not worth it. look for real problems instead next time. look for the truth, not fake drama. i got pissed during my show and berated the crowd? no. sorry, didn’t happen. i made jokes about the paper publishing that info, so which of us is thin skinned? they have freedom of speech but i don’t? at my show? ok. i guess the rules change for different people. the crowd were amazing and we played for 2 and a half hours that night. people were told to delete photos on their camera? i dont know much about that but it must be a miscommunication about what was public property at the college and the contract we had with the university to let us do our work in peace; but i’ll give you an example, if someone working at a theater we played at started taking pictures of all of our workers and our gear they’d probably get fired by their theater or promoter. sorry to the student paper budding press papparazzi on that one, but is this a tmz assignment or can you give us some peace while we try to put on a show for the students? give us a break man.

i know it’s a fun thing for people to try to turn me into a jerk and a diva, but in this case it’s pretty ridiculous and has almost nothing to do with me. my relationship with the fans at that show and how we got to a new place together through music remains intact and i’d love to do it again with them.

i think that’s everything, can i go back to making music now? no? ok. crochet it is.

jack white