Biographer Martin Roach Phones in This White Stripes Book

Austin Chronicle | July 23, 2004
Morphing the Blues: The White Stripes and the Strange Relevance of Detroit

by Martin Roach

Chrome Dreams, 178 pp., $15.95

We love the White Stripes. That air of nonchalance, the simple drumbeats, the old-timey blues riffs. But Martin Roach idolizes Jack White to such an extent, our sentiment for the Stripes is quickly waning. A grammatical nightmare, Morphing the Blues is not an insightful look into the "mysteries" of the White duo, as it claims to be. It is simply a restatement of everything we already know, as well as a very detailed history of Detroit. Not that Detroit isn’t an important chapter in U.S. culture, but this is ridiculous. "[I]t is hard to believe that any band from Detroit can exist without some hint ... of [Motown] (just as no band could ever come out of Liverpool without mentioning or being aware of the Beatles)." However, Jack White has blatantly denounced any regard for Motown. And, Mr. Roach, in the world in which we live – and as the author of a cache of rock biographies, you should know – is it possible for any band anywhere not to be aware of the Beatles? Morphing goes on to emphatically illustrate half-baked connections between the White Stripes, the Stooges, the MC5, and Motown, as well as what the duo thinks about fame and selling out, but Roach never spoke with Jack or Meg. And the story? For anyone living under a rock for the past five years: Eccentric upholsterer Jack met quite waitress Meg. They started a rock band, and swept away any preconceptions of what a twopiece could do. Meg broke her wrist. Jack broke his finger. They healed and conquered the world. Now they’re really famous, and Jack White is God. And don’t tell anyone, but – shhhh – Jack and Meg aren’t really siblings. Jesus Christ, Roach. Try a little harder, will ya? – Darcie Stevens

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