As one half of alt-garage rock duo the White Stripes, Jack White made a name for himself with his Zeppelinesque blues guitar style and screechingly melodic vocals. Driven by the steady, simple, thudding beats of his drummer ex-wife Meg, White took raw blues and infused it with punk energy to create some of the most memorable guitar rock albums of the 2000s.
However along the way the 36-year-old apparently suffered significant hearing loss from playing at ear-splitting volumes for so many years.
Speaking to BBC Radio 1, White revealed that he “used to try and put ear protection in, but I couldn’t hear my guitar tone. I couldn’t hear what was going on and I would always pull them out three songs in. Even if it makes me go deaf, I have to know what it sounds like.”
The Detroit native also told the Beeb that due to his hearing loss, he was frequently unaware of just how loud his own gigs really were. White explained they he regarded the White Stripes as “probably one of the least loudest bands I would think because there are not too many people on stage. My monitor guy came over while we were playing at sound check and he held a decibel meter in front of my monitors and turned it around and showed me the number, which was 136!”
The White Stripes were formed in Detroit in 1997 and broke up last year. White has just released his first solo album Blunderbuss, which made its debut at no. 1 on the Billboard 200. Blunderbuss has also just been named the biggest selling vinyl album of the year thus far.