Pamela Des Barres' Guitar Gods: Jack White

The fourth in a series of author and scene goddess Pamela Des Barres' profiles of her favorite guitarists.
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The word “groupie" has been so maligned and abused since it was first uttered back in the mid 1960s. It was all about LOVE, L-U-V, and the "G" word only meant a music-loving somebody who wanted to get close up and personal with their favorite adored musicians. The people making the music that surged through their bloodstream, lighting them up inside and out, all around, through and through, sticky and thorough. I was a proud groupie, and, truth be told, I still am, down inside my throbbin’ rockin’ soul. I would set my sights on someone who churned my blood and get to know them. Those were the days, my friends.

Since I have been around so many startling, innovative, majestic musicians through the years, it takes a lot to thrill me these days. And I just love a good thrill. But if I was 30 years younger, not a damn thing could have kept me away from Jack White.

Nowadays, I interview the masterful music makers, and, yes, I had my hour with Mr. White. He told me it was one of his best interviews ever, and that my first book, I’m With the Band had frightened him when he picked it up at his local bookstore at age 12. I must have done something right. I have had a few damp post-gig hugs from him since then. God, how I love a damp musician. It’s like they’re shedding musical notes, pressing them into you like a rancher’s brand. Or an invisible tattoo that glimmers and throbs, pulsing under your skin like a backbeat.

I saw his solo gig in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, and I stood in awe for two hours while he almost ate his guitar. He chews it up real good, and spits it out like it’s in flames. He beats on it like a drum, tears at it like a piece of raw meat, attacks it like it’s hunting him down. He devours it like a hot chick he’s enamored with, and then throttles it like a jealous, lovestruck demon. He brings it to life, gives it wings and a soul. He caresses it, teases it, soothes it—then shreds it, ripping it open to reveal the wicked, divine potential that is always lurking in those 6 strings. I felt like I’d been involved in a 100-way orgy when he finally put the damn thing down. My heart was beating below my waist, I felt awakened, wildly alive, in tune and grateful for my eternal groupie soul. Oh so grateful that I can still feel the stinging blast from the stage like a kiss from All That Is Holy.

Hail hail, rock and roll!