Jack White Still Resents Guinness Book Of World Records Over 'Shortest Concert' Debate
The dexterous rocker calls out the "elitist organization" for not recognizing the White Stripes' string of brief performances on Canadian tour.
Jack White is not often interviewed and fiercely protects the details of his private life -- yet in this months issue of Interview Magazine, the Detroit rocker gets candid with the odd pairing of Buzz Aldrin and Dimitri Ehrlich. And it appears that White is still steaming about the Guinness Book Of World Records denying The White Stripes' bid for the shortest concert of all time.
White explained to Aldrin how the rift came about. The White Stripes were touring Canada and almost everyday they would do a free show. In Winnipeg, Jack and Meg got on a city bus and played a couple of songs. And when they came to Newfoundland, White was struck with an idea.
“Let’s play one note today," White told Aldrin. "So we’ll put on a show and tell people it’s a free show, but we’re only going to play one note... I told Meg as we were getting out of the car. I said, 'Make sure you grab your cymbal -- when you hit the cymbal, grab it so that the note only lasts a millisecond.'”
It sounds simple enough, but Guinness did not agree.
"I was thinking that afterwards we could contact the Guinness World Records people and see if we could get the record for shortest concert of all time," said White. "So we did it, but ultimately they turned us down."
Ehrlich proposed that they may have been beat to the punch by John Cage's four minutes and 33 seconds of silence and Aldrin suggested that White could attain the 'shortest-concert' record by simply not showing up at all.
"I like that -- just don’t show up," White said, laughing, "The thing is, though, that the Guinness book is a very elitist organization. There’s nothing scientific about what they do. They just have an office full of people who decide what is a record and what isn’t."
This subject seems to be a sore spot for the musician, though he may be open for another attempt at the feat.
"With something like the shortest concert of all time, they didn’t think whatever we did was interesting enough to make it a record," he added. "I don’t know why they get to decide that, but, you know, they own the book … Maybe this will help us get the word out."