Jack White Shares Revelations With Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready

Jack White performs during the 2014 Governors Ball Music Festival at Randall's Island on June 7, 2014 in New York City.

Jack White performs during the 2014 Governors Ball Music Festival at Randall's Island on June 7, 2014 in New York City.

Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Premiering Wednesday October 8 at 6 pm and 9 pm EST on Pearl Jam Radio, channel 22

Mike McCready might be the luckiest guy in the world, and it’s not just because he’s Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist. (Well, OK, that’s a very big reason.) Mike McCready recently got to sit down for an in-depth, intimate interview with the one and only Jack White, a.k.a. famed singer-songwriter, former White Stripes guitarist and front man, founding member of the Raconteurs and The Dead Weather drummer (among many other things).

During their chat, Mike spoke to Jack about everything from his songwriting process to balancing his crazy schedule with parenting to witnessing sexism in the music industry. Check out the highlights below, and hear the entire interview when it premieres Wednesday 10/8 at 6 pm ET on Pearl Jam Radio (Ch. 22).

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready (left) and Jack White go one on one in an exclusive interview for Pearl Jam Radio.
Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready (left) and Jack White go one on one in an exclusive interview for Pearl Jam Radio.

On his songwriting process: “Most of the time, the best way for me to work is really, really fast. I found that if I’m walking around my house, and I just walk by a piano and sit down, the very first thing I play is something I should probably make into a song. I didn’t know that for, like, 10 years. I hadn’t had time to think about it. … I think those first things out of my fingers are the best. It took me a long time to realize it, so I started to leave little recording devices around in case that happens.”

On producing another band’s work vs. self-producing: “I’ve found that if I cover someone else’s song, or if I produce someone else’s music, I’m in a way better position for what my mind is better at, which is being a director. Directing the scenario until it gets somewhere beautiful. When I do it to my own music, I can get somewhere, too. I basically treat my music like it’s cover songs. I pretend I’m covering someone else’s music, in terms of producing my own music. … Both those bands [the Raconteurs and The Dead Weather] were all happy accidents. It’s always things that happen naturally, and you let them happen. … In my mind, I’d be ashamed of myself if I didn’t let music be in charge of me and tell me what to do.”

On achieving the ever-elusive work-life balance: “I’ve only been on five or six vacations in my life. I sometimes sit and think that maybe I’m making a big mistake. People say things to me like, ‘Well, are you having fun on tour?’ And I think, fun? Fun is like if I went and saw Weird Al Yankovic, who’s brilliant at what he does. THAT’S having fun. I just don’t ever feel that feeling onstage. It feels almost like a sin to be having fun doing it.”

On sexism in the music industry: “There’s a different perception, and it’s kind of a shame. It’s a real shame that if a woman goes on stage with an instrument that it’s almost a novelty to people. Like, oh, isn’t that cute. It’s a shame that in 2014 that it’s a little bit of what’s going on with people’s perception in the room.”

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