Rock is officially dead. The White Stripes, one of the lone beacons of loud guitars, Zeppelin-worthy riffs, and garage rock aesthetics in an age when hip-hop and pop dominate the mainstream, have decided to call it quits following a three-year hiatus. Though they were rumored to finally be working on a follow-up to their 2007 album "Icky Thump," Jack and Meg White announced on their official site today that they "will make no further new recordings or perform live." In their wake, the band leaves behind six critically acclaimed LPs, five Grammy Awards, a reputation for incredible live shows, and an undeniable place in the history of rock.
"The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health," the band said in a statement. "It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way. Meg and Jack want to thank every one of their fans and admirers for the incredible support they have given throughout the 13 plus years of the White Stripes' intense and incredible career."
The White Stripes took a break when Meg White began suffering from acute anxiety, which forced the duo to cancel what would have been their final U.K. tour. While Meg was recuperating, the prolific Jack linked up with a pair of successful-in-their-own-right side projects -- The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather -- and spent whatever free time he had producing other artists (Wanda Jackson, Conan O'Brien, the Black Belles, and his wife Karen Elson, for starters) and developing his record label, Third Man Records. When Jack and Meg did come together, it was brief and for special occasions; as it stands now, their final performance together will be their February 2009 reunion to perform on the final episode of "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." White also performed recently on O'Brien's new show "Conan," but without Meg.
While this is the end of the White Stripes, it's not really the end, as the band has made it its mission the past three years to sell anything to fans that wasn't new music. Third Man Records has promised to put out unreleased White Stripes live and studio recordings through their subscription service, and don't be surprised if the band's vaults unearth some more goodies in the coming years. This obviously isn't the type of material diehard fans were clamoring for, but it will have to do.
"The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore," the duo said in closing. "The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful."
"Fell in Love With a Girl"
"Seven Nation Army"
"Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" (live)
"The Hardest Button to Button"
[Top photo: Stephen Lovekin/WireImage.com]