Jack White Explains Cell Phone Ban, Views It as an ‘Art Experiment’
During a recent chat with Lars Ulrich for his It's Electric Beats 1 show, White explained that he was a bit inspired by comedian Chris Rock who has employed a similar approach to keep his bits fresh on the comedy stage.
"I really react to the crowd, just like a stand-up comedian would ... If I finish a song and go, 'Ta-da!,' and it's crickets, I'm like, 'Well, I don't know what to do now,'" stated White. "Am I supposed to play a heavier song, a faster song? Do you want me to play acoustic? Do you want me to leave? I'll leave!' But what I don't like is, 'Is that how they really feel, or are they just not even paying attention because they're not engaged ... because they're texting?'"
The singer went on to state that there are still places where people are expected to put their cell phones away out of respect, adding, "When you go to a movie theater, a symphony, church, whatever – there are all these moments in life where people put those away and engage. And I love the idea of rock concerts being punk as hell and there are no rules. I love that. But I don't like the idea that I have no idea what to play next. And I need that. Because I've walked offstage before like, 'Man, I don't know what to do anymore. If this is how it's going to be from now on, it's going to be very difficult for me to play."
White says he views playing shows without the cell phone inclusion as "an interesting art experiment," adding that the response by fans was initially skeptical, but has been really positive so far since it's been announced. You can see White discussing his cell phone ban in the player above, and check out the first installment of his interview with Ulrich today (March 25) on It's Electric at 6PM ET on Beats 1.