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Rock Stars Do Apologize Too!


Jack’s mea culpa

Rock and punk stars speak up, say stupid things and then apologize. They are like everybody else, they feel guilty afterwards or are afraid that what they have said could cause prejudice to their record/ticket sales,… so they have to come up with some explanation. First, X’s Exene Cervenka triggered a backlash in the blogosphere by declaring a few days ago that the recent Santa Barbara shooting was a hoax. She had already done this for Sandy Hook and other stories, so she appears more than ever, a truther and a nuts. But on Friday the following statement appeared on X Facebook page:

‘A statement from Exene:

I want to apologize for using the word ‘hoax’ in a comment I made on social media. I realize people have died in these violent events and we have all experienced that in our own lives. No one wants anyone else to ever have to go through that.

The point I am always trying to make is that we need to start thinking critically, looking past the headlines at all available information and make an informed opinion. My issue is with the media’s coverage of events that will shape our public policy and laws for generations to come. We all need to be involved in that debate but we cannot contribute unless we have accurate truthful and complete information about what happened at any of these events.

The hatred, rage and intolerance of ones opinions and the threatening language that I have been receiving through the media makes me realize that this is not a path I want to be on. I don’t want to be a source of hatred and rage. I don’t like it being directed at me and I don’t want to create it in anyone’s mind. It was not my intent.

I wasn’t expecting this kind of response to a comment I made, but it has been a wakeup call and has radically altered my own views as to how I want to live in this world. I always try to do what I think is right. I’ve always been very vocal and opinionated, but this experience with the media has not been positive, nor productive.

It’s only through positive energy that things will get better in this country for all of us.’

Again, it doesn’t make sense to me, Exene knows the meaning of the word hoax, right? And she didn’t expect this reaction from people? Of course we have to question the media, but the bloody massacre did happen, it was not a hoax, not a fabricated story, but a fact. Her use of the words ‘hoax’ and ‘green screen’ to describe the situation was totally misleading if she really wanted to question the media coverage of the event, she was questioning a fact, she was questioning that the tragedy ever happened! I read some of the comments and people seem to be up in arms about freedom of expression. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech, of course Exene can say whatever she wants, but she can’t expect people not to judge her, and she has to take the criticisms. Then, positive energy? What she has been spreading on the internet lately has nothing to do with positive energy… it sounded like wacky comments of a deranged woman. Has she recovered her mind with this latest statement and how do we know this doesn’t come from her bandmates who got a bit worried about the band’s reputation?

Another day, another apology, this time from egomaniac Jack White, who has been slamming everybody’s character in a recent Rolling Stone interview. His feud with the Black Keys is a recurrent joke, and he attacked them one more time, saying their sound was a watered-down version of the original (him). By the same token he did trash Lana Del Rey, Adele who ‘would not have happened if Amy Winehouse was alive’, and the media recently reminded us he also had a few nice words about his ex-wife and bandmate Meg White, who was ‘uninterested’ and who wasn’t apparently worshipping him as she should have. It was time for a collective apology, that White posted on Saturday:


It seems like it’s becoming obvious that to continue the activities I have planned for the rest of my year as a musician, and not be hounded by nonsense throughout those experiences, I should make a statement to clear up a lot of the negativity surrounding things I’ve said or written, despite the fact that I loathe to bring more attention to these things.

I felt in a way forced into talking about very private opinions of mine that are very much in the realm of “behind the curtain” show business conversations, and things to do with my own family and friends. These are things I never talked about publicly, but through the actions of lawyers trying to villainize me in a private legal scenario, my private letters were made public for reasons I still don’t understand. They contained comments that were part of a much bigger scenario that is difficult to elaborate on, and also one that I really shouldn’t have to explain as it was personal and private in nature.

There are a lot of things that only people around me can know about or understand, but despite all of that I want to say this: I wish the band the Black Keys all the success that they can get. I hope the best for their record label Nonesuch who has such a proud history in music, and in their efforts to bring the Black Keys songs to the world. I hope for massive success also for their producer and songwriter Danger Mouse and for the other musicians that their band employs. Lord knows that I can tell you myself how hard it is to get people to pay attention to a two piece band with a plastic guitar, so any attention that the Black Keys can get in this world I wish it for them, and I hope their record stays in the top ten for many months and they have many more successful albums in their career.

Remarks I’ve made about the state of the music business and about how certain acts create new markets in the minds of music lovers are also very difficult to clarify without exacerbating the issue. In an attempt to not give the music magazine Rolling Stone a “no comment,” because I thought they would use that to convey some sort of pettiness on my part, I decided to try to explain a tiny portion of what they were asking. But, they are the type of comments that are to be made to producers, engineers, and managers who thoroughly understand the behind-the-scenes of what we do all day long. I should’ve been smarter to know that it would be pointless to use comparisons like I did to readers who most likely don’t understand the scenario and that my words would seem very negative in nature. That’s not me trying to sound like I’m above anyone, it was just “shop talk” and it sounded a lot more negative than it was meant to.

I wish no slight to the talents of Winehouse, Duffy, Lana del Rey, and Adele. All of whom are wonderful performers with amazing voices. I have their records and I hope for more success for them all as the years go on. They deserve all they’ve gotten. And, I also would love to state that I personally find it inspiring to have powerful, positive female voices speaking out and creating at all times in the mainstream, and all of those singers do just that, so I thank them.

Meg White, who I also talked about to Rolling Stone about our working conversations, or lack thereof, is, of course, a musician I’ve personally championed for 15 years. She is a strong female presence in rock and roll, and I was not intending to slight her either, only to explain how hard it was for us to communicate with our very different personalities. This got blown out of proportion and made into headlines, and somehow I looked like I was picking on her. I would never publicly do that to someone I love so dearly. And, there are mountains of interviews where my words are very clear on how important I think she is to me and to music.

We live in a sound bite, sensationalized age. The “non apology” has become a lawyer’s dodge for celebrities themselves, given to a public that usually doesn’t want to hear it as it disrupts the tabloid “dirt” that we all want to occur. Because the conversations I’ve had that have been made public and recontextualized are difficult to clarify without making it seem even more petty and strange, this is an apology to anyone I’ve offended with my comments about my creativity, their creativity, and the music business in general. I wish for a long, fruitful, healthy family of creative people to continue to grow around me and the musicians I work with, the city of Nashville, America and the world of listeners that this music can reach.

Anyone who can get people to pay attention for more than a second with musical notes in this age, or any age for that matter, deserves credit and applause. Thank you for reading all of this and I hope that the nonsense started by lawyers and strangers to me and perpetuated by tabloid journalism can be left behind, and all of the musicians can move forward in positivity. So, God bless the Black Keys, Danger Mouse, Adele, Meg White, and anyone else I’ve spoken about, and thank you for understanding. Good fortune to all of them, and I’m sorry for my statements hurting anyone.

Jack White’

That was so long Jack White and so unnecessary because I know you don’t think a word of all this. Don’t try this ‘recontextualize’ thing, because the excerpts were long enough to stand by themselves. You said all this, assume it! In your world, you are the only act that matters, and all this is just blablabla politically-correct apologies.

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