Best Known For
Jack White is best known for singing and playing guitar with Meg White in the band the White Stripes.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Jack White is a singer, drummer and guitarist who was part of the influential early 2000s rock duo the White Stripes.
Musician. Jack White was born John Anthony Gillis on July 9, 1975 in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest of ten children born into a large, working-class Catholic family. His parents, maintenance man Gorman Gillis and secretary Teresa Gillis, both worked for the local Archdiocese of Detroit. The church played a huge role in shaping White's worldview during his formative years. "I feel strongly connected to God," he later told an interviewer. "My roots are Catholic by default. I can take elements from Buddhism or other religions and see the similarities and differences in those, and learn from those, but at the end of the day, I don't care as much about man's interpretation of religion. What I care about is what God tells me directly." That intense spiritual connection led a teenaged White, who long served as an alter boy, to consider going to seminary to pursue a life in the priesthood. "I was thinking at 14," he recalled, "that possibly I might have had the calling to be a priest. Blues singers and people who are singing on stage have the same feelings and emotions that someone who is called to be a priest might have."
Fortunately for fans of rock and roll, White eventually chose not to join the clergy but to pursue his other true calling — music — instead. He learned to play his first instrument, the drums, as a first-grader, and soon picked up the guitar and piano as well. A fan of the blues and 1960s-era R&B and rock and roll, White began making his first lo-fi recordings of his own compositions before starting high school.
In 1990, Jack White began working as an upholsterer's apprentice, training for a life in the furniture trade. A career in upholstery was not to be, but White did record a demo album with one of his coworkers under the moniker, The Upholsterers. Shortly after, he earned his first paid musical gig, playing the drums for a locally popular Detroit cowpunk band called Goober & the Peas.
Not long after, Jack White — still known, at that time, as Jack Gillis — began dating a girl named Meg White, a bartender at a local barbecue joint called Memphis Smoke. They married on September 21, 1996, when both were just 21 years old; in an unconventional move, Jack Gillis took his bride's surname rather than vice versa, becoming Jack White. The couple moved in with Jack's parents, living in the same home he had grown up in, in a working-class neighborhood of southwestern Detroit. Jack White continued working in the upholstery shop by day while playing music at nights and on the weekends.
Though she had zero musical experience, Meg White began attempting to accompany her husband on the drums while he played his guitar. "Jack had a set of drums upstairs, so I began playing with him," she remembered. "It was childlike because I had no idea what I was doing." However, something about the childish simplicity of White's percussion struck both of them as powerfully resonant in a humorous and nostalgic way.
profile name: Jack White profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
They've set their instruments on fire, broken them over their heads, played them behind their backs, learned how to make them screech, and—above all—shown the world what it means to truly rock a guitar. Here is a group of some of the most legendary guitarists of the modern era.
Guitar Heroes 21 people in this group
When musicians land big fame, there typically comes a moment of reinvention in which the "rock star" identity is born. This new persona often requires a new name, a way to differentiate between the private and public versions of themselves. Musical monikers take different forms, from the simple, last-name changes aimed at boosting celebrity appeal—like Steven Tyler—to the glamorized version of a childhood nickname—like Jay-Z. Musicians' nicknames and aliases tend to take on an identity all their own over time, often becoming as full of personality as the artists they represent.
Musical Monikers 108 people in this group
Bond—James Bond—was introduced to movie fans with the release of the first 007 film, Dr. No, in 1962. The past five decades of James Bond films have included a gamut of soundtrack artists, including Paul McCartney & Wings, who performed the song "Live and Let Die" for the Bond film of the same name; Shirley Bassey, who sang tracks for the films Diamonds Are Forever and Goldfinger; Jack White and Alicia Keys, who performed "Another Way to Die" for Quantum of Solace; Gladys Knight, who sang the title track for License to Kill; Louis Armstrong, who performed "We Have All the Time in the World" (secondary theme) for On Her Majesty's Secret Service; and Adele, who sang the title track for the newest film of the Bond franchise, Skyfall.
James Bond Soundtrack Artists 23 people in this group