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Reglar Wiglar

The White Strokes

Interview by Soggy Sprinkes

Published in RW #17, 2002

Reglar Wiglar cover #17

"It's a long way," said Bon Scott, "to the top, if you wanna rock and roll." But YOU are not New York City's The White Strokes, suddenly the most acclaimed new rock group since Weenis. Gangster rappers may brag hyperbolically about their wealth, but the White Strokes keep it real, The White Strokes are really, actually rich people. Filthy, stinking rich people. And they didn't get that way from working hard and catching a few lucky breaks in the rock world. They were born that way.

Soggy Sprinkles caught up with The White Strokes lead singer J. Pierpont Morgan IV to find out what's up.

RW: J.P., there's a lot of hype, buzz and media whoop-de-doo surrounding your band. People are also talking out on the streets, in the clubs, etc. The lines for your concerts wrap around the block. Why do you think people are so ga-ga over the White Strokes.

J.P.M.IV: Because people are fucking stupid. Because people will love what they're told to love. And the fact that we're a pretty cool looking group of guys helps too.

RW: Now come on, you've got to give people a little more credit than that.

J.P.M.IV: No, I don't. I'll admit that there may be some redeeming facet to our music. I mean, we write the songs ourselves, we play our own instruments and all that, but who cares? It all comes down to a fashion show. We're really not any different from the Backstreet Boys as far as the cold calculation of our public image is concerned.

RW: The Backstreet Boys!? Now you can't possibly be saying—

J.P.M.IV: It's exactly the same, We saw our target audience and we made sure they knew about us, where to find us, and what they would get in return for buying into our thing. It all should seem pretty obvious to anyone who pays attention to this sort of thing.

RW: But your music sounds to me like it comes from the heart, and you guys really kick ass live. Are you saying the whole thing's a put-on, that your fans are a bunch of dopes?

J.P.M.IV: No, no, no, I love—we all, all of us in the band, we love music, and this is what we want to do with our lives, but struggling to be heard, riding around in a little van, carrying our own guitar cases? Thanks, but no thanks, you know what I'm saying? I don't want to end up like The Woodrows, geniuses that they are, they're poor as fucking dirt. Look, I was born with twenty-five million of my own dollars in the bank, I can have whatever I want. I want to be in a successful rock band. So, we each borrowed a couple of million against our trust funds and hired a high-powered marketing firm to make it happen. And I know that people think that's a dishonest approach, but I'm not hiding anything. I'm right here saying that the reason people like me is that I paid somebody to get people to like me. If they don't like that, fine. They can go see Mirage or Honky MC or whatever, I don't care.

RW: Where'd your families money come from?

J.P.M.IV: Well, everybody should know who my great grandfather was, and if they don't they should be ashamed of themselves, but my grandfather lost all the money. Luckily my dad brought it all back.

RW: What did he do?

J.P.M.IV: He holds the patent for crack cocaine.

RW: Sweeeeet!

J.P.M.IV: (chuckling) Yeah, for every ounce of crack that's sold in America he gets a nickel. It is pretty sweet. It adds up. A lot of people are hooked on that stuff.

Mike Wing: I just want to say that I think that what these kids are doing with the music and the stardom and the glamour is great. Who cuts your hair, if you don't mind me asking?

J.P.M.IV: I get it done in Paris by this woman named Noelle.

Mike Wing: Awesome, thanks. Say, are you going to finish your caviar?

J.P.M.IV: No, dude, you can have it. I've got more in my limo.

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