We’re stepping in to the Far Out Magazine Vault to explore the unlikely friendship between Bob Dylan and former White Stripes frontman Jack White.
Over the years, White has made no secret of his admiration for Dylan, a person that the former White Stripes lead singer described as “an incredible mentor”. When asked if Dylan has ever passed on valuable advice, White answered: “All the time. He’s been an incredible mentor to me, and a good friend, too.”
He added: “I’m lucky to even have one conversation with him. Everything else has been icing on the cake.” White was then asked if he has ever worked with Dylan, more specifically if the duo had written a song, to which he answered: “I cannot tell you that. I wish I could tell you, but I cannot.”
Remembering the first time he met Dylan, White told The Wall Street Journal: “It was just by accident. I went and saw him play in Detroit and he said to me, ‘We’ve been playing one of your songs lately at sound checks.’ I thought, Wow. I was afraid to ask which one. I didn’t even ask. It was just such an honour to hear that.”
While the duo are yet to collaborate musically, their friendship continues to grow. When speaking to the New York Times back in 2012, White explained that he and Dylan met up to do a bit of DIY… which resulted in some welding. Yes, really. “I’d never done it before, and he’d been doing it for a while, so he kind of gave me the lowdown,” White said. Apparently the situation came about when Dylan and White were sitting on the porch when Dylan said, randomly: “You know, Jack—I could do something about that gate.” In response, the former White Stripes man said: “That would be pretty cool, I don’t know what kind of discount I’m going to get.”
With the idea of a mind-melting collaboration buzzing around our office, we decided to look through the archives to discover any previous musical meetings between the two. Back in 2004, Dylan was in the middle of his ‘Never Ending Tour’ and stopped by the State Theatre in Detroit for a sold out headline gig.
After an expansive set and encore, Dylan came out for the third time that evening, this time armed with a friend by his side. With the audience expecting the show to be over, both Dylan and White strolled back on stage and ran though an electrifying rendition of ‘Ball and Biscuit’.
Here it is: