In this month’s Interview Magazine, Buzz Aldrin (interesting pairings are kind of their M.O.) and Dimitri Ehrlich interviewed Jack White, and it appears White has a few bones to pick with Guinness Book Of World Records and their “elitist” policies. An excerpt:
ALDRIN: I understand that back in the White Stripes days, you and Meg played a concert that was just one note. Is that right?
WHITE: Well, we’d done this whole tour of Canada where we played in every province, and almost every day we would do a free show. I would decide each morning what kind of show we would do. For example, in Winnipeg, I said, “Let’s play on a city bus today. We’ll get on a bus and play a couple songs.” So when we were in Newfoundland, the idea that I came up with at breakfast was, “Let’s play one note today. So we’ll put on a show and tell people it’s a free show, but we’re only going to play one note.” I told Meg as we were getting out of the car. I said, “Make sure you grab your cymbal — when you hit the cymbal, grab it so that the note only lasts a millisecond.” I was thinking that afterwards we could contact the Guinness World Records people and see if we could get the record for shortest concert of all time. So we did it, but ultimately they turned us down. They would not give us the record for the shortest concert.
EHRLICH: Why? Did someone else have a shorter concert than that? John Cage might have for his four minutes and 33 seconds of silence.
ALDRIN: See, I think that the way you get that record is that you just don’t show up.
WHITE: I like that — just don’t show up. [laughs] The thing is, though, that the Guinness book is a very elitist organization. There’s nothing scientific about what they do. They just have an office full of people who decide what is a record and what isn’t. I mean, there is some stuff like Olympic records where they have a committee. But most of the records in there — who has the biggest collection of salt-and-pepper shakers or whatever — are just whatever they want them to be. So with something like the shortest concert of all time, they didn’t think whatever we did was interesting enough to make it a record. I don’t know why they get to decide that, but, you know, they own the book … Maybe this will help us get the word out.
Jack White would start shit with the Guinness Book Of World Records. Watch out, Farmer’s Almanac! Hopefully this rant won’t undermine his quest for most “weird record-related curios.” Because that’s a lock.