Before he formed the White Stripes with his ex-wife Meg White, John Anthony Gillis (the man we all know today as Jack White) played in a number of other rambunctious Detroit rock bands. Now White’s Third Man Records is releasing live sets from three of those groups as the latest installment of its Vault subscription series. Rolling Stone shared a track from the record today, a wild performance of “Itchy” by the group Two Star Tabernacle. It was recorded at the Gold Dollar in Detroit in January 1999, just months before the first White Stripes album came out. Hear “Jackson White” and the boys burn through it below.
Some background on Two Star Tabernacle from Third Man:
While the band only released two songs (both covers) while they were together, the group was a jumping-off point for the critically-regarded band Blanche, which Dan John Miller and Tracee Mae Miller would later go on to found. With the addition of Damian Lang (Detroit Cobras) on drums and Two Star Tabernacle was quite the confluence of varied influences. Two Star is also where Jack White debuted some songs that would later become known the world over through the White Stripes. This particular set by Two Star Tabernacle, recorded at the Gold Dollar on January 16th, 1998, features spirited takes of “So Long Cruel World” and “Garbage Picker” which would find more-refined lives on Blanche’s If We Can’t Trust the Doctors… album. White’s “Hotel Yorba” and “Now Mary” renditions are twangier older siblings to how they exist on White Blood Cells. Of supreme interest to audio archeologists is the White-penned song “Itchy” all spirit and rockabilly rhythm that has yet to find a place in any of his subsequent musical endeavors. A splendid cover of Merle Travis’ “Sixteen Tons” help round out the set of a band, while mentioned often, is infrequently heard. The equal parts country and punk are in full effect here. Take heed.
Vault Package 27 also includes late-’90s Gold Dollar sets by the Go and Jack White & The Bricks. The latter band featured White’s future Raconteurs bandmate Brendan Benson and was known as the Jack White Band at the time. Preview those performances, including an early version of “Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground,” below.