The Detroit Rocker Meets the Man on the MoonBy Joe Daly
May 01, 2012
Interview magazine recently published a uniquely compelling interview featuring the unlikely duo of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to ever walk on the moon, interviewing rocker Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, seven thousand other bands, side projects and one-offs). White, who never met a trend he didn’t buck, conceived the idea when the magazine solicited his thoughts on who might conduct his interview. Someone’s people called someone else’s people, an agreement was struck and thus flowed a thoroughly fascinating dialogue between these two disparate symbols of American culture.
Having seen Aldrin speak at a convention many years ago, I was fascinated by the premise. At the time, Aldrin filled the auditorium of San Francisco’s Moscone Center–an impressive accomplishment for anyone, much less a man whose star first rose in 1969, when his Apollo 11 lunar mission tattooed the left arm of history. Aldrin’s speech started strong but eventually splintered into rivulets of tangents that drew him far beyond the gravitational pull of his prefatory remarks. Expecting something energizing and focused, I walked away disappointed.
The very premise of the interview intrigued me. How would Aldrin conduct himself under such unusual circumstances? Would he ramble? Would he participate as a formal interviewer or as part of a conversation?
I was thrilled to discover the two falling into a convivial and thought-provoking dialogue that shines ample light over the men’s respective areas of expertise. The interview flows easily, guided by Interview magazine’s music editor Dimitri Ehrlich, as the men discuss space travel, the perils of divorce (Aldrin offers almost immediately that he is in the middle of a divorce proceeding at the time of the interview) and of course, music.
White is refreshingly deferential, asking thoughtful questions and providing candid and gracious answers to Aldrin’s questions concerning the breakup of The White Stripes and why White didn’t rank higher on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 100 Guitarists of all time (White was listed at number 17). When Aldrin veers back into the future of space travel, White genially follows along, never pushing his own image or agenda onto the stage they share. Given that White recently released his most stunning record to date, Blunderbuss, it is pleasantly surprising to see him turn off the wheels self-promotion, instead yielding the spotlight to Buzz.
Jack White fans will find relief in the discussion of Blunderbuss appearing in the feature’s introduction, but even non-fans will dig the men’s banter concerning the meaning of the number three, and forty years on, what the moon feels like to Buzz.
Click here to read the full interview.
has a long history of getting it right.
This was very right.
I love when subjects
gleefully follow tangents
Man, I used to LOVE Interview. I’ll have to check this out later. Thanks Joe!
Yeah, I forgot about how solid that magazine was. Who doesn’t enjoy a good interview? We’ll definitely be working more closely with them going forward.
Thanks for highlighting this interview. I love Jack White. It’s pleasant to read your kind words about his role in this interview.
Thanks, Gloria. I’ve long held on to resentments against Jack White for punching the guy in the Von Bondies a few years ago because the guy wouldn’t engage him in an argument. Since when do we have the right to punch someone just because they choose not to talk to us? From that moment I found myself entirely uninterested in what he was doing, having zero desire to support an artist of such grotesque self-entitlement.
Then I got over myself (a little bit), and while his music isn’t always my cup of tea, I now acknowledge that he’s creative and prolific and people respond to him because he writes songs hellaciously well. I reviewed the Raconteurs’ new DVD for a magazine recently and was surprised how much I enjoyed parts of it, anyway.
Phew. Little did you know your kindly comment would evoke such wanton bloodletting! That’ll show ya…
My mate Tom found himself in a lift with Aldrin in a Houston hotel. He said he was really sound, pleased to be recognised and happy for Tom to take an arms-length photo with him. Meanwhile, Tom’s brain, by his own admission, was going FUCKING HELL BUZZ ALDRIN THIS GUY WALKED ON THE MOON, over and over.
No shit, right? It’s still sort of mind-boggling that you’ve got this cat walking around who actually strolled around on THE MOON. The fact that he came back to talk about it is equally cortex-frying.
Shout out to Michael Collins, Apollo 11’s designated driver!
Isn’t Aldrin one of the few moon walkers who remained grounded (mentally) after their NASA service? Most went off the rails to varying extents. Who can blame them? People come back from Burning sodding Man babbling about a life-changing experience.
God. Everything about this guy indicates that he is someone I should absolutely adore, but I just cannot get on the Jack White bus.
What is wrong with me?
This is a brilliant, after all. Accidental brilliance is, like, my favorite.
But I just can’t stand him. Maybe I need to try harder.
I think you’re right where you need to be. There are too many artists out there who require little or no effort to enjoy. I’m with you in this one.