The White Stripes, as we all know, are bad to the candy-striped bone; not even a Seven Nation Army could hold them back. And I might not hold back on picking up Rhinoceros, if I found it for a very low price.
The DVD has no real interviews with The White Stripes, yet does have early footage of Jack and Meg. It’s not much; maybe a total of five minutes, but it’s better than the Cure documentary, Lost In The Labyrinth, put out by this same company. There are interviews with people who actually know The Stripes: club owners, producers, friends, and a few members of the Detroit bands that Jack played with. These people were there before the levee broke and The Stripes began their conquest of the known world. The documentary is informative and sheds some light on their early years and formation, although this disk “contains no original music by The White Stripes”.
John Anthony Gillis was dubbed “Jack” after joining the country/rock band Goober And The Peas as drummer, and it was during this time he met and would eventually marry Meg White, adopting her surname and becoming Jack White. Shortly thereafter, The Peas broke up. Jack then taught Meg to play drums and The White Stripes were born. Though dedicated to The Stripes, Jack would still play in two other bands, the alt.country-sounding Tabernacle and solid rockers The Go, even appearing on the latter’s debut single. Jack would fade from these bands as The Stripes began to hit and as he turned his thoughts to recording their first album, The White Stripes.
Some time after that, they began to tour the U.S. with bands Pavement and Sleater-Kinney, as well as recording their second album De Stijl, which led to more success and tours of Japan and Australia. Yet it wasn’t until their third release, White Blood Cells, that the world at large began to know their name. Rhinoceros then quickly stumbles into and glosses over Elephant, and ends about there as well. The closing chapter on the disk is about the “future” of The White Stripes and where the people interviewed think the band will go.
On the whole, Rhinoceros is an alright disk for the casual fan; it does contain good information about their early years, though it’s not very entertaining. On the other hand, the visual gimmicks on this disk can be annoying. The split/striped screens and red tint in every other shot, which makes the titles a bit hard to see, gives these not so fresh eyes a hard time and a mild headache to boot. The production quality is not as bad as the previously mentioned Cure documentary, but at least there is footage rather than close-ups of still photographs and actual music used in the background between segments instead of Muzak. If you know all this information already, then this disk is not for you. If you must own everything White Stripes, then you’ll get it anyway.
Where does Fantasma think The White Stripes will go? The White Stripes will have a big hit on their next effort, something to do with a flower — perhaps an oddly colored orchid? Things get a little hazy here, but Jack’s love for country music will shine and I see him climbing a cold mountain. The Stripes will bring a new band on tour, real greenhorns, and from them Jack will pick two to be in his new project, their name will be…the excellent tellers of anecdotes. And they too will score big hits and tour the nation and beyond.
Written by Fantasma el Rey