Entertainment Weekly
Stranger Than Fiction Image Credit: Entertainment Weekly
Stranger Than Fiction Image Credit: Entertainment Weekly

Stranger Than Fiction

It’s been more than a decade since fans last heard from The Raconteurs (they didn’t break up, they were just busy). Jack White, 43, and Brendan Benson, 48, weigh in on how their odd partnership led to the band’s fierce new album.

Katherine Turman

THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS (in)famous pairings throughout music history: Mick and Keith. Sonny and Cher. Metallica and Lou Reed. So how to characterize Jack White and Brendan Benson, lead songwriters of the modern garage-rock quartet the Raconteurs? Well, according to White, they might just be the oddest of the bunch. “We really inspire each other, but we both think each other is the strongest person,” says the former White Stripes frontman. “Brendan says to me, ‘You are just the weirdest guy I know.’ It’s so funny. Every time he says that I wanna say it back to him, but I don’t wanna argue with him! Most of the people I’ve loved and admired— mentors I’ve had—are people I’ve found to be odd. Not at first glance, but maybe as time goes on. I find an appeal to their eccentricities.”

Benson and White’s collaboration proved wondrous rather than weird on Help Us Stranger, the first Raconteurs record in 11 years. “It was just timing; we never broke up or anything,” explains Benson of the group’s decade-long absence. “There wasn’t some epiphany. I was busy producing and writing, Jack was busy with his solo career, and Patrick [Keeler, drummer] moved to Los Angeles. So when Patrick came to visit Nashville recently, we got together and jammed; it was really fun and we actually recorded some stuff.” Bassist Jack Lawrence, who also plays in the


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