It's hard out there for a rock star. Especially he who longs for the glories of yesteryear, when he could stand on stage, strumming through his 70s-influenced songbook and see nothing before him but a sea of reverent faces, a flashbulb or two, and a smattering of Bic lighters flickering amongst the heads. No, now he must have the stillness and holiness of that communion between artist and audience marred by little blue screens, hands outstretched trying to record every last, silly moment in their lives, unable, as a generation, ever to be present. Thus Jack White has taken to posting signs at his shows stating that the use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like are "strictly prohibited" during his performance. Good luck with that, dude.
It's unclear how he'll be able to announce his prohibition before his set at Outside Lands this weekend. (Maybe he could tweet it?) But the point is, Jack is bummed out by all the incessant interaction on social media, and would just like to say to all the kids out there who are recording his shows instead of just watching them, "Come on man, that's not what this is about."
White talked about this in a recent interview with the UK Guardian, and today the Weekly's Andrew Stout ponders the topic of whether live music is really all that precious an experience and what White's problem is.
But this is the deal that is struck when you become a rock star: music especially your own music loses its easy rewards for you. If you're Jack White, imposing Wimbledon-style rules of conduct on your audience isn't going to restore any of that pleasure you bargained away when you committed to your vocation. That joy is gone forever from him. As for the "sea of blue screens" White sees from the stage? Like everyone else these days, he will have to accept his life has become just another drop in this murky ocean.
Basically, get off your whiny, nostalgic high horse, White! You will be Instagrammed. Get over it.