Jack White: Bring Back The Clapometer At Gigs
NOTICED how there’s a lot of rock musicians complaining about the modern world lately? Like lunatics shouting at cars for being evil horseless carriages, spewing out Satan’s plume, they gripe and bitch about every modern development… apart from the ones that make them money.
And so, to Jack White – the most catholic musician in the universe – who has criticised people at gigs who spend more time on their mobile phones than watching the gig itself.
He says that he is “wasting time” performing for people who “can’t even clap” because they have a phone in one paw, and a drink in the other.
“People can’t clap any more, because they’ve got a fucking texting thing in their fucking hand, and probably a drink, too!” White told Rolling Stone.
“Some musicians don’t care about this stuff, but I let the crowd tell me what to do. There’s no setlist. I’m not just saying the same things I said in Cleveland last night. If they can’t give me that energy back? Maybe I’m wasting my time.”
Or maybe he’s just not vital anymore? Or maybe he’s acting like a spoiled brat?
Thing is, you go to shows inhabited by young musicians and performers and, in 2014, phones are part of the process. Sometimes, they’re even party to a beautiful thing.
Fans don’t stick lighters in the air these days – they shine the lights on their phones, which ends up in a particularly lovely spectacle at larger shows. And fans and musicians alike have embraced technology to add a little something extra to proceedings.
Meanwhile, these rockers are booing at phones, whining about gig talkers, tutting at Spotify and crying over torrents. Notice how 99% of rappers have learned to live with and utilise all these things and still doing very nicely for themselves?
Fact is, rock music is in serious danger of becoming something like classical music, bogged down by pointless rules (‘No autotune here! We play real instruments!’ etc) and stuffiness. The reason that the atmosphere is leaving the shows of a lot of larger artists is because, sadly for them, they have become incredibly boring and haven’t moved forward or, indeed, moved anywhere from where they first started.
Next time someone is talking at a gig or messing around on their phones, just consider this – it is the artist’s job to engage them or drown them out, and as such, they’re the one you should blame.