JACK WHITE HAS described John Peel, who died 10 years ago on October 25, 2004, as “the most important DJ who has ever lived” and believes that his life would have taken a different course if the maverick BBC radio DJ hadn’t been so supportive of The White Stripes in their early days.
“John Peel really knew what good music was.”
“It was mind-boggling to us, because we thought the only people who liked us were a few hundred people in America,” he explains in an exclusive interview in the latest issue of MOJO. “When he started playing our songs we were, like, ‘That’s unbelievable!’”
White recalls how he first met the DJ when The White Stripes were invited to record a Peel Session during the duo’s first visit to the UK in July 2001. “When I walked into [the studio] I saw him in the hallway, crying,” he tells MOJO’s Pat Gilbert. “It was because his football team had just won! I thought, ‘This guy’s amazing.’”
The two men immediately bonded over their shared love for Gene Vincent, Captain Beefheart and old blues records, and The White Stripes were invited to record another session at Peel's home in Suffolk just four months later. “Having us in his home showed just how much he loved music,” says White, who flew from America to attend the DJ’s funeral on November 12, 2004. “He really knew what good music was.”
White also reveals that, as a parting gift at ‘Peel Acres’, the DJ gave him a copy of the Sex Pistols’ über-rare God Save The Queen on A&M.
Read the full story in MOJO 252 (November issue), available from Tuesday September 30.
PHOTO: Rex Features