Third Man Records announces ‘The White Stripes XX’

Vault Package 42 is available through October 31st

Third Man Records has unveiled that The White Stripes XX, a 20th anniversary accompaniment to their self-titled debut album, is the subject of Vault Package #42. The package includes previously unheard outtakes from the LP’s recording sessions, the Live At The Ritz – Raleigh, NC – 09/26/99 LP, a DVD containing performance footage from two Michigan performances that year, a 24 page archival booklet featuring never-before-seen photos, lyrics, flyers and other insights, all housed in a hard-cover hinged case. Fans who sign up for the Vault Package through October 31st at 12 am CST will receive the set.

1999 was a pivotal year for the White Stripes. From recording their first album through rumors of the band’s demise and embarking on their first-ever tour, the band worked extremely hard and was fortunate to see small but incremental gains from their efforts. Third Man Records is humbled to explore the depths of the band, their self-titled album and the entirety of their 1999 for their 42nd Vault package, The White Stripes XX.

With only a handful of days spent recording in the cold, amenity-free studio in a Detroit January, it is of legitimate surprise the bounty of previously forgotten alternate takes and unreleased tracks that exist from said sessions. At a time when every last inch of tape meant dollars spent, the fact that anything extraneous was saved is not just remarkable, but a windfall for fans two decades later. While acolytes have previously heard “Dead Leaves” and “Let’s Build a Home” on a 7-inch single as part of Vault package 11 from 2012 (both included here), they have not heard the acoustic demo of “Dead Leaves”, the alternate takes of “Jimmy the Exploder” or “I Fought Piranhas” or “Wasting My Time.” The explosive take on Burt Bacharach’s (via Arthur Lee and Love) “Little Red Book” busts the game wide open to the point of confusion, begging the question… how was something this amazing left off the album? The version of “Screwdriver” as released originally back in 1999 was recorded at Jack White’s domicile at 1203 Ferdinand in Southwest Detroit, while here we’ve uncovered the totally-different-vibe version done in the studio setting. Alternate takes of “Sugar Never Tasted So Good”? There’s two of ’em. Multiple stabs at “Why Can’t You Be Nicer to Me?” fit in here nicely, though the tune was momentarily shelved before being reinvigorated and re-recorded for the band’s De Stijl nearly a year later.

The tracks collected here present the listener with an alternate reality version of how — after a few non-aberrant turns and divergent creative paths — the White Stripes self-titled album could exist in a completely different space. Newly mixed by Jack White at his Third Man Studios in Nashville, TN, this is the level of material that the Vault was specifically created to share.

Come September of 1999, the band was as surprised as anyone to have been invited to open three performances for indie rock favorites Pavement. Hitting respectable college towns in the South/East, the shows would find the Stripes in front of their largest crowds they’d encountered at that point in their career. A hyper-speed (read: nervous) version of the band’s set at the Recher Theater in Towson, Maryland has been shared in tape-trading circles for nearly 15 years, but it is the far-superior performance at the Ritz in Raleigh, North Carolina the following evening that finds Jack and Meg in top form. From the early workouts on fan-favorite covers like Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and Brendan Benson’s “Good to Me” through the off-the-cuff take on Earl King’s (via the Gories) “Trick Bag” and absolute bombastic runs of “Broken Bricks” and “The Big Three Killed My Baby” show highlights how quickly the band was to find their footing in front of unfamiliar audiences, and ultimately, win them over.

Additionally, Third Man has unearthed footage from two pivotal, game-changing live performances by the White Stripes in their hometown. The March 13th performance at Paycheck’s in Hamtramck is remarkable for many reasons: a crowd sang along to a White Stripes song for the first time (“Sugar Never Tasted So Good”), the band played their first-ever encore (“Slicker Drips”), and the group ultimately put to rest the conjecture that it would be their last-ever performance. The night was truly a watershed moment in the duo’s history.

Nearly two months later, their debut album is released and the May 30th performance celebrating its unveiling to the world is as equally groundbreaking and sublime. Highlights include the first public use of Jack’s soon-to-be-signature Airline Res-o-glass guitar, his first utilization of an ancillary, affected vocal microphone on stage, and the only known time Jack White licked a cartoonishly large faux peppermint while in the middle of a guitar solo.

Finally, the coup de grace: an exhaustive, insightful, 11.75″ x 11.75″ booklet containing the bevy of photos, flyers, lyrics, receipts, musings and anything/everything that, at the time, probably seemed just like garbage, but now, twenty years later, provides all kinds of context and clues into how this odd dyad from Southwest Detroit was well on their way to a path of rock and roll flag-waving.

This will be the last package (Vault 42) that the Vault subscription remains priced at $60 US/$70 CAN/$80 INTL. Beginning with Vault 43 (subscription window November 1st- January 31st, package TBA) quarterly subscriptions will be increased $5, meaning $65 US/$75 CAN/$85 INTL. Subscribers can lock in at the current price point by purchasing the new option of an annual subscription (available soon!). More details to come later this month and next.


Self-Titled Outtakes:

  1. Dead Leaves
  2. I Fought Piranhas
  3. Jimmy The Exploder
  4. Let’s Build a Home
  5. Little Red Book (Burt Bacharach)
  6. Screwdriver
  7. Slicker Drips
  8. Sugar Never Tasted So Good
  9. Wasting My Time
  10. Why Can’t You Be Nicer to Me?

Live at the Ritz 9/26/99 LP:

  1. Astro (partial)
  2. Jimmy the Exploder
  3. Do
  4. Sugar Never Tasted So Good
  5. Little People
  6. Broken Bricks
  7. Suzy Lee
  8. Let’s Build a Home
  9. Jolene (Dolly Parton)
  10. Good to Me (Brendan Benson cover)
  11. I’m Bored (Iggy Pop cover)
  12. The Big Three Killed My Baby
  13. Trick Bag (Earl King)
  14. Screwdriver

Live at Paycheck’s 3/13/99 DVD:

  1. Broken Bricks
  2. Let’s Shake Hands
  3. The Big Three Killed My Baby
  4. Do
  5. Jimmy the Exploder
  6. Wasting My Time
  7. Cannon – John the Revelator
  8. Screwdriver
  9. Astro
  10. Sugar Never Tasted So Good
  11. One More Cup of Coffee (Bob Dylan)
  12. Lafayette Blues
  13. Slicker Drips

Live at the Magic Stick 5/30/99 DVD

  1. I’m Bored (Iggy Pop)
  2. Broken Bricks
  3. The Big Three Killed My Baby
  4. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (Bacharach/David)
  5. Jimmy the Exploder
  6. St. James Infirmary (traditional)
  7. Astro
  8. Cannon – John the Revelator (traditional) – Grinnin In Your Face (Son House)
  9. Stop Breaking Down (Robert Johnson)
  10. The Same Boy You’ve Always Known
  11. Wasting My Time
  12. When I Hear My Name
  13. Lafayette Blues
  14. Sugar Never Tasted So Good
  15. Let’s Shake Hands

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.