Love Letter To A Record: Pierce Brothers’ Jack Pierce On Jack White’s ‘Blunderbuss’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.

Pierce Brothers’ Jack Pierce On Jack White’s Blunderbuss

Dear Blunderbuss,

We haven’t spoken for a while. I’ve caught you on the street a couple of times, but haven’t said hello. I’d be scrolling through the iPhone or my CD collection and notice you; but wouldn’t press play. I’m glad we caught up the other day. It’s easy to forget the things that have shaped the people we are.

I remember when we first met. Only four years ago, my manager Dave introduced us after a diner party; he said we just had to meet. It didn’t take long and I was infatuated, but it was my first ever trip to Europe that we got to know each other so well. I was lucky to have you at that time. You got me excited to go for a run each day so we could spend time together, and I could study you while you told me stories of love and heartache.

‘Love Interruption’ was the first time we spoke. I remember being startled by the darkly humorous way you interpreted the effects that love can have on someone. It was a beautifully sad portrait of someone so deeply in love that they couldn’t see the unhealthy nature of the relationship.

“I want love to change my friends to enemies / Change my friends to enemies and show me how it’s all my fault.”

The way that this song lyrically stepped up toward the final chorus, yet remained simple and minimalistic inspired me a lot.

As we got to know each other I found a deep respect for the instrumentation used throughout the album. The Rhodes [piano] that introduces ‘Missing Pieces’ set up the whole album and was subsequently an idea that we took to the studio ourselves. I listened to this song many times while camping, and ultimately wrote a song about it named ‘Rhodes’.

We travelled a lot together, I remember. After I came back from Europe we continued to run together, giving me the right spur on as the cover of Little Willie John’s ‘I’m Shakin’. The swagger and style of this track always had me moving (shakin?).

It was through you that I took an interest in your family history. I looked at your siblings, and tried to get to know them better too. Your older siblings, from your father’s first families, The White Stripes and The Raconteurs (The Saboteurs in Australia), had some bangers that I must have missed coming up through high school. They were friends of friends, but we’d never been acquainted. They were complex characters and they led me in so many directions.

I became obsessed with your father Jack, and his process of romance with other artists. I wanted to fly over to see his studios and visit his hometown of Nashville.

I watched him in movies in which he spoke about relationships with old blues songs and guitars. He spoke about vinyl and it gave me an interest in new ideas of musical copulation I’d not yet imagined.

Blunderbuss, you were and are an inspiration to my musical process.

Hopefully one day I’ll create something like you.

With love and interruption,

Jack Pierce

Catch Pierce Brothers touring live with Tash Sultana this month, while their new EP A Tired Mind is out now.

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