Stripes ready to rock

By Scott Kara

Jack White's voice is "doing a lot better", thanks. The frontman for the White Stripes, who headline the Big Day Out today, had a laryngitis scare two weeks ago, forcing the band to cancel dates in Japan.

But the quietly spoken White says he's fighting fit and, yes, ready to rock.

We were the first country in the world to fall in love with this colour-coordinated garage rock duo from Detroit. And you know what? "We love you too," smiles drummer Meg White.

The pair were at Stebbings Recording Studios in Herne Bay rehearsing for their six-date Australasian Big Day Out tour, which kicks off in Auckland. Ever since playing in Auckland for the first time in October 2000, at a tiny venue called Pizza Pizza and two gigs at the King's Arms Tavern, they've loved it.

"It was great the first time we came out, and the Big Day Out we did last time [in 2002] was probably the most enjoyable tour we'd ever done because we got to have some days off," says Jack.

In 2002, they played on one of the smaller Big Day Out stages to a modest crowd. This year they are headlining the one-day festival at Ericsson Stadium.

They play after fellow Detroit legends Iggy and the Stooges, who were a big influence on the White Stripes.

"It's impossible for the Stooges not to be an influence," says Jack. "That's the dictionary definition of the sound of that area."

And Jack and Meg aren't intimidated by the legacy of Iggy.

"He was telling us it's better that we take the heat and go on afterwards, and I think that's better for the Stooges too, because then they get to shine."

* If you can't make it to today's Big Day Out, follow the festival online with Megan Gibb's Big Day Blog from 11am at nzherald.co.nz/bigdayout.

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