Rough Raconteurs Reunion Show Left Them ‘Exhilarated’
Jack White and Brendan Benson of the Raconteurs admitted they couldn’t pinpoint when the band got back together – but recalled that their first show in eight years had been a “rough” affair that nevertheless left them feeling “exhilarated.”
White, Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler hit the stage together in April to mark the the 10th anniversary of White’s label Third Man Records. They later confirmed a North American tour to promote their new album, Help Us Stranger, which is released on June 21.
The reunion appears to have been fueled by White’s creation of the song “Shine the Light on Me,” which he felt didn’t work with any other project he had and sounded like a Racounteurs track. “Just the mention of it – The Raconteurs – jolted me a bit,” Benson told Billboard in a new interview. “And then a couple years passed.”
White remembered taking “baby steps” towards any kind of reunion, and also that a full album had never been part of the plan. “The first step for any act in that position would be to have some kind of meeting with a manager and plan out your whole year, like, ‘Hey, we’re going to make an album and tour and start booking festival dates,’ and you haven’t even recorded a song yet,” he reported. “You could very easily fall into those traps in the music business if you’re not careful. So we just got together a couple times and said, ‘Let’s see what happens.’ … but the songs came out really fast and that was a great sign.”
With the new LP in the can, the band regrouped for the Third Man show. “It was a little rough,” Benson said, noting that it was also the first time he’d performed sober in the group. “But it felt good. It was just one of those moments where afterward, we were all very exhilarated and stoked about the future.” That led to more shows and then the North American tour. “We don’t sit around and discuss a plan; we just roll with it,” he added. “We just do what we do – for better or for worse.”