Jack White threw some musical muscle -- at high volume -- behind U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 27) in White's home town of Detroit.
Telling the crowd in the gymnasium of Cass Technical High School, his alma mater, that he'd "never done a political rally before" and was not particularly affiliated, White noted during his 25-minute, six-song performance that "when the issues come up I try to listen." "Bernie Sanders is telling the truth, and I really do trust him," he told the gathering, adding that he was particularly drawn in by Sanders' position to abolish the Electoral College -- "the reason we're in the mess we're in now."
"I have this silly notion that the person who gets the most votes should be elected," White said. He took another swipe at President Donald Trump during his version of Bob Dylan’s' "License to Kill," tweaking one of lines to "who's gonna take away Trump's license to kill?"
Playing just a few blocks from his Third Man Records store and Third Man Pressing plant, White sported a Cass Tech T-shirt and was joined by regular bassist and fellow alumnus Dominic Miller and Third Man Records partner and longtime Dirtbombs drummer Ben Blackwell. The rest of the set mixed carefully chosen White solo and White Stripes favorites, starting with "Corporation" and "Connected by Love" along with the Stripes' "Black Math" and "We're Going to Be Friends" before concluding with a gymnasium-shaking "Seven Nation Army."
"God bless you, peace be with you all and good luck Bernie!" White said as the trio took its bows.
Sanders, meanwhile, thanked White near the start of his speech. The candidate noted that "I don't think he needs a welcome from me here."
The rally also included musical performances by local rap act Passalacqua and R&B vocalist Supercoolwicked along with the high school's chair and marching band -- the latter of which received a $10,000 donation from Sanders and U.S. Rep. Rashida Talib, who also threw her support behind Sanders at the rally. Both Sanders and Talib paid tribute to longtime Detroit congressman John Conyers, who passed away Sunday afternoon.
The rally performance was one of two special hometown appearances this week for White, who's been touring recently with the Raconteurs. On Oct. 30 he'll join Alice Cooper and retired baseball star Kirk Gibson at a special event at Detroit's Shinola Hotel to benefit Gibson's Foundation for Parkinson's.