In a new interview with the UK’s Channel 4, the Third Man rocker revealed that he’s “never owned” a cellphone. “For someone like me, who is one of the few who doesn’t own a cellphone, it is pretty funny to walk down the street and see everyone doing this,” he commented.
“I’ve never owned one, so when I’m out there I’m an anomaly and I’m looking at everybody. To me, everybody looks silly,” White continued. “And then you’re like, ‘Whatever, it’s their lives’. Who knows? Maybe this is the way everything is going to be from now on. I have no idea and nobody really does. Maybe it’ll turn to implants. Probably it’ll turn into a microchip behind our eyeball or whatever.”
For his part, White has taken a proactive approach in prohibiting the use of cell phones at his own live performances. He was one of the first musicians to embrace Yondr’s phone-storing pouches, requiring attendees of his concerts to surrender their phones before entering the venue.
“I thought it was a big art project at first, just to see if people would think if it was funny, or cool, or just a new experience, like an escape room.” He continued, “To my surprise, and to everyone else’s surprise, everyone loved it. We’ve been doing it now for over a year so it’s been shocking how much people love it.”
On the other hand, White added, “It brings up these real big questions like, ‘So you need someone to tell you that you can’t use it to actually not use it?’ How sad, that’s pretty sad. Again, coming from someone who isn’t part of it, it’s easy for me to say because I don’t have that addiction.”
White went on to liken society’s infatuation with technology as akin to other forms of addiction, such as alcoholism. “If you can’t choose to stop drinking for a day, it’s got that much of a hold on you, that’s a sad thing. So the same thing with that, if you can’t just put that down for an hour and experience life in a real way, that’s sad. And it’s maybe even sadder that you had to be told to do it. That you didn’t naturally want to do it on your own.”
Watch White’s full remarks below. Starting next month, his band The Raconteurs will embark on an extensive US tour in support of their new album, Help Us Stranger. Get tickets here, and experience the joy of live music without a glowing screen obscuring your view.
“If you can’t just put that [mobile phone] down for an hour and experience life in a real way, that’s sad.”
Musician Jack White talks about why he doesn’t own a mobile phone and why he’s banned mobiles from his concerts, in the latest Ways to Change the World podcast. pic.twitter.com/hFkSQI9hTr
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) June 19, 2019