(I have no doubt that I do not include everything. Jack list of accomplishments is extensive, therefore this post may change as I come across more info).
Let’s start at the beginning of this incredible man’s life. John Anthony Gillis was born July 9th, 1975 in Detroit Michigan. He is the youngest of 10 kids. He had a strict Catholic upbringing attending Catholic schools. His dad, Gorman Gillis worked as a Maintenance engineer at the Archdiocese of Detroit where his mother, Teresa was the Cardinal’s secretary. He planned on going to Seminary school and becoming a Priest until he found out he couldn’t take his drum set. Thank God for that.
He started playing music at the age of 6. In his late teens he got a job as an upholsterer. Upon discovery that a fellow employee was interested in starting up a band they decided to do just that. There was a small problem however, they both played the drums. Jack having always liked a challenge figured he would be the guitarist. The Upholsterer’s were born.
His first professional gig as a drummer was with Goober and the Peas.
After a handful of local bands he ventured on laying down some tracks on his own. He was dating a bartender named Meg White at the time and he asked her to play a couple of beats on the drums for him he wanted Meg to help him keep time while laying down the guitar track. The White Stripes were born.
“She played like a child” is how Jack describes Megs drumming. She had unbelievable rhythm and beat those drums with a child’s enthusiasm that knew no limitations, restrictions or technical knowledge of recording music. On September 21, 1996 Jack and Meg got married. Jack took Meg’s last name.
Publicly they presented themselves as brother and sister in the hope that this would keep the media focusing on their music and not on their relationship. It worked for several years until a reporter discovered the truth and of course informed the public. On March 24, 2000 they divorced. The White Stripes however did not break up. They played together until 2011. While still touring and recording with Meg, Jack formed a new band. Raconteurs were born.
While on tour with the Raconteurs Jack was experiencing vocal fatigue and asked the lead singer Allison Mossheart of the opening band The Kills to fill in on vocals for him. Something clicked between he and Allison. Jack went back to playing the drums and occasional guitar sharing lead vocals with Allison. The Dead Weather was born.
In 2011 after 10 years The White Stripes decided to call it quits. They didn’t dissolve the band because of differences personally or musically. This decision didn’t have anything to do with Jack’s other ventures either. As I understand it Jack wanted to end The White Stripes on a good note, pun intended. The White Stripes were not going to end up playing Casino’s performing ‘once upon a time’ hits because they hadn’t had a hit in years, or performing ‘oldies’ because they hadn’t recorded anything new in years.
Still with The Raconteurs and the Dead Weather, this year Jack released his first solo album Blunderbuss. For this album Jack put together an all-girl band, The Peacocks for some tracks and jams with a bunch of guys, Los Buzzards. He recently performed in New York for an American Express presentation of Unstaged produced by Gary Oldman. This past spring he moved to Nashville where he opened his production company and recording studio Third Man Records. He produced Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose for which he won a Grammy.He appears doing a duet with Loretta Portland Oregon and plays guitar on the track Family Album.He also recorded duets Wanda Jackson on an album he also produced. He produced Karen Ellison’s, Insane Clown Posse and Beck’s latest albums at Third Man Records also this year. He also wrote the theme song for the movie Quantum of Solace ‘Another Way To Die’ which he recorded with Alicia Keyes.
That is just his music career. He also had landed a role in the movie Cold Mountain acting alongside Nicole Kidman and Renee’ Zellwegar with whom he had a brief relationship after Meg and before Karen. He had a small part playing Elvis in the movie Walk Hard and was one of a string of celebrities in the documentary Coffee and Cigarettes where he and Meg do a segment titled Jack’s Tesla Coil. He was featured along with the legendary Jimmy Page of Led Zepplin and The Edge of U2 in the documentary It Might Get Loud. He and Meg put out a documentary called Under Great White Northern Lights (where fans get to see his new guitar named Rita, so named after Rita Hayworth which features her face on the backside) which follows their tour and mission to play every province in Canada which included several impromptu performances in places such as bowling alleys and pool halls, they even played for passengers on a bus. This documentary is also their final tour and features their final performance together. The White Stripes released another documentary Under the Black Pool Lights. Jack has 7 movie soundtracks credited to him including for the movie Cold Mountain. He has made appearances on Elvira Mistress of The Dark and American Pickers.
He is currently working on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp.