Raconteurs

raconteur /räˌkänˈtər/

noun | a person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way.

The Raconteurs released their latest album last month, Help Us Stranger, after going 11 years without recording new material. With fresh blues rock ballads in their repertoire, they are heading out on tour and making their first stops in Aspen at the Belly Up on the 4th and 5th of July.

Currently based in Nashville, Tenn., The Raconteurs became a concept back in the summer of 2005 when friends Jack White and Brendan Benson created a song in a hot attic. The song was “Steady, As She Goes” and the two musicians were truly inspired to turn the project into a band. They added Jack Lawrence on bass and Patrick Keeler on drums and, because of various members’ previous success with other bands, they were dubbed a supergroup. The Raconteurs dismissed this notion, however, believing that term implies an assembled and temporary band, preferring to be thought of as, “a new band made up of old friends.”

Between 2005 and 2008 the Raconteurs made two albums, won a Grammy and then went separate ways for over a decade. They thought they would start recording again sooner than they did, but each member had conflicting projects and felt the band would get back together when the time was right.

That time is now, and the Raconteurs’ new album is out, rocking vivacious riffs and memorable tunes, but that isn’t what most news outlets are talking about. The media is focused on Jack White who, after being asked why it had been so long since The Raconteurs had released new material, told the Irish Times, “Well, when Brendan gave up alcohol, I started doing heroin, so that delayed things.”

White went on to say that he felt things happen when they happen for a reason, and he didn’t think this album would have been as good if they made it a few years ago, but everybody focused on the heroin part. White, who doesn’t give many interviews and wouldn’t give me one, is notorious for hating the press. He cleared his name on social media shortly after the article was published with a long statement that started, “I’ve never done heroin or any other illegal drug in my life and anyone close to me could confirm this. If you’d actually read the article in full, you could see that I was joking.”

Jack White and his bands have always been an enigma to the media; they print his jokes but no one seems to understand them. In his social media statement, he went on to clear the air about a few other things on his mind. “Dear … trash “music” cough “journalism” sites: Though I realize that you work in the business of soundbites and clickbait, and that you’re pissed Third Man Records didn’t send you a free copy of the new Raconteurs album because of how nasty you regularly are, here’s a couple other notes: I don’t hate people who own cell phones, or never allow one near me, or hate ALL technology etc. Stop painting with such a wide brush. Just because I don’t own a cell phone in an attempt to lead a healthy life doesn’t mean I hate all technology. Though you’d love for me to be the luddite that provides you with cyber laughs ’til the electric cows come home, I hate to break that myth by stating that I listen to digital music, I drive an electric car, and I typed this boring response on my computer.”

Based on how Raconteur is defined, does the name suit this band?

John Zelazny didn’t get a free copy of the new Raconteurs album. He appreciates your comments at zelazny@aspendailynews.com.