So long-time White Stripes fans who attended the 4-night stand at the Bowery Ballroom in 2002 may remember sketchy peeps in white lab coats running around the building, filming something. As it was revealed later, it was footage being shot for a documentary entitled “Nobody Knows How to Talk to Children” shot/directed/edited by one George Roca.
The film only saw one public screening, at the 2004 Seattle Film Festival–despite the fact that the White Stripes did not give their approval to screen or distribute the film. A June 23, 2004 post on the White Stripes’ official site, the band made it known that they were extremely unhappy with the film, and that they had a signed contract from Roca that gave the band all rights to the footage.
According to an MTV News interview with Roca, after the band saw a rough cut of the footage, they extended positive words about the documentary–but only a short time later, the band released a live concert music video for “Black Math,” (below) which mirrored the style of the footage Roca had shown them, and the band cut off all communication.
“Black Math” (live) music video in black, white, and red.
I kinda forgot about the documentary, only hearing about it in passing–almost as it if never existed, gathering a myth of its own. I heard about a friend of a friend who had seen it, maybe, and said it was pretty cool, etc.
But it seems as though a few months ago someone had managed to get a copy of the documentary and upload some clips of it to the internet, and only recently did I become aware of it.
The footage is almost impossible to watch–it’s highly stylized…with blurry, high-contrast black, white, and red (natch) images filling up the screen, and the sound quality is abysmal. The interviews are hard to hear, captured in the middle of a myriad of backstage chatter–you can vaguely make out things like Jack talking about his –er– admiration for starlets like Kirsten Dunst and Cameron Diaz, and one moment where Meg accuses the director of trying to steal Jack’s soul. Strokes Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr. appear for a few brief moments in the clips, chatting and taking pictures with Meg and Jack.
Probably the most joy I got out of trying to watch it was trying to spy myself in the concert footage. Even though it’s pretty cool to see footage of the White Stripes “back when.” the clips are pretty mundane, and I cannot stress enough how HORRIBLE the sound quality is–(seriously, a documentary about a musical group as great as the Stripes deserves better sound than this!) I can see why the Stripes put a kibosh to the film’s release.
For fans who are not deterred by the aforementioned technical hurdles of the clips, I’m sure you’ll be crafty enough to find the footage–it’s not that hard. I’m going to refrain from linking to them directly for obvious reasons, and I ask you to refrain from posting the links to the video in the comments as well.
Here are pictures I took at 3 of the 4 shows (couldn’t go to the Sunday show… had school work! Sold my PAIR OF TICKETS to some random person on the Ryan Adams message boards for FACE VALUE–ah, the pre-Craigslist days. Hilarious). Go ahead, try to figure out if I’m any of those blurry people in the footage, I sure couldn’t! April 5, April 6, April 8
Thanks for the heads–you know who you are.