The Dead Weather — known primarily as Jack White’s new band but actually something of an all-star group — came about as “a total accident ... mostly being drunk after a tour,” according to singer Alison Mosshart.
The quartet came together in late September/early October last year. Mosshart’s Kills were opening for White’s Raconteurs, and she filled in for White on a couple of songs when he lost his voice. Intrigued, Detroit native White, who plays drums in The Dead Weather, assembled Mosshart, Raconteurs bassist “Little” Jack Lawrence (who also plays in The Greenhornes and Detroit’s Blanche) and fellow Detroiter Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age at his studio in Nashville, Tenn. for an impromptu session that produced a couple of songs, including a cover of Gary Numan’s “Are Friends Electric?”
“It felt really good,” recalls guitarist and keyboardist Fertita, a onetime Raconteurs sideman who led Detroit’s Waxwings and still resides in Ferndale. “Everyone was feeling inspired and wanted to keep it going. We just decided to see what it was going to be and loved the songs we were getting, so we just let it happen.”
The result is “Horehound,” Dead Weather’s debut album, which came out July 14. The group will be spending much of the year on the road, even as the individual members work on future projects for their other concerns — including White with the White Stripes. Fertita has also recorded a solo album, “Hello Fire,” that he’ll release later this year. Dead Weather, meanwhile, has continued recording, and Fertita anticipates it will be a going concern alongside everyone’s other commitments.
“We still feel very much in the creative mode. We don’t feel like we’re ready to stop,” says Fertita, 38. “There’s was no stopping the process of this thing. Nobody got in the way of anything or felt like, ‘Oh, maybe this is something I should save for The Kills’ or ‘This would be a good thing to bring into Queens next time we record’ or whatever.
“One of the things I really loved the most (about Dead Weather) was what a free atmosphere it was and that everybody was just willing to give what they were feeling that day. We just said, ‘Here, let’s see what we can do with everything we have right now.’ That’s the best way to make music.”
The Dead Weather and Screaming Females perform at 8 p.m. Friday (July 24) at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Tickets are $20, $29.50 and $39.50, with a $60 balcony four-pack. Call (313) 961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.
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