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Jack White boosts Bernie Sanders campaign at Cass Tech rally

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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ETROIT -- Jack White made an auspicious entry into the world of politics on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 27.

Though he told the crowd at Cass Technical High School, his alma mater, that he'd "never done a political rally before" and was "not politically affiliated," the Detroit musician and entrepreneur lent his support to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential bid with a 25-minute, six-song performance before the candidates' appearance.

"Bernie Sanders is telling the truth, and I really do trust him," the Grammy Award-winning White, performing just blocks away from his Third Man Records and Third Man Pressing businesses in the Cass Corridor, told the crowd in the Cass Tech gymnasium. He added that he was particularly engaged by Sanders' position to abolish the Electoral College -- "the reason," White said, "we're in the mess we're in now."

He took another swipe at President Donald Trump during a version of Bob Dylan's "License to Kill," changing part of the lyric to "who's gonna take away Trump's license to kill?"

Sporting a green Cass Tech T-shirt and accompanied by regular bassist and fellow alumnus Dominic Miller and Third Man Records partner and longtime Dirtbombs drummer Ben Blackwell, White, 44, filled the rest of the set with carefully chosen solo and White Stripes favorites. He opened with "Corporation" and "Connected by Love" before moving into the Stripes' "Black Math" and sincerely cheerful "We're Going to Be Friends" before concluding with a gymnasium-shaking "Seven Nation Army." "God bless you, peace be with you all and good luck Bernie!" White said as the trio took its bows.

Sanders thanked White near the start of his speech, though noting that "I don't think he needs a welcome from me here."

White's set was preceded by performances by local rap act Passalacqua and Detroit R&B vocalist Supercoolwicked along with the high school's choir and marching band -- the latter of which received a $10,000 donation from Sanders and U.S. Rep. Rashida Talib, who also threw her support behind Sanders at the rally. Sanders and Talib both also paid tribute to longtime Detroit congressman John Conyers, who passed away Sunday afternoon.

White, who's been touring with his band the Raconteurs recently, will be back in town on Thursday, Oct. 30, joining Alice Cooper and retired Detroit Tigers star and broadcaster Kirk Gibson for a special event at Detroit's Shinola Hotel to benefit Gibson's Foundation for Parkinson's.

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