Over the last two years, Jack White‘s Third Man Records has marked the 20th anniversary of the first two White Stripes albums — 1999’s self-titled and 2000’s De Stijl — with special expanded packages. As TMR co-founder Ben Blackwell tells ABC Audio, you can expect that trend to continue in 2021 for 2001’s White Blood Cells.
“I don’t think it’ll be any surprise to anyone,” Blackwell says of a 20th anniversary White Blood Cells release. “We did the first album, the 20th anniversary, in 2019, we did De Stijl in 2020. So 2021, we’ve telegraphed this one a long ways ago.”
That yearly streak, however, will end in 2022, since the next White Stripes record, 2003’s “Seven Nation Army”-boasting Elephant, won’t turn 20 until 2023. But TMR still has plans for 2022.
“What are we gonna do in 2022? We got a year where there was no major album released, what do you think is gonna happen?” Blackwell muses. “It’s not obvious, no one will guess.”
In addition to the 20th anniversary packages, Third Man released a White Stripes Greatest Hits compilation at the end of 2020. The label has also uploaded tons of archival live footage over the years. Blackwell assures that there’s plenty more where that came from.
“Sometimes, people are asking me, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, should we slow down? We don’t wanna put everything out there,'” Blackwell says.
“Like, it would take so long to put everything out there, guys,” he laughs. “We got a minute.”
In deciding what to release, Blackwell looks at how artists including Pearl Jam, Neil Young and Bob Dylan have handled their archives. Overall, though, he has one main goal.
“I never want to look back and say, ‘Gah, we should’ve released more,'” he says.
By Josh Johnson
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