Originally created 03/27/04

White Stripes frontman Jack White branches



DETROIT -- A whirlwind of court dates, award shows and tabloid rumors aren't slowing down Jack White.

The White Stripes frontman has recently been producing Loretta Lynn's upcoming album, filming scenes for a Jim Jarmusch movie and writing songs for a new Stripes disc. He even joined Bob Dylan, one of his idols, on stage last week in Detroit.

The flurry of activity comes after a trying three-month period in which White was prosecuted for repeatedly punching a fellow rocker in the face at a concert. On March 9 he pleaded guilty to assault and battery for a December fight with Von Bondies lead singer Jason Stollsteimer.

White, who will avoid jail time under the plea deal, says he regrets the incident and has put it behind him. Now he's focusing on what he does best: writing, producing and arranging music. He's also dabbling in acting, including appearances in last year's "Cold Mountain" and Jarmusch's upcoming "Coffee and Cigarettes."

"I think making a film is probably the hardest art form in the world," he told The Associated Press in an interview this week. "It's so difficult to make a good film. ... If you're making a movie and it's kind of turning out bad, there's no stopping. If I write an album and record a few songs and it's just not sounding good, I can just start over again."

It was on the set of "Cold Mountain" that White met Oscar-winning actress Renee Zellweger. The pair's romance is regular tabloid fodder.

White also is spending significant time with the two other women in his life, bandmate Meg White and Lynn, whose album was written by the country legend and recorded under White's supervision over a two-week period in Nashville, Tenn.

White has long been an admirer of Lynn's. He dedicated the White Stripes' breakthrough disc, 2001's "White Blood Cells," to her.

Lynn's manager told her about it, and she wrote White a letter thanking him for the dedication and for the Stripes' cover of the Lynn song "Rated X." They eventually became friends and even performed three songs together in 2003 at New York show.

When Lynn decided to record a new album, White "humbly put my name out to produce it and somehow they let me do it."

White played guitar and piano on the album and did a duet with Lynn on "Portland, Oregon."

"Loretta just sang like a 21-year-old. It was amazing," he said of the record due to be released at the end of April. "I'm so proud of this, because it's the first album since her very first record where all the songs are written by her. ... It's Loretta like I've always wanted to hear her - Loretta like she should be heard. It really turned out perfect."

As for the White Stripes, Jack and Meg are taking a breather after years of near-nonstop touring.

They came together on Grammy night for an adrenaline-fueled performance of "Seven Nation Army," which was honored as best rock song. The Stripes also picked up the award for best alternative album for "Elephant."

And last week, White fulfilled a dream by taking the stage with Dylan. White grew up in Detroit listening to the iconic folk rocker and recording Dylan covers using a four-track machine left by his older brothers.

White and Dylan performed "Ball and Biscuit," a track off "Elephant."

"There's no topping that," White said. "I can go on for an hour-and-a-half talking about it, or I can just say: It was splendid."

On the Net:

White Stripes: http://www.whitestripes.com

Loretta Lynn: http://www.lorettalynn.com

"Coffee and Cigarettes": http://www.coffeeandcigarettesmovie.com