Most bands formed by siblings lead to disaster. The Jackson Five is an example of a music group that had the world in shock when they announced their split in the seventies. Michael and his brothers were the golden boys of TV and radio, but then an unexpected twist made them leave the spotlight. Due to the pressure from Motown Records and their father, the guys realized they no longer enjoyed making music together. And from there, the rest is history.
Unlike the Jackson Five, The White Stripes, the duo made up by Meg and Jack White, seemed to be working wonderfully. The band has an uncanny connection that most groups could only dream of having. It was seen as obvious that from a family of ten siblings, two got along so well, to the point where they could collaborate and write music together.
Each song was created in such a seamless manner that both had the time to choose the colors the public should identify them with: red and white. Their sound was louder than what was coming from bands having up to four or five members. It hypnotized the audience by making them connect with the musicians’ energy.
But even in that moment of music ecstasy, there was something that puzzled people. Each time the two artists would look at each other, a particular force would be sensed. As if there was something stronger than blood that brought them together. This was even more obvious in videos for the songs Icky Thump and You Don’t Know What Love Is.
Rumors started to swirls regarding the nature of their relationship, including those that claimed there was an incestuous situation going on. The focus had ceased to be on Jack’s raucous guitar or Meg’s furious drumming. Suddenly it was all about their personal lives.
The gossip stopped when bigger news came out: they’re not siblings. The Detroit Free Press released a series of documents from 1996 which presented the marriage between Megan Martha White and John Anthony Gillis, who took his wife’s last name and turned into Jack White. Amidst all this, there was also a divorce certificate from 2000. This means that when they presented their self-titled debut album, both of them were still married. By the time De Stijl came out, their union had ended.
The reason why they kept their marriage a secret behind the myth of their brother-sister relationship is simple: they wanted people to value the music they did instead of focusing on their relationship. Even after their official romantic split, the duo was able to continue making music, until the whole ruse backfired on them when they announced in 2011 that they would no longer use the name that led them to fame.
Another story of a band, that came from a family connection, gone bad.
Translated by María Suárez