Hang on to yer hats gang. White Mystery is probably coming to a neighborhood near you, and even if they aren’t; it’s well worth the road trip to catch this group at whatever venue that happens to be close. I can say with the utmost assurance that if you go see this band and do not become completely immersed into a full tilt, adrenaline overload, fuzz drenched frenzy, then you’re probably dead.
White Mystery on full tilt adrenaline overload
(Photo by Cveckian)
I don’t even remember how I came to hear about this band. It was about a month or so ago and I had gotten a hold of their self titled album. I played it and immediately fell in love with the garage rock blast coming out of the speakers. Imagine The Velvet Underground if Mo Tucker had taken over the lead vocal chores, and Russell Quan (The Mummies) was sitting in on drums while simultaneously having a skin bashing battle with a neanderthal. It is that primal.

This drummer, Francis Scott Key White could make Scott Asheton cry. And Alex White‘s fuzz crunch guitar riffs had me thinking I was lost in 1966.

This past weekend I was able to catch the band in Iowa City at the legendary Gabe’s. As I first met the sibling duo, I was struck by their soft spoken demeanor. Alex White posseses a girl next door cuteness, disarming charm, and easy likability; and Francis is the living definition of laid back coolness. But when they get behind their instruments they unleash a sonic tidal wave.
Their sound and energy has the intensity of a military assault laying all the posers to waste, while channeling the MC5 from the Grande Ballroom days, and mixing it with the twist and stomp of The Cramps. Alex’s chuncking, buzz saw guitar riffage makes it worth getting out of bed in the morning. And as for the drums, I’ve seen guys with real elaborate kits that do not even come close to laying down the primal thud like Francis. Truly devastating rock n’ roll.
Alex And Francis were kind and gracious enough to sit down for some quick questions before the show:
So you guys were born and raised in Chicago?
Alex: Yes
Alex White (Photo by CVEckian)
What music did you grow up listening to?

Alex: The Rolling Stones and the Who.

Francis: Devo
When did you guys start playing together as White Mystery?

Alex: April 20th, 2008.

What was the motivation behind you forming the band together?

Alex: We found an Airheads candy wrapper that said White Mystery out of control, and we knew that we were destined to fulfill that prophecy.

When was it that you decided that this is what you wanted to do, play in a band?

Alex: Did you look at our Wikipedia page before this?

I think I kinda wish I had, but no.

Alex: Well we’ve been playing together since we were little children. We’re brother and sister. It’s what we do, so it’s been a lifelong musical partnership.

(To Francis) That your take as well?

Francis: Yep.

Who is your biggest influence on guitar?

Alex: Poison Ivy from The Cramps.

And for you on drums?

Francis: Bill Ward from Black Sabbath.

Dynamite comes in small packages.
(Photo by CVEckian)

I love your guitar sound. What kind of distortion do you use?

Alex: Big Muff Pi through an Orange amp. (The guitar she plays is a Rickenbacker 330 Fireglo.)

What do you guys think about the state of underground music in Chicago, or actually the Midwest as a whole?

Alex: We’re really lucky to be surrounded by a lot of really amazing DIY rock ‘n ‘ roll bands, especially out of Chicago/Milwaukee. This is our third time in a year coming to Iowa City and there’s a great scene here, we love it.

Francis: Yeah, we go to the same shows and enjoy the same bands, have a lotta the same friends, so there’s a lotta very good, healthy competition among bands in the surrounding areas.

So this tour is the biggest one that you’ve done so far?

Francis: Yeah, it’ll be two months.

Alex: 70 shows in 2 months starting tonight in Iowa City.

Where do you go next?

Alex: ( At this point Alex listed every one of the shows on their current tour from memory. All but the last one which Francis helped her out on. Go here for a list of the tour and be impressed by this girl’s mind.)

Ok, so any new records on the way?

Alex: We put a new record out every 4/20, it’s our band anniversary and when put out our records, and so this year we have a record coming out that just debuted on…our new song just came out on MTV today. So if you go to MTV you’ll get a taste of the new record out on 4/20. We have a circus that we organized in New York on April 20th, there will be trapeze artists, ventriloquists, and rock n’ roll bands.

Wow. Sounds like fun. I should try to go. Ok. Last question. How would you classify the music you play?

Alex: Heavy trash rock n roll.

Francis: Ditto (laughing).

Alex: Please visit our website at

Anything else you would like to say?

Alex: Check out our music videos, we love doing music videos. We have a lot of them. We have a “Birthday” video that was a top 5 video at MTV. It’s a pleasure to be here and we appreciate you taking an interest in us.

Francis: R-O-C-K in the USA!

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, it was a real pleasure.

Ok. So now you really don’t have any excuses. They’re cool, they’re smart, and they kick ass. You miss this and your missing out on a lot. So check out White Mystery and form a new obsession. It’s worth it.

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