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Jack White covers song penned by Al Capone on new LP

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Photo by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Jack White revealed in a new Rolling Stone cover story that a song on his new solo album Boarding House Reach is a cover of a musical piece written by legendary gangster Al Capone. White purchased a musical manuscript that was penned by Capone while the infamous crime boss was imprisoned in Alcatraz in the 1920s.

The song, called “Humoresque,” is a version of a piece by Czech composer Antonin Dvorák that was reworked by Capone. It features the line, “You thrill and fill this heart of mine / With gladness like a soothing symphony.” White was moved by the idea that a gangster was inspired by such “a gentle, beautiful song,” saying, “Human beings are complicated creatures with lots of emotions going on.”

White also acknowledged playing Eddie Van Halen’s new signature guitar on the new LP, saying he was inspired to try it after Van Halen said he wanted to design an instrument that “doesn’t fight me.”

White explained a while back that he has approached playing his guitar the exact opposite way: “I try to make it a fight. I consider it a fight, a battle, that you have to win. If you’re handed an instrument or you find yourself playing an instrument that’s too easy to play, that’s too nice and too in tune, I want to, you know, turn it upside down and make it out of tune so I can win that fight. I have to make a fight out of it. If I don’t have a struggle, then I don’t feel like I’m doing my job.”

Boarding House Reach also marks the first time White has used computer software to assemble tracks, after comedian Chris Rock told him that “nobody cares” how music is made.

The disc is due out March 23rd and follows up 2014’s Lazaretto. White kicks off a North American tour on April 19th in Detroit.

Story source: Rolling Stone

FAST FACTS:

Al Capone was an American mobster, crime boss, and businessman who attained notoriety during the Prohibition era as the co-founder and boss of the Chicago Outfit.

Born in Brooklyn, he moved to Chicago in his early 20s and rose up in the city’s underworld by expanding bootlegging during Prohibition and fostering corrupt relationships with the city’s mayor and police force.

His seven-year reign as crime boss ended when he was 33. He was prosecuted in 1931 by federal authorities for tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in jail. He died in January 1947 of cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke.