“Ball and Biscuit” Spawns a Bad You Can’t Help but Love

How appropriate it is to post the first piece to Two Wheels and Tunes on a Tuesday!

Without further ado, I will break down The White Stripes’ Ball and Biscuit’s inspiration for me as a writer. Upon hearing the first few beats of this song, I felt it pierce my soul with all the grace of a twelve pound sledgehammer. I’m a sucker for the traditional 12-bar blues backbone this song fully commits to.  Amongst its foot tapping beat, Jack White also saw fit to give us a face full of broken glass in the form of heavily distorted guitar solos.  Ball and Biscuit almost instantly began forming the groundwork for a new character I have wanted to develop for some time.  My heart filled with grit, and a devious smile formed beneath ever so slightly squinted eyes.  The birth of a justified villain had begun.  You know the type.  Dysfunctional and just plain mean spirited because of a hard life’s beats, but somewhere deep, there is a glimmer of good.  A ball busting bad ass that could give a damn about anyone or anything around him until…

Now let’s delve into the song itself. If this didn’t make you want to grab a fist full of throttle, smash the gas pedal to the floor or just plain kick a little ass, you may want to take a second to see if you have a pulse.

“Ball and Biscuit” from the album Elephant, is the White Stripes longest studio recorded song at seven minutes and eighteen seconds.  Every time it has finished playing, I find myself wanting more.  This song was never produced as a single, but it quickly became a fan favorite.

Ball refers to cocaine, while Biscuit is another term for MDMA. The lyrics indicate a serious drug problem shared by an alleged Seventh Son and the woman he is courting.  “We’ll get clean together and I’ll find a soap box where I can shout it”, suggests that the two want to shed their debilitating drug habit, but are making the bold statement while they’re high as a kite.

The Seventh Son is actually an American folk legend stating a seventh son of a seventh son will be granted super powers. Perhaps this is the reason for such confidence in getting “clean”.  I found it extraordinarily interesting when my researching the song relinquished the fact that Jack White of the White Stripes is actually the seventh and final son in a family of ten children.

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