On Sunday, Jack White closed out the Bunbury Music Festival along Cincinnati’s riverfront with a rousing, well-received set that included his solo material as well as songs by The White Stripes and The Raconteurs. But before closing out Bunbury, White made a stop at the former site of King Records, the historically crucial music institution that was based in Evanston.
White was presented with the key to the city by Mayor John Cranley, and King-affiliated music greats Bootsy Collins, Otis Williams and Philip Paul were also in attendance.
The city of Cincinnati recently worked out a deal to acquire the King Records site in order to preserve and celebrate the label’s history. Potential plans for the site — the preservation of which was also supported by the Evanston Community Council — include incorporating a recording studio and educational opportunities. On Twitter, Cincinnati Public Schools board member Mike Moroski — who was also present at the ceremony— wrote, “Jack loved our history, and we hope to keep him involved in the rebirth of King!”
At Bunbury, White shouted out King during his set, saying, “Read about it. Learn about it. King Records. It’s the legacy of your hometown.”
"Jack White has been an unfailing supporter of King Records," Cranley said. "Jack has actually covered Little Willie John's song, "I'm Shakin'," which on the original recording our own Philip Paul played the drums, and he recently wore a King Records shirt in a cover story for Q Magazine."
On Facebook, Elliott Ruther of the Cincinnati Music Heritage Foundation (who posted a video clip of White's King shout-out) wrote, “The ‘band’ will keep growing as we properly celebrate and embrace our King Records legacy. What an honor to stand at the King site freshly rescued by, and for, the people of Cincinnati thanks to a united city hall, King Records legends and community leaders. While in some ways this photo was decades in the making, it’s amazing what can come together within 24 hours. Our Mayor and leaders have been incredible.” (See more photos from the visit below.)
The Original Drummer at King Records kicks it with Jack White! Mr. Phillip Paul, he continues to play at 85 years young. Share love with him. Thxs also to Otis Williams another Original, Ms. Adkins @JohnCranley @mike_moroski @voteSmitherman #King-Restoration pic.twitter.com/FgIj8t80av— Bootsy Collins (@Bootsy_Collins) June 4, 2018
Special day giving #JackWhite a key to the city at the original King Records building, which the city now owns. Joined by King musicians Otis Williams, Philip Paul, @Bootsy_Collins , and Evanston leader Ms. Anzora Adkins. We are working on major plans to restore King! pic.twitter.com/6Exp5sIZzP— John Cranley (@JohnCranley) June 4, 2018