White Stripes Update: The Air Force & Ad’s Composer Respond

The Air Force has responded to The White Stripes’ accusation that it ripped off the duo’s “Fell In Love With A Girl” in an ad aired during the Super Bowl – but the military body is not saying sorry. On the other hand, the ad’s composer has issued an apology to Jack and Meg.

Yesterday Third Man Records posted a statement from the Stripes on the band’s Web site, explaining that the rockers believe the Reserve re-recorded “Fell In Love With A Girl” and aired it without obtaining a license. Jack and Meg threatened “to take strong action to stop the ad.”

The Stripes posted the original song and a link to the commercial for a side-by-side comparison but the commercial was later removed from the Reserve’s Web site.

Later in the day, the Reserve released the following statement:

“In response to the claims being made today regarding the Air Force Reserve regional ad that aired in select markets during the Super Bowl, the Air Force Reserve, through its advertising agency, hired Fast Forward Music of Salt Lake City to score original music for its commercial. There was never any intention to utilize any existing music or to sound like any music by the band White Stripes or any other musical performer. Any similarity or likeness to any other music is completely unintentional.”

Photo: Chris McKay

Michael Speciale, a media representative for Blaine Warren Advertising, the agency that produced the ad, told the New York Times the commercial was shown in about 10 local markets during the Super Bowl including San Francisco, Las Vegas and Dallas. The ad was scheduled to be pulled after the big game.

Kem Kraft, a freelance musician based in Salt Lake City, told the Times he was the guy hired by Fast Forward Productions to score the commercial.

“I’m sorry it sounds the same. It wasn’t my intention, truly, truly, truly,” Kraft said.

Kraft explained that he gave the ad’s producers three different musical tracks. After they selected one, the producers requested he make changes to “beef it up, make the drums stronger and put on an echo guitar.”

The musician said that he’s willing to talk things over with the Stripes, saying if the band “want to call me and talk to me, as far as I’m concerned, I’m responsible for this. Just me.
“I’m pretty much a one-man band here. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Air Force. They didn’t know anything, and I didn’t know anything either.”

Mike Lee, the owner of Fast Forward Productions, told the Times he had never heard “Fell In Love With A Girl,” which hails from the Stripes’ third album, 2001’s White Blood Cells.

“I wasn’t familiar with the White Stripes song. I’ve heard of the White Stripes but I’m not a listener of theirs. I had no idea there was similarity until after the fact.”

Posted below is the Stripes’ entire original statement:

“We believe our song was re-recorded and used without permission of the White Stripes, our publishers, label or management. “The White Stripes take strong insult and objection to the Air Force Reserve presenting this advertisement with the implication that we licensed one of our songs to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support.

“The White Stripes support this nation’s military, at home and during times when our country needs and depends on them. We simply don’t want to be a cog in the wheel of the current conflict, and hope for a safe and speedy return home for our troops.

“We have not licensed this song to the Air Force Reserve and plan to take strong action to stop the ad containing this music.”

Click here and here for the New York Times’ articles. 

Click here for the White Stripes’ website.

Click here for the Air Force Reserve’s site.