Jack White. During the course of the interview, White expressed his frustration with Guinness World Records. One would assume that White, with his many endeavors to perpetually out-do his own strangeness, must have broken a record along the way, but apparently not.
Back in July 2007, the White Stripes gave a performance that consisted of exactly one note in Newfoundland, Canada. The show, he said, lasted only a millisecond. Afterwards, White tried to have the event certified by Guinness World Records as the shortest concert in history.
"Ultimately they turned us down," White told Aldrin, calling the Guinness organizers "elitist" and their decision arbitrary.
"There's nothing scientific about what they do. They just have an office full of people who decide what is a record and what isn't. I mean, there is some stuff like Olympic records where they have a committee. But most of the records in there-who has the biggest collection of salt-and-pepper shakers or whatever-are just whatever they want them to be. So with something like the shortest concert of all time, they didn't think whatever we did was interesting enough to make it a record. I don't know why they get to decide that, but, you know, they own the book... Maybe this will help us get the word out."
Well, it seems that it did.
Guinness World Records have now explained their decision to NME. The White Stripes were, apparently, recognized for their accomplishment in a 2009 edition of the book. But then Guinness received a barrage of applications from other bands attempting to outdo the White Stripes. The organization realized that "the nature of competing to make something the 'shortest' by its very nature trivializes the activity being carried out," they told NME. They decided to do away with a range of "shortest" categories, including shortest song, shortest poem, and shortest concert. Also adding to the decision, they told NME, was how different interpretations of what constitutes a "concert" made the category hard to work with.
"Many of us at Guinness World Records are enormous admirers of Mr White's oeuvre," Guinness told NME. "We would be extremely pleased if he were to attempt any of the 40,000 records that are currently active on our database.