Jack White's New Song Was Inspired By Al Capone's Prison Band

April 13, 2018

Musicians will find inspiration in all sorts of places. They draw it from their own personal lives, or perhaps from how they view society. Or in Jack White's case, by the infamous gangster Al Capone.

While appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, White told the story about how his new song "Humoresque" was based on sheet music written by Al Capone during his time in Alcatraz. "I saw this auction that said 'handwritten sheet music by Al Capone in Alcatraz,'" White told Fallon. "I thought, 'What could that possibly be?' It said 'Humoresque' written on it, and I was like, 'Did he write a song in Alcatraz?' And the description said, 'He was in a band in Alcatraz. He convinced the warden to buy the music equipment. The band was called the Rock Islanders, and Machine Gun Kelly was the drummer in the band.'"

As it turns out that after taking Capone's sheet music into the studio for a recording session, an office worker informed them that the song they were playing was "Humoresques" by Antonín Dvorák. "So apparently Al Capone remembered it in prison and wrote it out by hand for his band to play," said White. "It's a beautiful song... for a murderer."

White and Fallon also traded stories about how the two of them were no so angellic altar boys in their youth. "Nothing's funnier than when you're not supposed to be laughing during mass," said White. "Remember when [the priest] would hold up the eucharist and you would ring the bell? So, we would fight over who would get to do it and then I thought it would be funny one time if I would just keep doing it really long. dalalalala"