How to Watch Jack White’s 'That Black Bat Licorice' The Right Way

Take Control of Jack White’s Chaotic New Music Video
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Take Control of Jack White’s Chaotic New Music Video
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Like his infamous guacamole recipe, Jack White’s just released video for “That Black Bat Licorice” is fresh, vibrant and richly layered. In the post-MTV tradition of fully interactive music videos - as seen in Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and Ty Segall's "Manipulator" - White fuses three separate videos into a single visual mash-up, one that allows viewers to hop from video to video by pressing and holding the “3” and “B” keys.

The default video follows an animated White as he attempts to woo an Egyptian princess while suffering bouts of psychosis and a bad case of athlete’s foot. The second (accessed via the “3” key) is an equally schizophrenic live action odyssey haunted by the dancing ghost of George Washington. The third video (“B”) focuses primarily on a bunch of moody hipsters head banging and looking fed up in a courtyard.

First time viewers might find all of this a bit overwhelming, but if expertly toggled, “That Black Bat Licorice” can be manipulated into one of the greatest music videos of all time. Here are 10 simple steps to help you do just that.

1.) During the opening guitar riff, rapidly tap the 3-key for a cool dream-swirl effect followed by alternating images of cartoon Jack White and real-life Jack White sporting his new Nashville-style hairdo.

2.) Now, as soon as you hear the rattlesnake sound of the vibraslap, quickly maneuver your finger to the B-key and start tapping it at a medium tempo. This will splice in images of girls with brightly colored hair head banging, which contrasts nicely with the black and white animation.

3.) Immediately following the opening chorus, White’s voice is your queue to shift back to the 3-key, which you’ll want to hold for the duration of the line: “Yeah, she’s built for speed like a black castrum doloris.” Then, release.

4.) Keep your fingers off the keyboard to see White’s animated feet go up in flames. The moment a sunburst appears on his forehead, start tapping the 3-key again to create a dance battle between animated White and the ghost of George Washington.

5.) When you hear the word “avuncular,” slow down the tempo until you’re tapping the 3-key to the song’s natural beat. You’ll want to do this all the way up to the point where animated White pulls out his tongue.

6.) When Jack White shouts, “I want to cut off my tongue,” shift back to the B-key and begin tapping it to slice in footage of a power saw cutting through a piece of wood for a truly visceral viewing experience.   

7.) Once the tongue has been fully removed and is wiggling around on a miniature Greek pillar, you’ll want to go back to tapping the 3-key for more dancing George Washington.

8.) Here’s the tricky part: as soon as George Washington disappears from the screen, use your index and ring fingers to drum the 3 and B keys as fast as you can. This will unleash an explosive barrage of images that will keep you sufficiently entertained for the next 10-15 seconds.

9.) When you hear White scream, “violin!” press and hold the 3-key. The look on White’s face as he plays the air violin with aristocratic elegance is truly something to behold.

10.) While holding the 3-key, you’ll witness the camera cut to White lying in bed staring at a portrait of George Washington. When you hear him say, “Whatever you feed me,” switch back to the B-key and hold it for the remainder of the song. The image of the purple-haired hipster girl, followed by a desolate courtyard, offers a tranquil conclusion to this otherwise chaotic masterpiece.

Photos by David James Swanson