If you’ve ever jammed out to the thumping bassline of “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, you’re probably already familiar with the extraordinary Jack White and his record label, Third Man Records. What you might not know about is Third Man Records’ sister company, a hard-rock publishing house aptly named Third Man Books. Officially launched in the summer of 2014 with a solo music-poetry hybrid title called Language Lessons: Volume I, Third Man Books has been steadily gathering steam to become an indie publishing force to be reckoned with. On March 23, the Detroit Metro Times sat down with co-publisher Chet Weise to talk shop.
Third Man Books was created in order to expand the brand’s creative production from solely music to “any and every form of expression, from music to poetry, fiction to film,” according to an interview in Publishers Weekly with Weise. Their motto is “Third Man Books: Where Your Turntable’s Not Dead & Where Your Page Still Turns.”
While Third Man Books definitely honors its roots by producing titles on and paying homage to the history of music (such as this fall’s Total Chaos: The Story of Iggy and the Stooges), they’re also dedicated to publishing powerful contemporary poetry and literary fiction. The founders – White, Weise, and Ben Swank – always knew that “the aim of the press would be to publish anything that is good, relevant, meaningful, and beautiful,” said Weise.
“Good, relevant, meaningful, and beautiful” includes titles by well-known members of the literary canon (like Hidden Water, a collection by Frank Stanford) and up-and-coming new talents (like My Dinner With Ron Jeremy by Kendra DeColo and When The World Wounds by Kiini Salaam.
The indie sensibilities of Third Man Records transferred over perfectly to launching an indie publisher, and while many of the company’s fans are drawn in by the high-voltage literature alone, many of them also follow them from the music scene.
“As I always suspected/knew,” Weise says, “people who have a genuine, engaged taste for music are usually involved in language, too.”
A lyrical, literary revolution – we’re proud to be groupies for Third Man Books!