Two Greek siblings from Chicago lead White Mystery, a rock band making its own rules.
Brother and sister musicians Alex and Francis White had never played together. One day they did, and it was magic. Today, White Mystery is playing all over the world, has shot a feature film, and will soon appear in a coveted spot on a late night show.
Just back from a trip to LA — Alex is the vice president of the Recording Academy Chicago Chapter, the organization that produces the Grammys, I had the opportunity to catch up with Miss Alex White, to learn more about this band that’s creating a whole new path to success — their way.
Talented Chicago Greeks
Chicago born and bred, Alex and Francis, along with brother Nick were raised in a creative family; their mom is local photographer Diane Alexander White. They trace their Greek roots to Sparta. The family has been longtime members of St. Andrew’s Church in Chicago. Their father, Frank White is “Pennsylvania Dutch,” but converted to Orthodoxy when the kids were young.
“I went to Greek school. When I was in college, my mom and I taught Sunday school. We may have big red curly hair, but Greek culture and identity have been a very important part of our daily life.”
Alex began playing piano when she was very young. In her early teens, she switched to guitar, and started a band. Performing throughout high school helped her grow as a musician. While in high school she started a record label, Missile X Records. She knew how to rock, but wished to learn more about management and business. This led her to DePaul university, where she earned her degree in Business Management, in 2007. During that time, she toured Europe with her band.
A “magical” partnership
Fast forward to April 2008. A family jam session changed everything.
“Francis and I had never played together in a band formally before. When we did, it was like magic. We believed it was our destiny to play together. That’s when we started White Mystery, and we committed to it — no giving up, let’s see where this goes.”
Since that time, the brother-sister duo White Mystery has released four highly-acclaimed albums, has toured Europe several times, as well as Japan. They perform an average of 200 shows per year, and have shared stages with the likes of Weezer, Garbage, Motorhead, and Iggy Pop. Their feminist anthem, “Good Girl”, was featured on the MTV show Awkward. Twenty of their songs have been licensed for television, and they’ve scored coveted sponsorships with companies like Red Bull.
Alex said their music appeals to fans of Led Zeppelin, The Who, Rolling Stones — anyone that likes “real authentic rock n’ roll”. She explained that the origin of the name White Mystery is the theme of their forthcoming album.
“White is our name. But there is a type of candy called White Mystery. Many candies have a mystery flavor.”
Francis, known as Francis Scott Key White, plays drums, Alex plays guitar, and they both sing. She calls the band’s experience “collaborative”. Their music is all original, self-produced, and self-released. They write a lot on tour, as the scenery, new places inspire them.
“We’d love to play in Greece someday. We play a lot of little clubs around the world, we play in small towns, and big metropolises. We’ve developed a worldwide network of people who like to have fun and enjoy our music. We actually meet a lot of Greek people. It’s fun too, when Fanari (Camp) friends from around the country come to shows.”
Last year, White Mystery released a feature film, called “That Was Awesome”. This fictional film was written, produced, and directed by the band. It played in theaters and at film festivals.
“It’s our mission as a band, to go where no band has gone before. We take it seriously — it’s a challenge, an inspiration to push ourselves forward. The film is a dark comedy about two people that own a shop and they tell stories to their customers about when they used to be in a band, then it cuts to memories. It’s not a documentary, but Francis and I play the couple.”
On March 31, White Mystery will announce information on their fifth album. It’s different from their previous work.
“Many times we record while on the road, or we go in the studio quickly, and get back out on the road. We really took our time with this. Unlike our other albums, this one was recorded in Chicago. It’s home grown, and you can tell the difference and the attention to detail in the production. We grew up a lot for this.”
White Mystery Takes on Late Night
The band will flew out to LA earlier this month to perform at the Troubador. This show was taped to appear tomorrow night, March 31, on Last Call with Carson Daly. The show will air on NBC. Check your local listings for times.
More to come
Described as a “high energy rock n’ roll experience, danceable, and fun,” Alex says the music is suitable for all ages — “kids and parents alike enjoy the music.” There’s so much more to come from this creative, innovative duo. They’re really just getting started.