Director Michel Gondry wanted to use a White Stripes song in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but even though he counts them as buds, Jack and Meg weren’t having it; maybe Anthony Minghella put Jack’s songs on the Internet after he wrote some for Cold Mountain.
So, Anaheim resident Heidi Follin told me, Gondry instructed his music supervisor to find a reasonable simulacrum; she found them in Follin’s 20-year-old son Richie James Eaton’s band, the Willowz, rumored subjects of a heated West Coast bidding buzz (as well as Anaheim-scene animus).
On their 20-minute self-titled debut, the Willowz don’t really sound like the White Stripes—there’s not much blues in their scrappy garage-punk blasts, and I’m not sure Richie could rip a solo if Kirsten Dunst begged him to. But the band musters the quick and dirty rush of teenage riff-rock as spontaneously as Jack White does it meticulously.
And they’re probably the sweetest bunch of garagistas this side of Beat Happening: “Meet Your Demise” sounds exactly like Richie and bassist Jessica Reynoza are saying “mission to Mars,” which they should be. Richie’s not just finding it hard to be a gentleman; he’s finding it hard to be a man at all.