Rocker Jack White is "extremely angry" after VIRGIN MOBILE used his band's image to promote their cellphones - because he's adamant about not becoming a "corporate puppet".

The White Stripes frontman and his drummer sister MEG were approached by VIRGIN RECORDS about performing in a Virgin plane as a promotional stunt.

In a posting on the band's official website, Jack says the record company set up a partnership with Virgin mobile in order to deal with their mounting expenses.

The phone company then presented the band with storyboard ideas for a TV ad campaign, though these were not approved.

White claims the band never officially signed the deal - but Virgin Mobile went ahead and began producing TV and print ads of the band promoting the phones. Soon, according to Jack, the event became, "logistically, technically and morally an impossibility."

However, when The White Stripes tried to back out, Virgin Records said it was too late, claiming the TV and in-store advertisements had already been sent out.

Jack explains, "You can imagine if Virgin cell phones had just come to us outright and asked if we'd do a commercial, we would have said, 'No.' But now they were getting a free commercial out of us because of this situation.

"We told Virgin, 'When did we ever sign a f***ing contract with you pigs?' and 'When did we ever agree to point of purchase advertisements with our picture on it at stores? I was extremely angry. They had no right to do that legally."

The offending ads were cancelled after just one day, but White still wants fans to know the campaign was not his idea.

He adds, "I write songs, and I want to perform them for people, and that's pretty much it. I didn't get into music to be a corporate puppet, or to be a damn salesman so some CEO can buy another summer house."

28/05/2003 20:10