Meg White “Sucking” = Meg White RULING.

So this actually started out as a post about women drummers in general, but when I got to Meg White I went so fucking overboard about her that I realised I needed to write a post about just her to get my feels out.

So, here are my feels, hums.

Meg White Emma Cameron Good For a girl

Meg White was the first female drummer I was exposed to directly in my childhood.

When the White Stripes first hit the global pop scene, I wanted nothing to do with them. Yep, I was too fucking emo at the time to give a shit about music like this as I was too busy listening to their Red, White and Black teen-angsty counterparts; My Chemical Romance.

I think you could even go as far to say that I strongly disliked them – especially because every dude who thought he could play guitar or bass would haphazardly bash out the riff to Seven Nation Army in the attempt to position himself as as-good-as, if not better at guitar than me. Good god. So naturally I developed an association of loathing for them via my feelings towards these clueless dudes. These.. Cludes.

In retrospect it’s partly a shame – if I’d have been able to let go of my desire to be emo as fuck and also ignore the Cludes being shit, I might’ve had a really cool modern woman drummer to look up to.

But you know what I also would’ve had as a young, impressionable female fan of Meg White and The White Stripes? The narrative that emerged between Cludes that Meg White is shit at drums. And the subtle implications that would arise that women are shit at rock music.

Meg White Drums Emma Cameron Good For a girl

So now looking back, I thankfully avoided that narrative until I was a bit older; the first exposure being when I was hanging out with some guy friends of mine. I don’t know how the topic got on to the White Stripes, but the general consensus was that they were shit because Meg was a terrible drummer and couldn’t drum for shit.

At that stage, a ripe age of very-early-twenty-something-potentially-even-very-late-teen-something, I still didn’t give a shit about the White Stripes. But it did strike a chord with me that they were ripping in to Meg in particular. It sparked a curiosity in me that made me go googling, which yielded hundreds – if not thousands – of results in forums and websites of people (namely Cludes) – just attempting to rip Meg a new vag-hole.

Just quickly, let’s travel back in internet time and find some page one gems.

In this “article” about the “top 10 douchiest drummers of all time” – they list a whole bunch of guy drummers who have exceptionally large kits, or do a gratuitous amount of fills, or show off their technical skills too much for the authors liking. But then Meg is just in there, basically asking whether the fact she sits at a drum kit, performs arena shows, tours the world, and has several commercial and highly-acclaimed album releases under her belt even qualifies her as a drummer. At the end of their truly insightful paragraph about her, they state that if women want to play drums, they should “play it with some balls.”

Err, no thanks. Really happy living my ball-less life right now.

Or how about this really super great forum post from a right Colin Smellyshirt after Meg and Jack performed live on the global stage of The Daily Show that, after saying how shit at drums they thought she was, gracefully states at the end of their grand critique that “that bright red skin-tight outfit was [also] very unflattering on her.”

Oh wow!! How surprising and unexpected – a comment on what a woman is wearing and absolutely nothing about her male counterpart’s greasy hair (sorry Jack. That’s my hairdresser coming out, it’s on me.)

Meg White Studio Emma Cameron Good For a girl

I get it, lots of people confuse being “great” at an instrument with technical and theoretical skill and knowledge. And this informs part of their distate for Meg as a drummer. But we can’t ignore that fact that on top of her simplistic style; she also has a vagina – which historically predisposes her to an extra layer of ridicule based on those features alone.

So years went by and I still didn’t give a shit about the White Stripes until earlier this year when I moved in to a place in which one of my flatmates has an electric drum kit set up in our music room, and my partner started wanting to jam with me and encouraging me to have a go on the drums.

I had not really touched a drum kit since I was around 10 years old (when I learnt drums briefly for a year) –  unless I counted the occasional private sit-down at Dan’s drumkit where I would attempt rock beat 1 for about 10 seconds and just wish I could be swallowed up in a hole at the embarrassment of how I’m not just smashing out the confident beats and fills and just killing it.

So usually when I sit at a set of drums, my natural reaction used to be a complete meltdown. I can’t drum with overt technical and theoretical skill, so therefore: I cannot drum.

Until my partner said these 7 words to me when I got really frustrated ant my technique (but also secretly enjoying just rolling with it): “No, it’s cool. You’re like Meg White”

What comes naturally to me, my natural instinct at a drumkit, is completely primal and child like. Using the floor tom as the kick pattern. Using the kick drum as a counter rhythm. Bashing the kick, floor and snare simultaneously because fuck it and it feels good. And because I have natural rhythm, I can make it work.

And this is exactly what Meg White did, as well.

THIS. The way she double hits the hi-hats in unison with the double snare hits – is exactly like me. I can’t get complete limb independence, but who gives a fuck! Just fucking drum with passion and to the song.

Jack White said about his rhythmic counterpart; “She was the antithesis of a modern drummer. So childlike and incredible and inspiring.”

I love that – the antithesis of a modern drummer. That right there sums up why she made so many Cludes feel so fucking uncomfortable. Her style CHALLENGED them. Her style proves that you can just do you, do it well and with complete confidence in yourself, and TAKE OVER THE WORLD.

And the fact she was a woman backs up Jack’s statement in 2 key ways;
1. A ‘modern drummer’ would 99% of the time conjur images of male drummers
2. Her being a woman meaning she was the literal antithesis to this ‘modern drummer = male’ imagery

Meg White Drum Emma Cameron Good For a girl

So thanks, Meg, for making me feel like I can forge my own path exploring the drums and (for the most part) keep at bay the feelings of inadequacy whilst my subconscious tries to hold me up to the standards of the male-driven narrative that puts the weight of respect on to highly technical skill over pure creativity, exploration, and the hard-working ‘doing shit instead of talking about doing shit’ artistry.

And I hope more women and young girls see women like Meg and that encourages them to just give it a go and create their own style and confidence on the instrument of their choice!

Now I think the White Stripes are great. And they would be nothing without Meg White.

2 thoughts on “Meg White “Sucking” = Meg White RULING.

    • emmadecades says:

      I didn’t realise I was so passionate about Meg White until I started a blog post about women drummers in general ha ha x

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