Questlove has entered the social media debate over the drumming of The White Stripes‘ Meg White, defending her ability.
White, who formed The White Stripes with Jack White and went on to become one of the most successful bands of the 21st century, has often been criticised for her drumming style.
In 2002, White said of the criticism: “I appreciate other kinds of drummers who play differently, but it’s not my style or what works for this band. I get [criticism] sometimes, and I go through periods where it really bothers me. But then I think about it, and I realise that this is what is really needed for this band.”
The discourse around White’s drumming was revived recently by Twitter user Lachlan Markay, who, when replying to a tweet about the genius of ‘Seven Nation Army’, commented: “The tragedy of the White Stripes is how great they would’ve been with a half decent drummer.
“Yeah yeah I’ve heard all the ‘but it’s a carefully crafted sound mannnn!’ takes. I’m sorry Meg White was terrible and no band is better for having sh*tty percussion.”
After the conversation began trending, The Roots‘ drummer Questlove shared his appreciation for White, and why he believes this sort of comment is emblematic of negative changes in music listening habits.
He tweeted: “I try to leave ‘troll views’ alone but this right here is out of line af. Actually what is wrong w music is people choking the life out of music like an Instagram filter—trying to reach a high of music perfection that doesn’t even serve the song (or music).
“This is why I walk that Dilla path and play like a drunken sloppy af amateur because them flaws is the human element in music that is missing. Real film >>>>>>> IG filter photo,” he added.
This is why I walk that Dilla path and play like a drunken sloppy af amateur because them flaws is the human element in music that is missing. Real film >>>>>>> IG filter photo
— Plug 5. (@questlove) March 14, 2023
Elsewhere, other musicians also came to White’s defence, including Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace, who wrote: “Simplicity with soul will always be more impressive to me than technical virtuosity. People like to criticize drummers like Meg or Penny from Crass but literally no one can recreate their feel. And it’s always men who have this bad take.”
Simplicity with soul will always be more impressive to me than technical virtuosity. People like to criticize drummers like Meg or Penny from Crass but literally no one can recreate their feel https://t.co/vh7ChsfCWb
— Laura Jane Grace (@LauraJaneGrace) March 13, 2023
Portishead‘s Geoff Barrow also chimed in, saying he believes the user in question is “going to regret this tweet”.
In response to Barrow, Unknown Mortal Orchestra‘s Ruban Nielson tweeted: “But we have multiple examples of [Jack White] playing with different drummers. i saw the white stripes play probably 10 times or something and there’s no one like meg white. kids would lose their mind to her drumming.”
In a separate thread, he added: “not enough people have discussed exactly why meg white was a good drummer. my two cents are firstly: impeccable taste and cool. secondly: elastic and intuitive sense of time. she felt what the audience wanted and played it. very very rare in even the best drummers
“reminds me: when i was just a kid i found myself hanging backstage with meg white and she was draped across a couch in full skintight leather and gave me a bottle of jameson.”
but we have multiple examples of him playing with different drummers. i saw the white stripes play probably 10 times or something and there’s no one like meg white. kids would lose their mind to her drumming
— UMO (@UMO) March 14, 2023
reminds me: when i was just a kid i found myself hanging backstage with meg white and she was draped across a couch in full skintight leather and gave me a bottle of jameson
— UMO (@UMO) March 14, 2023
People debating Meg White's drumming again. I don't know much about music, but I know it's not possible for a person who is 50% of a great band to be bad. It reminds me of something Chris Rock said: "I don't know what Oates does, but Hall never had a hit record without him."
— Joe Dator (@JoeDator) March 14, 2023
meg white’s drumming is a rorschach test for how you feel about women musicians. unless you also hate all punk music, which was also basic on a technical level and that was the point and it slapped pic.twitter.com/mxi5ccu2wq
— Emily Suzanne Lever (@SnarlsDeGaulle) March 13, 2023
Onstage with the White Stripes, Meg White looked terminally nonchalant and chill while maintaining a steady backbeat and ensuring that the band's songs never got off track. Calling what she did simple undermines the whole approach of her technique and execution.
— Annie Zaleski (@anniezaleski) March 14, 2023
the funniest thing about singling the white stripes out as a band that would've been better with a better drummer is that — *as a drummer who could easily be replaced* — i *often* think drummers are pretty interchangeable, meg white is one who absolutely is not
— GOLIKEHELLMACHINE (@golikehellmachi) March 13, 2023
The internet wasn't as big before so sexists are going back through their adolescent history to shit on everything women ever did that they forgot to shit on.#MegWhite
— Sam (@abrokenlull) March 14, 2023
The White Stripes broke up in 2011, with Meg not involved in the music industry since, calling herself “very shy”.
Elsewhere, Third Man Records have announced plans to release an expanded 20th anniversary reissue of The White Stripes‘ seminal 2003 album ‘Elephant’.
Entitled ‘Elephant XX’, the package includes a new mono remix of the entire record on red and white LPs, a red glitter 7 inch with Jack White‘s original solo demos of fan favourite ‘Hypnotize’, a DVD with never-before-seen footage from the era, and a 28-page booklet of previously-unshared photos, all housed in a custom slipcase.
Mixed by White and Bill Skibbe at Third Man Studio in Nashville, the mono remix was executed on the same Calrec board used to complete the original stereo mix of ‘Elephant’ at Toe Rag Studios in London back in 2002, according to a press release. You can view a trailer and artwork below.