The male-dominated music industry has gendered certain instruments over a period of time. Drums is definitely one of the foremost which is considered, in an ageing stereotypical trope, to be a masculine instrument. While women have been playing drums since the time it was invented, many struggled to make a professional breakthrough due to the social stigmas associated with ideal gender-roles. Worse still, when they defied these imposed roles and set out to conquer the so-called “male territory,” they were tagged as “female drummers” or “women drummers.” However, they swamped all these labels under the over-pouring sound and the intoxicating energy of the drums, reclaiming their dream by advancing in their own rhythm.
Meg White was one such dreamer who, though a shy and introverted person, made herself heard through the loud beats of the drums. Her music career began out of a sudden impulse when her future bandmate Jack White heard her playing in 1997. The duo formed The White Stripes two months later and soon became the go-to garage band internationally.
The song ‘Blue Orchid’ was the duo’s first track from the album Get Behind Me Satan, released in June 2005 and was also shared as a single. The song is about the hardships of the new entertainment industry which Jack white found difficult to adjust to and hence longed for the classical golden era. The track was a commercial success topping the Canadian Singles chart and reached number 43 in the Billboard Hot 100. The music video, which became a fashion by that time, was directed by Floria Sigismondi, adding yet more strings to their expanding bow.
The music arrangement of the original track was heavily metallic produced by playing a guitar into an Electro-Harmonix creation along with the drums. When stripped off all the other instrumentations and the vocals, the drums are exactly how John Whites first described Meg’s style; minimalist and untrained. The lack of pompous words for Meg’s style however shouldn’t be seen as a libel. Her style suited the song perfectly and contributed to its enormous success.
Without wasting more time, let’s listen to Meg White’s isolated drums in the ‘Blue Orchid’ track.