Best Female Drummer?

Ekim

Silver Member
Is drumming just hitting things with sticks? Is composition is just putting a bunch of notes together?
Yes, to both. It's all in the arrangement in both too.

Ekim, sure, "chops" wasn't the right word. Just short hand. If you require more precise terms I was referring to technical facility and agility ... things that require high levels of physical coordination. It's territory that suits guys more than gals.
Probably, but the presence of amazing female piano and classical players shows that it's certainly not just a man's world to master an instrument. I think far more than any physicality factor, it's a matter of focus. Most amazing musicians sacrifice years of their lives to get there. Most of us, men or women, simply aren't putting in that kind of time.

There is a lot of jealousy out there because of her commercial success - the "Not fair! I'm better than her! I deserve it more than her!" attitude.

Meg receives "ballooned respect"? LOL She must be the most dissed professional drummer in the world - maybe in living memory.

And who are the people who dis her? Men. (eg. "barely adequate"). I have not seen any instance of a woman dissing Meg.

Ekim, I couldn't give a rat's posterior about her "adequacy". I totally don't care how she may or may not perform out of the WS. What matters to me is that I really enjoy some WS songs, and that includes Meg's contribution.

I don't want to be impressed by a band or a drummer - I want to be pleasured, challenged, amused, thrilled, fascinated, chilled, etc. The WS have given me pleasure so I feel positively about Meg's drumming ... and I feel more positive about her drumming than that of drummers with greater facility who play music that is more designed to impress than speak to a listener.
You must not be paying attention to the hundreds of guy professional drummers that get ragged on in a similar fashion by those same guys. It's not a sex thing, it's a competency thing.

Would anyone besides her brother have ever thought of hiring her? Probably not. And she gets media and endorsement attention. So on top of being "barely adequate", she gets extra attention for being female. That's grating.

And I really doubt you'd stand up for any male drummer with similar skills being challenged like this. But let a female be attacked and the wagons get circled.

Funny, I think you're actually more sexist than I am. I give female players their proper respect. Your posts seem to imply "it's too hard for women to do well on the drums because it's a man's world".
 

Ekim

Silver Member
But to address the topic, I'd toss Veronica Bellino out there for the rock scene. She's a slamming and grooving player.

I was shocked after assuming she was someone's girlfriend when she played skins for Rob Balducci.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
More deep breaths needed, Ekim.

Yes, to both. It's all in the arrangement in both too.
Probably, but the presence of amazing female piano and classical players shows that it's certainly not just a man's world to master an instrument. I think far more than any physicality factor, it's a matter of focus. Most amazing musicians sacrifice years of their lives to get there. Most of us, men or women, simply aren't putting in that kind of time.
Drums require more gross motor skills than piano etc. Agree, re: focus and dedication. But can you imagine a woman playing like Aaron Spears?

Bit confusing. Why are you talking about the top men being much than the top women on drums? Are you saying it's a lack of dedication or intrinsic?


Ekim said:
I've yet to see an amazing female drummer in the technique world. Some of those listed here are really good drummers, but I wouldn't even consider putting them in the same league as Dennis Chambers or Vinnie.
This is the statement of yours that started this little debate. I agree with the content but you never qualified it by noting that male coordination and, especially, the sheers numbers of men in drumming are the reason behind it - plus the fact that standards have been set by men.

It felt to me that you were saying "guys have got it and women don't". That struck me as an unfair angle. Women bring different qualities to the table. It's not entirely tangible but I've not heard a male drummer play like Meg or Moe and I've not heard a female drummer play like Aaron or Ron Bruner.


Ekim said:
You must not be paying attention to the hundreds of guy professional drummers that get ragged on in a similar fashion by those same guys. It's not a sex thing, it's a competency thing.
Sure, no one's going to rag on Terri Lynne Carrington, but NO ONE gets ragged as much as Meg. Not even Ringo or Travis.


Ekim said:
Would anyone besides her brother have ever thought of hiring her? Probably not. And she gets media and endorsement attention. So on top of being "barely adequate", she gets extra attention for being female. That's grating.
Actually, Jack's her ex.

I doubt anyone else of Jack's stature would have hired her - but what a masterstroke! He was interested in minimalism and he used Meg's limitations to great effect - the organic drum machine. She is part of a group that many people find extremely enjoyable so she's gotta be doing something right!

Hey, I can do more things on drums than Meg and I'm not as cute as her. But her success doesn't grate me at all. She's a better White Stripe than I'd ever be.


Ekim said:
And I really doubt you'd stand up for any male drummer with similar skills being challenged like this. But let a female be attacked and the wagons get circled.

Funny, I think you're actually more sexist than I am. I give female players their proper respect. Your posts seem to imply "it's too hard for women to do well on the drums because it's a man's world".
Nope. If I had anything against men would I be a regular here? I have also gone in to bat for Ringo a number of times, although in Ringo's case there are more people coming to his defence. I love Ringo. Wanna take back the "sexist" jibe now? :)

What about all the other qualities that make an effective drummer, a drummer who "does well"? Drummers like Meg and Moe (and Ringo and Charlie, for that matter) are limited but what they have done in their respective bands is highly effective - far from "barely adequate" IMO
 
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brittc89

Pioneer Member
@Pollyanna
I dont agree with the fact that you ask can you imagine a woman playing like Aaron Spears? Ive seen women play like that. Ive seen women play loud and fast. And Ive seen men that play barely anything at all, check out Whit Dickey, plays a lot with Matthew Shipp, a beautiful example of someone playing barely anything but playing exactly what needs to be played, but I would never say Whit Dickey plays like a woman or anything like that. I dont think there needs to be justification of the way someone plays based on their sex. Thats all Im trying to say.

And I understand your point that music would be judged by values that men have placed most emphasis on, but I personally dont believe that sex should have anything to do with it and doesnt need to be perpetuated within the musical world. There have been far too many brilliant female musicians for this to still be happening. And I was going to bring up the idea of pianists as well. In particular because I love the music of Erik Satie and I have two different albums in which his music is interpreted by two different female pianists. They play it like night and day. One has a very forceful and stern approach, the other a very delicate and emotional interpretation. So obviously it is not their sex that informs their performance, but their musical approach and personality.

I dont think Meg White plays the way she does because she is a woman. However, I think that would be an impossible point to either prove or disprove. But I would never think of her sex to be the impetus behind her approach. She has carved a niche for herself, she IS rock and roll, the American dream, anyone can do it, its the lottery on compact disc. You might find offense with this, and I can understand that and Im not gonna start an argument, thats just how I see it.

I think people have a problem with her playing because there are people dying in the trenches, who devoted their entire lives to the pursuit of musical excellence, but cant make a living. Its not her fault. Its no ones fault. Maybe its society's fault for not appreciating the fine arts fully, but no one is to blame. Like I said, its all music, I cant imagine better drum parts for the White Stripes than the things Meg White plays, but Im sure you can understand how it gets under peoples skin.

I didnt mean to offend or start an argument, I just found fault in your logic, misinterpreted and then seemed to skew your words and I apologize for that Polly.
 

Ekim

Silver Member
More deep breaths needed, Ekim.
Stop projecting your vapors onto me, thanks. It takes a lot more than this to get me riled up.

Drums require more gross motor skills than piano etc. Agree, re: focus and dedication. But can you imagine a woman playing like Aaron Spears?

Bit confusing. Why are you talking about the top men being much than the top women on drums? Are you saying it's a lack of dedication or intrinsic?
The fact that there are some very good female drummers like Veronica Bellino and Terry Lynne makes me think it's a lack of fanatical dedication rather than intrinsic. But considering the physiology, maybe you're right and it's not possible for a woman to become a chopsmeister like Marco Minnemann and his ilk.

This is the statement of yours that started this little debate. I agree with the content but you never qualified it by noting that male coordination and, especially, the sheers numbers of men in drumming are the reason behind it - plus the fact that standards have been set by men.

It felt to me that you were saying "guys have got it and women don't". That struck me as an unfair angle. Women bring different qualities to the table. It's not entirely tangible but I've not heard a male drummer play like Meg or Moe and I've not heard a female drummer play like Aaron or Ron Bruner.
I have no idea who Moe, Aaron or Ron are.

Sure, no one's going to rag on Terri Lynne Carrington, but NO ONE gets ragged as much as Meg. Not even Ringo or Travis.
Maybe so, I don't pay enough attention.

Actually, Jack's her ex.

I doubt anyone else of Jack's stature would have hired her - but what a masterstroke! He was interested in minimalism and he used Meg's limitations to great effect - the organic drum machine. She is part of a group that many people find extremely enjoyable so she's gotta be doing something right!

Hey, I can do more things on drums than Meg and I'm not as cute as her. But her success doesn't grate me at all. She's a better White Stripe than I'd ever be.
Good points.

Nope. If I had anything against men would I be a regular here? I have also gone in to bat for Ringo a number of times, although in Ringo's case there are more people coming to his defence. I love Ringo. Wanna take back the "sexist" jibe now? :)

What about all the other qualities that make an effective drummer, a drummer who "does well"? Drummers like Meg and Moe (and Ringo and Charlie, for that matter) are limited but what they have done in their respective bands is highly effective - far from "barely adequate" IMO
I do believe I said if they work in their context, that's cool for them. But I also think it's fair game to note their lack of demonstrated ability too. Criticism comes with the fame, like it or not.

I also think that it's a bad idea to say "women can't do that" simply because it might discourage dedication on the instrument. Maybe there is some manner of feminine style to be discovered, but with a defeatist attitude how likely is it to happen?
 

Ekim

Silver Member
I would like to know if there are any female drummers out there that display strong skills with a very soft touch. This thread has made me want to hear how a softer approach sounds. And different dynamics are always cool.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Nice post, Britt. Generally I agree. They say there's more difference within genders than between them, which works with your examples. The differences lie in the general tendencies (averages) and at the margins.

I see Aaron's playing right at the masculine margins. Maybe this is something experienced from this side of the fence but I find Aaron's playing to be extremely macho - a male display. The guy is really showing off his power, speed and coordination. It's kinda sexy, actually, even if he's a big boy.

I've seen women play loud and fast but not as full-on as Aaron, but I'll take your word for it. I'd see that as roughly equivalent to the women I've met in the corporate world who wear power suits and speak with a cultivated deep voice so as to be taken seriously in the boardroom. They have adapted to a masculine culture. Which is cool, of course. Whatever works.

Now Meg's playing ... her simplicity conveys vulnerability to me. She's not impressive, but she hangs in there and that's something people can relate to. It's the difference between meeting someone who is overwhelmingly successful, brilliant and sophisticated and someone who is unexceptional but more approachable. Both have their appeal.

Ringo had that everyman (everyperson? :) appeal too. I agree with what you said about Meg's niche and the RnR lottery. I do see that kind of vulnerability in music/drumming as Yin and the super-impressive stuff as Yang.

Maybe I'm like Jay, who said he sees music in colours, and I see the sex in music? Just a guess. We all have masculine and feminine aspects, so you'd expect people to express Yin and Yang in their playing, not necessarily gender normative.

Ekim ... Cindy Blackman, Susie Ibarra and Evelyn Glennie have strong skills with a soft touch when they want to.

Just going off to attend my vapours now ...
 

bigd

Silver Member
This thread is silly. Women in percussion generally tend to shy away from the drumset. In my experience with many women percussionists it has nothing to do with being femanine or not physically being able to play the instrument. I've know some excellent women set players. It has to do with stability. Women don't look for a life of instability. The main outlet for playing the drumset is in bands that play gigs in bars and casual gigs. Women focus more on stability and being able to set up a household and career. There are monster female players in professional orchestras as well as teaching in universities and schools. Most women take this route. As for playing with light touch and sensitivity, check out any monster player and you'll find that. The orchestral, and marimba world is full of them. It's called being a musician.
 

Malti

Senior Member
This thread is silly. Women in percussion generally tend to shy away from the drumset. In my experience with many women percussionists it has nothing to do with being femanine or not physically being able to play the instrument. I've know some excellent women set players. It has to do with stability. Women don't look for a life of instability. The main outlet for playing the drumset is in bands that play gigs in bars and casual gigs. Women focus more on stability and being able to set up a household and career. There are monster female players in professional orchestras as well as teaching in universities and schools. Most women take this route. As for playing with light touch and sensitivity, check out any monster player and you'll find that. The orchestral, and marimba world is full of them. It's called being a musician.
This statement really isn't directed to women who play the drums as opposed to another instrument. It's a fact that playing professionally isn't the most stable career, and you can pretty much forget about trying to raise a family at the same time. Many men will tell you the same thing. But women guitarists are in the same boat. I think women in general are just intimidated by the drumset. It's big and loud; it looks complicated and sounds masculine and there just aren't that many female role models. I hope this is changing but we've got a long way to go!
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
This statement really isn't directed to women who play the drums as opposed to another instrument. It's a fact that playing professionally isn't the most stable career, and you can pretty much forget about trying to raise a family at the same time. Many men will tell you the same thing. But women guitarists are in the same boat. I think women in general are just intimidated by the drumset. It's big and loud; it looks complicated and sounds masculine and there just aren't that many female role models. I hope this is changing but we've got a long way to go!
I agree, Malti. It's seen as a guy thing. Yet I know there are a number of women who would like to play.

When I was younger I had heaps of women tell me after a gig - "I wish I could play drums!". I think they worried about being judged. As with guys and ballet, it's not the "done thing" ...
 

Malti

Senior Member
I agree, Malti. It's seen as a guy thing. Yet I know there are a number of women who would like to play.

When I was younger I had heaps of women tell me after a gig - "I wish I could play drums!". I think they worried about being judged. As with guys and ballet, it's not the "done thing" ...
Yeh, I used to worry about being judged in almost everything I did, not just music. This is a predominantly female phenomenon. It took me a long time to get over that (well, ALMOST over it). Now, I pretty much don't care. If I hadn't come as far as I have I would have never taken up the drums that's for certain. I do take issue with the women that say "Gee, I wish I could play drums". In fact, I take issue with anyone who says "I wish I could....(fill in the blank)." If there is something you really want to do you will find a way to make it happen. I have a low tolerance those who make excuses for not going after what they want.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Yeh, I used to worry about being judged in almost everything I did, not just music. This is a predominantly female phenomenon. It took me a long time to get over that (well, ALMOST over it). Now, I pretty much don't care. If I hadn't come as far as I have I would have never taken up the drums that's for certain. I do take issue with the women that say "Gee, I wish I could play drums". In fact, I take issue with anyone who says "I wish I could....(fill in the blank)." If there is something you really want to do you will find a way to make it happen. I have a low tolerance those who make excuses for not going after what they want.
It was always the same. When they'd say it, I'd reply, "Go for it!" and they'd say, "But I caaaan't". It started feeling like Groundhog Day. Always the same.

The unspoken message was, "I don't want to put up with all the crap". But the OMG, why would you want to play drums! thing wears off pretty quickly, and then life's the same - except you're drumming.

I know what you mean about worrying about being judged. Good that you're almost over it. I've never sorted it out. Instead I seem to have stopped worrying about worrying, if that makes any sense :) It seems to help a bit ...
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
wow! i've just seen something i've never seen on this forum. two female drummers discussing drumming among themselves. that almost never happens!
 
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motojt

Guest
Men have long dissed women for being unathletic and naive in "matters that matter" unless we copy the macho dynamism'n'speed approach and do it well (a la Terri-Lynne and Cindy). Women are still to establish our own drumming "voice" IMO.
Hey there, us guys have to adhere to the same consensus rules to be accepted as "good." Even I think I'm a shitty drummer because I can't do super fast rolls and refuse to do long sweeping fills. I even hate drum solos! But I'm not about to change my style just so other people think I'm "good." When people ask if I play drums I usually say, "Kinda," or ,"Yeah, but I really, really suck ass at it." ;)

P.S: That's one reason I like Ginger so much. He was never about high-speed or standard rock fills.
 
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motojt

Guest
...but the generalizations and the palpable need for you to separate men and women into two classes of musician has rubbed me the wrong way.
But men and women are very, very different. They have different tastes, different styles, etc. For example, I know a lot of guys who dig QofSA, but every chick I know hates them (including my wife), except my buddy's sister. I don't know any women who are impressed by Dave Grohl, but he blows my mind. On the other hand, I've seen some women impressed by drum parts that made me say, "Really? Hell, even I can do THAT!" It's safe to guess that a female drummer impressed by that part I considered plain would probably be influenced heavily by that part causing me to think she "sucks."
 
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motojt

Guest
And I really doubt you'd stand up for any male drummer with similar skills being challenged like this. But let a female be attacked and the wagons get circled.
She has stood up for Ginger Baker many a time on this forum. Yes, Drummer World Public Enemy #1.
 

Ekim

Silver Member
I'm no 60's expert, but I don't really think Ginger Baker was an unskilled drummer when Cream broke. Wasn't the dude doing polyrhythms and the such?

But what is it about you females? I was talking to a girl that talked about wanting to play drums but she didn't want to seem masculine. She was insecure about shooting guns and riding a motorcycle too. Too strange.
 

bigd

Silver Member
I think women in general are just intimidated by the drumset. It's big and loud; it looks complicated and sounds masculine and there just aren't that many female role models. I hope this is changing but we've got a long way to go!

You're kidding right? How do you account for all the thousands of girls who are in drum corps and in percussion ensembles across this and any other nation? You even hear how loud a drumline is? You ever hear a percussion ensemble concert? They aren't exactly quiet and they are many times louder then a person on a drumset. Women aren't intimidated by the drumset or by drums. You've just never had the chance to experience women percussionist. Go out and see a percussion ensemble or check out DCI. Girls play percussion and they play as well as any of the guys.
 
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