Entertainment February 17, 2017
Every band needs a good drummer. Music would be incomplete without the rhythmic beat that gets us on our feet and dancing in no time.
For years, men have taken center stage in the drumming scene, but women can definitely rock out as hard as men – female musicians aren’t just front girls playing the triangle.
Here are five female drummers who smashed through boundaries in the music scene and kicked as much bass drum as they kicked ass.
One of the first badass ladies on the drums, Sandy West was also a founding member of the teenage girl rock group The Runaways. Known for her feathered hair and use of pumping rhythmic rock percussion, West was a pioneer for female drummers everywhere.
Sadly, she passed away in 2006 from lung cancer. Joan Jett, fellow member of The Runaways, stated after West’s passing: “We shared the dream of girls playing rock ‘n’ roll. Sandy was an exuberant and powerful drummer. I am overcome from the loss of my friend. I always told her we changed the world.”
As one half of The White Stripes, Meg White burst on to the music scene with her powerful, pulsating music. Her drumming, paired with Jack White’s poetic lyrics and rough guitar, made The White Stripes a hit. White’s percussion provided a raw and primal backbone for the band’s sound, a much needed combination according to the band’s fans.
With the release of their fourth album “Elephant” in 2003, The White Stripes gained mainstream success. However, in 2009, they cancelled their tour allegedly due to White’s “acute anxiety.” The band then broke up in 2011, and Meg White hasn’t been active in the music industry.
Thinking back to some of our favorite ’90s grunge music, Hole is probably one of the first bands to come to mind. Although Courtney Love is usually considered the face of female rockers of this genre, Patty Schemel played an equally important role. As the drummer of Hole, Schemel created the strong, heavy sound that initially attracted fans to the band.
She left the band in 1998 and since then has played for Juliette and the Licks, among others. A documentary on Schemel’s experience in Hole titled “Hit so Hard” was released in 2012. She is currently living in Los Angeles with her family.
Known for her blend of jazz and rock drumming, Cindy Blackman commands any song and any stage. Playing in multiple bands – including her own Cindy Blackman Quartet, Lenny Kravitz’s band and alongside her now-husband Carlos Santana – Cindy is able to deftly move from style to style while still maintaining the stability needed for drumming.
She has been in the industry since the ’80s and still continues to rock on stage. Her drumming successfully blends jazz, funk and rock and is full of raw energy, passion and creativity. Fun fact? She’s also a huge Doctor Strange fan!
Janet Weiss’s drumming provides a foundation for the popular ’90s girl punk band Sleater-Kinney. Weiss’s drumming style (which can be identified by her signature swinging bob) is solid, rhythmic and unbreakable. According to the fellow members of Sleater-Kinney, her drumming has a beat so solid “you could practically bang your head against it.”
While part of Sleater-Kinney, Weiss is also part of the band Quasi. In 2014, LA Weekly named her number 12 on their 20 best drummers of all time.
Sure, famous male drummers like Jon Bonham or Keith Moon might jump into your mind first when you hear an amazing beat. However, these women prove them women can’t just sing their hearts out – they can also be the backbone of bands that go down in music history.
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