Meg White

From Stripespedia


Megan Martha White was the drummer, percussionist and sometime vocalist of The White Stripes.



Meg was born on December 10, 1974 in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan to father Walter Hackett White, Jr. and mother Catherine White.

Meg was working as a day bartender at the bar and barbeque joint Memphis Smoke in Royal Oak, Michigan one day in 1994, when she met musician and upholsterer John Anthony Gillis. Gillis ran his own upholstery business, Third Man Upholstery, and was also a struggling musician, having landed his first professional gig as the drummer for Detroit cowpunk group Goober & The Peas, as well as playing in other local bands and doing solo shows. The two apparently hit it off pretty well, and eventually married on September 21, 1996. Being the unusual character he is, Gillis took Meg's last name and became Jack White.

According to legend, Jack was working on a cover of the David Bowie song "Moonage Daydream" when, on a whim, Meg casually decided to sit down and play the drums. According to Jack, "When she started to play drums with me, just on a lark, it felt liberating and refreshing. There was something in it that opened me up." The pair began rehearsing regularly, and working on other songs. During one of these rehearsals, Jack began toying around with a guitar riff, when Meg jokingly pointed a screwdriver lying around and asked Jack to write a song about it. Of course, he did, and it became the band's first original song, "Screwdriver". Shortly after, named after either Meg's love of peppermints or a George Washington quote, The White Stripes played their first show on July 14, 1997 at the Gold Dollar in Detroit. The rest is history.

In February 2003, Meg broke her arm slipping on ice, and subsequently called off all performances up to their April UK tour. Meg and her cast were immortalized in the 2003 painting Meg with a Broken Arm by famed painter Elizabeth Peyton. Later the same year, Meg appeared in the Jim Jarmusch film Coffee and Cigarettes with Jack, and appears prominently on the film's poster.

Meg appeared on the cover of Whirlwind Heat's 2004 single "Pink" in a rabbit suit, and also appeared in The Detroit Cobras' video for their song "Cha Cha Twist" as Little Red Riding Hood the same year.

In 2006, Meg modeled for Marc Jacobs' 2006 Spring line, and two of her pictures appeared in the March 2006 issue of ELLE. Later the same year, Meg and Jack guest starred on The Simpsons in an episode titled "Jazzy and the Pussycats", which aired on September 17, 2006. In the episode, aspiring drummer Bart accidentally crashes into The White Stripes in a parody of the video for "The Hardest Button to Button". Meg famously delivered a single line in the episode: "Let's kick his ass!" She was also chosen by friend Bob Odenkirk to compose a drum theme for one of his characters in the 2006 film Let's Go to Prison, which was released on November 17, 2006.

On September 11, 2007, the White Stripes were forced to cancel eighteen tour dates due to Meg White's suffering from acute anxiety. The following day, said problems caused the duo to cancel the remainder of their 2007 UK tour dates as well. Around the same time, a sex tape allegedly starring Meg began circulating on the internet. A brief 8-hour, 40-post debate ensued over the authenticity of its subject before the thread slipped into the archives. The hoax became so widespread that both the poster ('Itsmecraig') and The White Stripesā€˜ publicist were forced to make public statements confirming that the subject of the video was not in fact Meg. By June 2008, Meg had recovered enough to appear onstage during an encore set at a Detroit show with The Raconteurs, briefly taking Patrick Keeler's place at the drum kit and teasing the audience, to enthusiastic applause.

Meg and Jack divorced amicably on March 24, 2000. It is known that Meg dated Oliver Henry from The Soledad Brothers (presumably) afterwards. Meg married Jackson Smith, the son of rock legend Patti Smith, in Jack White's backyard in Nashville, Tennessee on May 22, 2009, as part of a double wedding with Jack Lawrence and his wife, Jo McCaughey. Weirdly enough, the wedding was officiated by reverend Benjamin Swank. The two currently happily reside in Detroit, Michigan.


Meg White is infamous for her heavily criticized, minimalistic drumming style. She has been called the worst drummer in history, while others hail her as the key component of the band's sound. Of her playing style, Meg White herself says, "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 realize that this is what is really needed for this band. And I just try to have as much fun with it as possible... I just know the way [Jack] plays so well at this point that I always know kind of what he's going to do. I can always sense where he's going with things just by the mood he's in or the attitude or how the song is going. Once in a while, he throws me for a loop, but I can usually keep him where I want him." Jack has called Meg "the best part of this band" and his "doorway to playing the blues". Criticisms of her style appeared in the 2003 film School of Rock.

Meg has sung lead vocals on "In the Cold, Cold Night", "Well, It's True That We Love One Another", "Passive Manipulation", "Who's a Big Baby?", and "St. Andrew (This Battle is in the Air)", in addition to regularly playing percussion and singing backing vocals. It's also known that Meg plays guitar (most notably on the band's last performance, "We're Going to Be Friends" on the last episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien) as well as piano. She often played the organ part for "In The Cold, Cold Night" in live performances. Aside from the White Stripes' releases, Meg also played percussion on the Soledad Brothers' song "I'm So Glad", on their 2003 album Voice of Treason.

A website, The White Stripes Conspiracy Reader, humorously suggests that Meg is actually a robot. Presented in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, the website alleges the real Meg died in a car wreck and was replaced by the Megbot, a lifelike robot created by Jack; he purportedly decided to cover up the truth and carried on with the band as usual. The site supports its claims with "evidence" from photos, lyrics, videos, and other media. Its popularity in the White Stripes' fan community has become an in-joke among them and also with the band, who have alluded to it in interviews.


Meg is known for her shyness, and rarely speaks in interviews, aside from the occasional witticism. She guards her privacy in a manner that she identifies with Bob Dylan, whom she admires and has called her idol (similarly, Jack has gone as far as call Bob Dylan a "father"). Aside from music, Meg is known to enjoy photography, amateur taxidermy, and vintage arcade games. Meg loves vintage items, and fills her house with 1950's-era furniture.

She heavily smokes (Camel Lights) and drinks. She says her pre-show warm up consists of "whiskey and Red Bull". Meg is also partially deaf in her right ear, and she usually wears a hearing aid. She is known for drumming barefoot or wearing socks, and only recently began to wear shoes, typically Pumas. When asked about it, she said that the years of drumming barefoot have torn up her skin.

Animals are something of a motif in photography of Meg. Among those photographed alongside her are a snake, rabbits, rats (the Hotel Yorba video and various other pictures), and raccoons (the cover of The Denial Twist).

In 2008, singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne released his album Gossip in the Grain, featuring the song "Meg White". The tongue-in-cheek song details Ray's infatuation, calling her "pretty swell" and "the bomb".

Meg's original Pearl Export bass drum that she used in the band's first show in 1997 up through 2002, and complete pearly queen outfit as featured on Icky Thump, are currently on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the "Women Who Rock" exhibition, from May 2011 to February 2012.


  • Meg's favorite beverages include Maker's Mark, Jameson Irish Whiskey, and Red Bull.
  • Meg's custom drum throne, used from 2002 to 2007, was handmade by prominent artist Paul Frank.
  • Meg's favorite arcade game is supposedly Frogger, and was seen playing Galaga in the Arthur P. Dottweiler interview.


  • (On her relationship with Jack) "We've never had problems. We love each other, understand each other, and get past anything."
  • (When asked what she did with her first royalty check) "I was able to afford a car that didn't break down every five minutes."
  • "We never really cared about all the things that other people cared about, you know? Like, people recognizing me on the street never interested me. I've always been kind of suspicious of the world, anyway, so it's pretty easy for me to live in my own little world."
  • (When asked if she misses having a bassist in the band) "Actually, I don't. I've never played with a bass player before, so I wouldn't even know. It wouldn't feel like it's missing, I just think it's normal... I prefer it that way so I only have to concentrate on Jack."
  • (On deciding to end the Elephant tour when they did) "We were like a moth right next to the flame. It's like, do any more and you go down. We were so tired. One final lap, and then have a rest."
  • "Apparently, there's a little red demon dwarf that haunts the city, and before every major bad thing that's happened, it's appeared to somebody. Last time, he appeared in a Cadillac."
  • (On director Michel Gondry) "Every second is mapped out and he has this total childish fascination with color and shapes and sequences."
  • "You can be lazy if you don't know the truth."
  • "Downtown Detroit has more vacant buildings over ten stories than any city in the world."
  • "I don't want to know about my biggest idols. I don't want to read their autobiographies, I don't want to find out what they're really like."
  • "I got more used to my own voice, but still it's hard for me to listen to my own voice, or hear the recordings."
  • "I met Drew Barrymore in New York and she said she liked the band. That was really cool. I grew up on her."
  • "I've never been much into picking things apart."
  • "It's cool to meet your idols. It's a good opportunity to travel. Those kinds of things are good."
  • "It's hard to get that real good feeling about festivals sometimes."
  • "It's pretty sad when you have to choose between the lesser of two evils."
  • "It's the emotion of it that hits me, more than anything technical."
  • "Jack, the only trick I ever played on you was never tricking you at all."
  • "Maybe I'm a little more confident than I used to be, but not much."
  • "That's what my Dad always told me, on the ballot, they should always have a third choice, like none of the above, then if enough people picked that, they'd have to get new candidates."
  • "There's nothing I'm doing these days that I ever thought I was gonna do."
  • "You know, when I hear music, I just hear the whole thing."
  • "The Cuban sandwich is my favorite."

External Links

Personal tools