Meg White (born December 10, 1974 in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan),
is best known as the drummer and backing vocalist of the Detroit rock band
The White Stripes. The
two-person band formed in 1997. Her struggle with anxiety disorder resulted in
the cancellation of their 2007 tour, although she has given live performances
since that time.
Meg White was born in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, to Walter Hackett White Jr and Catherine White, and grew up in the Detroit area with her parents and sister, Heather.
White is, by her own admission, "very shy" and gives few interviews. Because of this, when the band is interviewed, Jack White will do most of the talking. In her time away from the band Meg enjoys photography and amateur taxidermy. Animals are also something of a motif in her photography (mainly album covers and music videos). Among those photographed with her are a snake, rats (the video for "Hotel Yorba" and the back cover of Elephant), a cow, rabbits, and raccoons (the 7 inch cover of the "Denial Twist single").
Meg White guards her privacy in a manner that she identifies with Bob Dylan whom she admires.
Despite their own assertions to the contrary White and fellow bandmate Jack White are not siblings and were married from 1996 - 2000.
Jack White spent much of the 1990s hopping from band to band. In 1997, Meg first tried playing drums. In Jack's words, "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 two then began calling themselves the White Stripes and soon played their first gig at the Gold Dollar in Detroit. In keeping live performances to three basic elements, Jack did the guitar and vocal work while she played drums.
Though Jack White (the duo's guitarist and songwriter) usually sings the lead vocals, Meg White sings lead on "In the Cold, Cold Night", from the band's fourth album, Elephant; "Passive Manipulation", from the band's fifth album, Get Behind Me Satan; "Who's a Big Baby", the B-side to "Blue Orchid"; and "St Andrew (This Battle Is in the Air)", from the band's sixth album Icky Thump. Both Meg and Jack sing vocals on the track "Well It's True That We Love One Another" from Elephant. The first time Meg sang on a White Stripes record was with Jack on "Your Southern Can is Mine" for De Stijl. For his part, Jack White has declared her to be the key component in the White Stripes' sound. In reference to her "primal" approach to drumming, she remarked, "That is my strength. A lot of drummers would feel weird about being that simplistic."
White has appeared on the cover of Whirlwind Heat's single Pink, in a Detroit Cobras music video "Cha Cha Twist" as Little Red Riding Hood, and appeared with Jack White in a segment of Jim Jarmusch's 2003 film Coffee and Cigarettes.
On October 7, 2005, a picture posted on the Nine Inch Nails website of White with the band led to speculation that she replaced drummer Jerome Dillon, but two hours later, the photo was replaced with one of the band with Alex Carapetis. The significance of the photo featuring White is unclear, as she was never officially announced to be Nine Inch Nails' drummer, nor has any other explanation been given regarding the photo.
Jack and Meg White guest starred on the long-running animated TV series The Simpsons in an episode titled "Jazzy and the Pussycats", which first aired on September 17, 2006. She has done some modeling for Marc Jacobs' 2006 Spring line Two of her pictures appeared in the March 2006 issue of ELLE.
Meg White was chosen by Comedian/Director Bob Odenkirk to compose a drum theme for one of his characters in the film Let's Go to Prison, which was released in November 2006.
White with her drum kitMeg White uses a red Ludwig drum kit with a red and white peppermint swirl on the resonant sides of the toms and bass drum. On the Icky Thump tour the bass drum head design was switched to a button. She also uses a pair of Paiste 14" Signature Medium Hi-Hats, a Paiste 19" Signature Power Crash, and a Paiste 22" 2002 Ride, as of 2006.
In the early 1990s, Meg White worked as a bartender at Memphis Smoke, a bar in downtown Royal Oak (a Detroit suburb), where she first met musician/songwriter John Anthony "Jack" Gillis. They were married on September 21, 1996 and were divorced on March 24, 2000. In his characteristically unorthodox fashion, Gillis took her last name.
On September 11, 2007, the White Stripes were forced to cancel 18 tour dates due to Meg White's acute anxiety. The following day, said problems caused the duo to cancel the remainder of their 2007 UK tour dates as well. There have been reports however, that the tour was cancelled due to an alleged sex tape being released on the Internet. A band spokesman has since stated that the woman in the footage is not White. Meg White recovered and appeared onstage during an encore set at a Detroit show with The Raconteurs in June 2008, which was met with an enthusiastic audience.
On May 3, 2009, The Detroit News confirmed that Meg White is engaged to Jackson Smith, son of Fred "Sonic" Smith and Patti Smith. According to The Detroit Free Press, they live together in White's Detroit home and became engaged earlier this year. They will marry on May 22, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee.
This Meg White Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub