Is Meg White playing electronic drums?

Way back in June 2005, I asked the question What's Meg White Playing?, got loads and loads of comments and an answer. I was looking at her multicoloured desk bell set, which you can just see in this picture. Today, eagle-eyed reader Rob writes with an even more intriguing question. He thinks he spotted a Clavia Ddrum trigger bolted onto Meg's floor tom in this shot from Glastonbury. Can it be true? Is the most lo-fi drummer in the most analog band in the world using... Syndrums?
Here's hoping Jack's about to swap his Airline for a Synthaxe and get Trevor Horn to produce the next album...

Playing ?
It's not as exciting as syndrums - it's just to trigger a noise gate
You've discovered the live drummer's secret.

I work support for a company that has electronic drums in their line and I can tell you there are a lot of "acoustic" acts that use our stuff.

People just get tired of mic'ing drums night after night and getting a fluctuations in their quality of sound.
It's called sample triggering, folks, and it's not news. Reinforcing live drums with samples for consistency (particularly with, shall we say, "non-virtuosos" like Meg) is done by just about everyone these days, from Duran Duran to Metallica to anyone else you care to name. D-Drums are a good choice for this because of their fast triggering and the excellent sounds available for the venerable D-Drum Brain. The bottom line is the artist always has to win, every night, and triggering drums is one way to ensure that happens.
I wouldn't call them most analog... Jack White is a famous user of the Digitech Whammy.
What I'm noticing from that photo is not the drum trigger.
It's that I never noticed that Meg was that well"endowed".

It is easier to make a hot chick look like she can play drums than it is to make your drummer look like a hot chick.
Man are we still at that point in our evolution where using anything other than 100% LIVE drumming/REAL drums is considered fakery? I mean, she is triggering the shit right? Jeez, it's not like she's air-drumming.
I can also "play" most of the Leo Kottke catalogue. However, I cannot replicate his tone, timbre, and nuance. Would you be impressed that my Roland Synth-Axe makes me sound every bit as lovely as Mr. Kottke? Didn't fret that note well, but well enough that the Midi controller makes it sound like a prefect warm C, even though it should be a buzzy slightly sharp goof.

Vocalists have used "Pitch correcters" for years, that automatically fix notes sung flat or sharp. Yes, that's cheating. I don't really see a difference between that and using drum triggers to make you sound like a virtuoso who always hits the drum square and true.

I also usually means that take away the $2000 worth of equipment, and the "musician" in question can't even hold their own at a local Jam session.

I don't practice making sure my lines are smooth and have good tone just to be upstaged by a sythaxe and midi triggers from a Rich kid with more talent than money.... I can set up a midi trigger so that when I hit a note, it does a whole Steve Vai run. I could show up at a Jam session with nothing more than my Midi controller and a selection of 30 Vai runs all triggered by different notes, and if you didn't understand the tech, you might think I'm some great player, when in reality, computer magic has transformed "Row, Row, Row" in to "Giant balls of Gold".

Similarily, her drum triggers might trigger perfectly tight rolls, or a perfectly hit tom, or a beautifully executed paradiddle... Skills drummers work very hard on.
Theres a video up of their performance on the daily show at
i noticed it when i first saw it...i just assumed this was the norm.
Anony, i think you're helping prove my point really. Look, it's the White Stripes, not Leo Kottke ok?, and I'm sure 99% of their fan base couldn't care less, really, although they may be opposed to lip-synching, cuz it's phony. Drum machines, pitch correctors, triggers....whatever, i've been over it since Bambaataa and sampling showed me it doesn't matter. Hot music is the only thing.

i think most people just want to see a kickass show. You, and others, with perhaps more refined taste, are entitled to demand pure-proficiency from your favorites, but to posit that Meg may be triggering an off-stage paradiddle is a little presumptive and overwrought. It's just a little trigger!
...and for the record i think it would be hella more entertaining to see some MIDI nerd triggering off a bevy of retarded Steve Vai licks on his SynthAxe than to witness another Steve Vai Rockin-4-Lifer going through the motions like we've all seen a million times.
Even if it's just going through the PA it's not really the sound of the drums blah blah whatever. And I think you mean more money than talent? Both would be good Dire Straits song titles though.
So, if I'm reading this correctly Ortho....

It's OK, because the White Stripes fanbase is too stupid to know or care??

As far as preferring the MIDI nerd... Well, some folks dig Karaoke too, there's no accounting for taste. The Midi nerd can't hold his own in a Jam session... Why not just bring out the Vai CD and say "Well, here's my favorite parts... I'll play air guitar to them."

Personally, I don't care. Aside from one performace on the Daily Show that left me cold, I've never heard of them, and probably won't again.

You may prefer the fakery, and that's your right. However, this is a music website, frequented by musicians, and most folks I know who play frown on this.... Unless they use it. It is as cheap as Lip Synching, and if we can roast Ashlee Simpson for that when we were never under the illusion she had talent...

One poster above mentioned Meg only uses it to trigger a noise gate, so this really doesn't apply to her if that's the case.

The drummer from Def Leppard rescued his career with drum triggers. Great for him. But that should also show you that drum triggers can make a one armed drummer sound like a pro. They can also do wonders for two armed drummers that suck.

Just because a guy is carrying loaded dice doesn't mean he's cheating, but it sure makes you suspicious.
We don't have to bring Def Leppard into this do we?

My point is that it's not the same thing as lip-syncing, which i consider total BS. It's not fakery to use triggers! I consider this of the same frame of mind as those who thought drum machines and sequencers killed music, then it was how sampling was taking the talent out of music. I'd say 75% of babyboomers in the US hate hiphop music for similar reasons.

yeah, young people don't worry over drum triggers i am sure and it's not cuz they're dumb! I appreciate craft and talent very much and I think many readers of this site would agree that this isn't playing with loaded dice can still hear how off her timing is...

but there is a point where it is fakery, and hiphop and bubblegum pop are as guilty as anyone at times (Ashlee, Eminem, Milli V, etc). The reason i'd prefer SynthAxe Nerd is that at least it'd probably be amusing, which is more than i'd get out of most Steve Vai guitar 'licks'....yes even the one where he makes that laughing sound....
yall are dumb, studios record drums with midi notes to make it easier to edit in protools, or just to memorize drume paterns via midi, no ones triggaring shit its just a simplier way to edit drums..lock audio to a midi grid and edit that way.
I'm no drum expert, but I believe Danny Carey from Tool uses electric drum pads along with his normal drum set (I'm guessing for samples of some of the strange/more ethnic sounds that Tool sometimes uses in their music), and I don't think his talent is really in question. Are these electric pads somehow different than triggers in that it's fairly obvious they are triggering something? Does it matter if the sound comes from a sampler if they're triggering it the way of electric drums, or do we have to hear those actual acoustic drums?

I just see the triggers as another tool (no pun intended) that a musician can use to create better music. Sure it can be used to "cheat", but if it's just triggering some type of effect, or even a roll, who cares?

I don't think we can place the White Stripes in the same category as Ashlee Simpson, as I believe they write their own music, and hey, they at least attempt to play their own instruments. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

I use an old Oberheim DX that wouldn't come close to fooling anybody into believing it was a real drummer, and from what I've heard of the White Stripes, the sound does seem rather raw, so... the discussion continues.

drummers that trigger sounds are fakers... just like keyboardists that use anything other that an acoustic piano are fakers... (did you know that they can push one key and trigger a whole arpeggio these days!).
i haven't read on complaint on this site that a moog can be used to create fake sounds.
i figure that i fthis lady is hitting the skins in time with her own internal metronome then she should probably be considered a drummer.
the fact is that moving a kit around a studio during the ad breaks doesnt leave a lot of room for sound checks, so if she can trigger a drum sound that is already leveled and compressed for television then that makes more sense than going on national television and sounding awful.
next thing you know people will be using some sort of "DI box" instead of micing an amp.
Here's my 2 cents. I've been drumming for 12 years now (everything from Revolutionary War reenactment snare drumming to a Pseudo-Aphex-Twin cover band) and wouldn't mind having a set of triggers on my kit. But while I say that I would also say that a drummer needs to be able to produce the proper tone repeatedly. It's easy to hit a drum, but to hit a drum in the right spot (after coming off a tight short snare roll) isn't easy.

blah blah blah... but I vote libertarian/republican. Let's all try to change each others minds about that.
to bring one more angle to this...

some soundmen actually like to do this (use a triggered sample of the same drum) as opposed to just using a microphone. at least for bassdrum, some use only the trigger. a poor decision, imho, but it may work for some kinds of music. for white stripes, it surely sounds strange...

also it may be used to trigger some special sound, something not possible to get from acoustic kit. or to trigger the drum gate (for more precise action).

if i remember right, phil collins was one the earliest drummers to use acoustic drums /w sample triggers, as his famous tom-sound (achieved with ambient mics in the studio) is next to impossible to recreate in a live situation..
I think this shouldn't be about the classic analog/digital war. How about understanding that each tool (and yes, even a proper drumset today is an enhancement to the drums we used to have in the stone age ;) ) is just about how you use it. Sure, some lame fakers are just about acting to be a musician. But those don't last anyways. Tools are tools - Do something new and creative with them or don't do the arts. And this is for any kind of tool. Period.
I love Leo Karaoke!
A more refined two one-hundredths of a dollar;

To use such a tool to do things that were before impossible is one thing, to use such a tool as a crutch for a lack of skill is another.
It doesn't even matter. She's the worst drummer ever.
id fuck her
As an acoustic musician, as an acoustic musician who plays professionally, as an acoustic musician who spends a lot of time working on his accuracy and tone, what I have to say about digital fakery is:

Maybe folks go to the digital fakers's shows instead of your pure acoustic shows because your shows suck. Or maybe you don't play shows at all and you look at the folks onstage and think:

"So many mediocre musicians have made it big. Why can't I be one of them?"

Good shows are good. The tools don't matter. The music and the scene matters.
In my opinion the use of technology as a crutch is one of the things keeping music interesting. Doors are being opened to people that don't have "traditional" musical skills. Technology has always helped the selection of music that is available to expand, and we have to expect that things will change. If we are going to argue about triggers in rock, we might as well start arguing about Dylan and his damn electrified guitar again also.
Maybe the original aim of this was to point out the inconsistency of the White Stripe's past adherence to the 'we love vintage and analog gear' as opposed to whether or not analog or digital is better.

Then again, maybe i will read some of these comments and try to take them to heart... how about anyone who made a comment who has a gold record take two steps left... I'll read those first.
I'd rather hear a not-so-slick sounding drummer in an interesting band than a super-slick drummer playing milktoast ballads. But in the end, it's the whole package that you either like or don't like. Ringo Starr was no Clyde Stubblefield, but I still listen to the Beatles just about every day. And to be sure, triggering a gate or a drum sample isn't unique to drummers who are a little "rough around the edges".

Anyway, I think she's probably triggering some Steve Vai licks with that thing.
white stripes seems like another debbie gibson or ... wtf was those lame rich kids? yeh, the strokes


i wish Six Finger Satellite was still around... :(
They definately use sequences. Ever notice the bass lines lacking the bass player? The trigger could be synching the sequencer with the drummer.
I doubt it's syncing anything, I don't tend to hit my floor tom very regularly.
i doubt it too - because that sounds cool. id like to get in on that

and id still fuck her
My god what hysteria.
I've built my own elec guitars, amps, and a range of effects and useful thingys. Analogue is fun and easy. I recently started trying some very amateur recording on my mac at home. That means digital recording!! HOLY SHIT!!! I almost cut my own hands off when i realised...
I like the White stripes, and the way they play their instruments. More is less. I like their music and their FUCK YOU ALL I'LL DO IT LIKE THIS ideas. One drum trigger?? So what.

And I'd fuck her as well.
i know, right??

check out those tits!! and the way she wags her tongue while in the throes of ecstacy

shit ive got a woody right now
who cares, look at how freakin sexy that picture is! YOU GUYS ARE MISSING THE POINT
There's a link in this somewhere I followed to a clip. Have a look at how much fun she's having! There's a few drummers around that could take some let-go-of-the-boring-cool-look lessons from her, instead of perching on their drum stools looking surly/tough/toocool.
trigger=good balanced level tom sample... everytime. the mic's are only for backup. butthole surfers have sampledrums all the way, it sounds great.
youre an idiot, she doesnt use that at all
Drum trigger, eh? "I'd hit it."
make money I have found a proven method anyone can implement to very easily earn an extra $500, $1,000 or even $5,000+ every single week, with only 15 minutes of your time, and create a significant ongoing monthly income. This method is a no-nonsense, set it and forget it system, which will virtually run on 100% autopilot. People just like you are earning enough money to quit their jobs within the first month. Stop worrying about the bills, cancel your daily commute, never leave your family for a job that is making someone else rich, and start living your life the way YOU choose! Affiliate Cash Vault! New fail-safe system virtually runs 100% on autopilot. Just set it and forget it! Otherwise you will need good debt consolidation
The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.
search engine rank
Winston Churchill
I would not do her - she looks too much like Jack.
What a load of bla bla bla here about a simple trigger!
I am a soundman and I can assure you people that it is fairyly common to use triggers live. They are mostly used to trigger some sub-bass sample on floor toms.
to get that nice punch.. I know quite some collegues that use that trick. So stop whining you bunch of sissies!
meg white > terry bozio. what is the rainbow colored machine she has on the other side of the set?

She should be banging on a hollow log and howling. Most modern music is written by computers. There is no talent envolved; just press a button and the computer will write a song.
Steve Vai rocks. I love listening to the sound of a middle aged man playing scales as fast as he can. He uses clockwork amplifiers and guitar effects and records all of his albums onto wax cylinders.

Trigger or no trigger, can somebody please tell me how I can meet her and beg her to let me go down on her for 24 hours straight and then fuck her? She's hot! That's all I care about.
Christ guys need to check out them live. Here is the deal - the White Stripes is basically just Jack White who is an awesome guitarist and a decent singer (when he doesn't get all screechy).

Meg is a no talent drummer but she is quite attractive and puts up with Jack's tangents. I have no doubt that she would cheat on the drums. So what? She is just eye candy.

Jack OTOH is really alot more real then any other performer out there. No pitching correcting software - he even uses analog amps..

Jeeeezzz - what a bunch of fuckin' dweebs most of you are, steve vai blah blah blah, midi triggers blah blah blah - look at this WOMAN wacking the fuckin' fuck skins you geeekks!!! ROCKIN ROLL that tonge waggin' ecstatic bedroom lookin' BABE for cryin' out fn loud!! Get out of your studios and get LAID!! MEG ROCKS!
Here's my 2 cents: I just started listening to the Stripes and I think she's a great drummer! I know lots of peeps think she can't keep the beat but as far as really hitting hard, she's up there with Ginger Baker and John Bonham, IMHO.

And yeah, she's sexy. No, she doesn't look like Jack. She's not his sister after all--she's his ex.
Ever notice the "purist" who seem to get the most upset about triggers, sequencing....etc are people who have never played anything but local open mic nights.

Oh, but yes, they have $14,000 of vintage gear at home, expensive guitars and amps...and they will never play for more than 35 people because they have no talent.

And "technique" is not equal to "talent". 200 000 musicians you will never hear about are upset about fakery. Boo hoo.

Yeah, you are so awesome for NOT being digital, virtual...etc
You are also awesome for staying in your basement, being bitter, instead of on the radio bothering me with your earnest purity.
Post a Comment

<< Home
Music Thing on Twitter
    follow MT on Twitter

    Music Thing Hits:
    Music Thing Heroes:
    Music Thing Friends:
    My music gear for sale
    DIY Modular Synth
    Matrix Synth
    Create Digital Music
    Analog Industries
    Boing Boing Gadgets
    London Video Production
    Wire to the Ear
    Palm Sounds
    Noise Addicts
    Retro Thing
    Analogue Haven
    Music Thing Massive
    About Music Thing:
    Send tips to Music Thing
    About this site
    Music Thing Massive
    RSS Feeds

    Problem with the ads?
    Please let me know