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  • Writer's pictureJO'B

She Bangs The Drum - 10 great women drummers

In the patriarchal world of rock, women historically never got/get their due - Tutti Frutti was written by a woman (Dorothy LaBostrie), Carol Kaye is a better bass player than John Entwhistle (but you'd be shot for saying it) and Heart's version of Stairway To Heaven KILLS it...but the worst area for this is the drums. Drummers to be fair don't get their dues anyway, but it's always John Bonham, Mick Fleetwood, Ginger Baker, Keith are ten women drummers who ROCKED!

1. Lindy Morrison (The Go-Betweens)

After a career advocating for Indigenous Australian rights, Lindy Morrison drummed in punk bands until she became drummer in probably the greatest ever Australian band, The Go-Betweens. She was an unconventional drummer, but also tall, wild-haired, and described by Tracey Thorn as was “a force of nature” in her marvellous book, My Rock’n’Roll Friend. She was wilder and more rock and roll than her bandmates, yet her role has been continuously downplayed. Listen to the drumming on Cattle & Cane - it's sublime. These days she has a Masters in legal Studies and still works in community music. But for me, she will always be the cool, beautiful blonde woman pounding away, holding the beat down for this strange, Australian music I had discovered at 16.

2. Debbi Peterson (The Bangles)

Forget Eternal Flame and Walk Like An Egyptian, The Bangles were a killer garage band - listen to Hazy Shade Of Winter - her drumming is a tour de force, especially as she was singing at the same time. She still drums with them now and is as formidable as ever.

3. Moe Tucker (The Velvet Underground)

Playing standing up, using a stripped down drum kit of tom toms, a snare drum and an upturned bass drum, playing with mallets rather than drumsticks - it doesn't sound promising. But it's impossible to imagine The Velvet Underground without her. Her style was a mix of Ringo Starr meets African trance rhythms...she is genuinely unique!

4. Meg White (The White Stripes)

Overshadowed by her bandmate Jack White (and ex-husband), it's easy to forget what an essential part she played in The White Stripes. She may not have been as technically proficient as other drummers, but her simplistic style was the perfect foil for Jack's blistering blues swamp guitar. Her insistent thwack thwack thwack is what actually makes classics like Seven Nation Army!

5. Gina Schock (The Go-Go’s)

The first all-girl US band that wrote their own songs, The Go-Go's were groundbreaking and are finally getting the recognition they deserved 40 years on. She kept them together, holding down the beat while the rest of the band learned their chops during their early punk gigs, and leading the hooks on their greatest hits (listen to the pounding drum intro to We Got The Beat!).

6. Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney)

Another drummer described as a "force of nature", it's possibly fitting that she drummed with the reformed Go-Betweens when they got back together in 2000 without Lindy Morrison (though what a terrible decision that was). However, she's best known for her time with Sleater-Kinney and she truly pounds the shit out of the drums better than John Bonham. Though sadly not with Sleater-Kinney now, she has drummed with Quasi, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks and more.

7. Karen Carpenter (The Carpenters)

You think of her beautiful voice when you think of Karen Carpenter, but it's easy to forget she was a kickass drummer as well. Check out her drum solo on this 1976 television special!

8. Sheila E (Prince)

Another standing, singing drummer and percussionist! Sheila E drummed on Prince's Sign O' The Times tour, several records with him, as well as a fantastic solo career, and playing with Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock and Diana Ross - wowser!

9. Cherisse Osei (Simple Minds)

Brian McGee and Mel Gaynor are tough acts to follow so I was sceptical when I heard Cherisse had taken over the stool in Simple Minds. But she f***ing rocks! Check out this spotlight video of her playing on YouTube.

10. Kitty Durham (Kitty, Daisy & Lewis)

Multi-talented Kitty, Daisy & Lewis are two sisters and a brother (backed on stage by their mum on bass and dad on piano). The siblings all play guitar, sing and drum, but Kitty focuses on the drums, playing fantastic fifties style rock'n'roll and ska. She is fabulous!


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