respect the classics

Jack White Has a Poetic Response to Those Meg White Criticisms

Never forget that he took her last name. Photo: Stefan M. Prager/Redferns

A seven nation army couldn’t hold Jack White back from defending his former drummer and ex-wife, Meg White. After days of discourse around Meg’s reserved drumming style in the White Stripes, Jack put any criticism to bed with a poetic defense of Meg. Literally. In eccentric Jack White fashion, he wrote a poem about it, which he posted to Instagram with a photo of Meg. He wrote of “some other distant, different, time. / one without demons, cowards and vampires out for blood, / one with the positive inspiration to foster what is good.”

Those “demons, cowards and vampires out for blood” are Meg’s critics — most notably, political journalist Lachlan Markay, who started this whole dustup. After conservative magazine National Review called the White Stripes song “Seven Nation Army” “the song of the century,” Markay tweeted in response, “The tragedy of the White Stripes is how great they would’ve been with a half decent drummer.” He went on to call Meg “terrible” and “shitty percussion.” (Never mind that, as half of the band, Meg was recently nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.) Musicians soon jumped in to defend Meg, who stopped performing in 2007 due to anxiety and retreated from public life after the White Stripes disbanded in 2011. Questlove, drummer of the Roots, tweeted that Markay’s take was “out of line af.” Margo Price, who was signed to Jack’s label, Third Man Records, tweeted that she’d started drumming because of Meg. “Her style and the White Stripes music was a breath of fresh air compared to most of the stuff going on at the time,” she wrote. “Anyone who shit talks her wouldn’t know rock and roll if it bit them in the ass.” Karen Elson, who was once married to Jack, told Markay to “keep my ex husband’s ex wife name out of your f*cking mouth.”

Markay did, deleting his previous tweet and apologizing for his criticism of Meg. “It was an over-the-top take on TWS and White as a drummer, and was, let’s face it, just truly awful in every way,” he wrote on his now-private Twitter account. “Petty, obnoxious, just plain wrong.” Markay went on to directly apologize to Meg, writing that he hoped she didn’t see the tweet, because “I imagine it wouldn’t feel great to see a stranger dumping on you like that.” Attacks on Meg’s drumming are nothing new to the White Stripes. In 2002, Meg told Modern Drummer, “I appreciate other kinds of drummers who play differently, but it’s not my style or what works for this band.” And in a 2005 Rolling Stone feature, Jack called out criticism of Meg for what it was: “pure sexism.”

Jack White Has a Poetic Response to Meg White Criticisms