Jack White pays tribute to Meg White as journalist apologises for kicking off viral debate with ‘petty, obnoxious’ drumming tweet

Jack White has put a poetic cap on the raging social media storm about White Stripes drummer Meg White's playing, following a tweet now described by its chastened author as "ill-advised", "nasty and totally unjustified" and "just plain wrong".

Political journalist Lachlan Markay landed himself in hot web water by claiming that The White Stripes would have benefited from the percussive services of “a half-decent drummer”.

“Yeah, yeah I’ve heard all the ‘but it’s a carefully crafted sound mannnn!’ takes", wrote Markay, instantly digging himself into a corner. "I’m sorry, Meg White was terrible and no band is better for having s***ty percussion,” he wrote.

The tweet brought an instant response from across the musical world, galvanising fans and fellow musicians alike, including Questlove and Jack White's ex-wife Karen Elson amongst many, many others.

Jack White and Meg White performing as the White Stripes in 2005

Jack White and Meg White performing as the White Stripes in 2005 (Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder / Getty)

Criticism of Meg White's playing is hardly original. Her apparently simplistic style has long been a target for chopmeisters who frankly should know better. Esteemed drummer, producer and all-round musical polymath Questlove was quick to stomp all over Markay's 'argument', tweeting, “I try to leave ‘troll views’ alone but this right here is out of line af. Actually what is wrong w music is people choking the life out of music like an Instagram filter —trying to reach a high of music perfection that doesn’t even serve the song (or music). 

"This is why I walk that Dilla path and play like a drunken sloppy af amateur because them flaws is the human element in music that is missing. Real film >>>>>>> IG filter photo.”

Karem Elson, Jack White's ex-wife - Meg White was also married to the White Stripes guitarist/singer between 1996 and 2000 - was more direct. "To the journalist who dissed her, keep my ex husband’s ex wife name out of your f*cking mouth. (Please and Thank You)."

"Not only is Meg White a fantastic drummer, Jack [White] also said the White Stripes would be nothing without her."

Now, Jack White has joined the fray, albeit obliquely, tweeting a picture of Meg in full flow alongside a poem, below.

Wisely, a chastened Markay has slammed into reverse, offering a full retraction and fulsome apology.

“By now you’ve probably seen an ill-advised (and since-deleted) tweet I sent out yesterday about the White Stripes and Meg White,” he wrote. “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. Petty, obnoxious, just plain wrong.

“A lot of people have now weighed in, both on my nasty and totally unjustified tone, and on the merits, pointing out it’s simply untrue. Guess what: they’re right! It was a terrible, mean thing to say—and also just, you know, wrong—and I deeply regret saying it.”

"I don’t know if Meg White herself saw that tweet. I hope not, because I imagine it wouldn’t feel great to see a stranger dumping on you like that. So to Meg White: I am sorry. Really. And to women in the music business generally, who I think are disproportionately subject to this sort of shit, I am sorry to have fed that as well. I’m really going to try to be more thoughtful in the future, both on here and off."

Will Groves

I'm lucky enough to be MusicRadar's Editor-in-chief while being, by some considerable distance, the least proficient musician on the editorial team. An undeniably ropey but occasionally enthusiastic drummer, I've worked on the world's greatest music making website in one capacity or another since its launch in 2007. I hope you enjoy the site - we do.