Have you ever dreamed of rocking out on the drum set? Percussion isn’t just for guys. Lady drummers have proven time and time again that women can rock a beat just as well as men can. Take a look at these lady drummers who have risen to fame through their amazing percussion skills.
Sheila E. is an American singer and percussionist from California. She began playing at a young age with her father, who also performed on percussion. Her most notable collaboration was with Prince, whom she met in 1978 while performing with her father. She went on to collaborate with Prince in Purple Rain recording sessions and even opened for the Purple Rain Tour.
Sheila E. also worked on her own music as a solo artist, which is when she won two Grammy Award nominations, one for Best New Artist and one for Best Pop Vocal Performance Female. Throughout her career, she also performed with hot artists like Ringo Starr, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, and Kanye West.
Maureen “Moe” Tucker is an American drummer and singer. She’s best known for playing with the Velvet Underground. Her journey started when she was just 19, and amazingly enough, she didn’t have any formal training. Moe Tucker learned to play the drums by playing along to pop songs on her second-hand drum kit.
Her unique style helped set her apart. She’d often play standing with mallets instead of drumsticks or even play along with an upturned bass drum. After playing with the Velvet Underground, Tucker went on to drum for several smaller groups, which is when she toured Europe with Half Japanese.
Meg White is another American drummer and, like Moe Tucker, had no formal training. She was known for working with Jack White, whom she was married to when they formed the rock duo The White Stripes. This Detroit band rose to national and international fame before breaking up in 2011, but in their time performing, they won four Grammy Awards. Though White is no longer in the public eye, she’s still considered one of the best female drummers of all time.
Cindy Blackman is an American jazz and rock drummer best known for performing with Lenny Kravitz. She also released her own albums as well as played with other musicians like Pharaoh Sanders, Ron Carter, Sam Rivers, and Joe Henderson. Blackman discovered the drums when she was just seven while visiting a friend’s house. From there, she convinced her parents to let her join the school band, and she’s been playing ever since.
Patty Schemel is known for playing in Courtney Love’s rock band, Hole. After Love began her solo career, Schemel joined her in her backup band. Later, filmmaker David Ebersole created a documentary called Hit So Hard that showcased the biographical information of Hole, Schemel’s relationship with Kurt Cobain, and the difficulties women in the music industry face. Schemel has also performed with Juliette and the Licks; indie rock group, Upset; and with her brother in their rock and roll band Death Valley Girls.
Sandy West is an American singer and songwriter in addition to a drummer. She was one of the founders of The Runaways, which was the first all-girl rock group to achieve commercial success. West received her first drum set at age 9 and was already playing at teenage parties in local rock groups by age 13. She formed The Runaways with Joan Jett and Kim Fowley in 1975 when she was just 15 years old. Though she hasn’t been in the public eye since the band separated, Time Magazine has called her a pioneer rock drummer.
With these ladies proving that women have a place playing drums, there’s no reason other young girls can’t follow in their footsteps. Why not take some drum lessons and see where the journey takes you?