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This article appears in the January 2012 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit

As a kid, Meg Samples heard a New Orleans-style drummer at a gospel church in Indiana. That’s all it took. “At age eight,” Samples says, “I was like, ‘I have to learn to play like that, and I have to do it all the time.’” By 13 she had her first drum kit, a “red and humongous piece of crap” called a Thor. For a talent show in high school, she tried to play some death metal. “The other kids in the band were like, ‘Uh, Meg, it’s too grooving.’ And I said, ‘I’m not angry enough for this.’” The Eastern Kentucky native came to Louisville about six years ago to study jazz at the University of Louisville and is currently in four local bands. (One of the ways Samples makes additional income is as a “pretend patient” for U of L medical students.) “I really like to dance — like so much so that I wanted to be Janet Jackson’s back-up dancer when I was little,” Samples says. “Dancing and playing the drums is kind of the same thing to me. If you’re not moving, I’m not doing my job.” Samples, you should know, has one thing she’d like to add before the interview is over: “I’m really glad you didn’t ask me, ‘What’s it like being a girl in the band?’ Every time I go anywhere, that’s what people ask. It’s 2011, you know? I can vote now; they’re letting us out.”

Photo courtesy: Mickie Winters

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