Gah, I should definitely be writing some freelance right now, but I just had to tell you guys about a documentary called It Might Get Loud. I had heard about it on NPR back when I was getting up early and working like a schmuck. Anyway, the documentary has two real purposes. The first is to put Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), The Edge (U2) and Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather) in a big room with their guitars and gear and just watch them talk, ask each other questions and, of course, play together. The second purpose is to follow each member around, get their histories and background as well as a look at what they’re doing now.
Now, right off the bat, I have to say that I’m not a U2 fan, I don’t get the appeal and I had a chip on my shoulder about White after reading an article by him back when I was in high school. I can’t even remember what it was, but he came off as a dick (at least in my teenage mind). I also didn’t like the White Stripes because I was/am a bass player and the band basically said they didn’t need one, which was crazy because they still used bass on several of their tracks anyway. And, I am a huge Led Zeppelin fan. Even with those various feelings towards the participants, I loved this movie.
The doc is completely full of live performances both as a group and individually, which is just fantastic. You’ve got Jack White playing piano, guitar and even building a diddley bow in Tennessee or something and it’s just awesome. I completely take back all the bad thoughts I had about this dude because not only can he play like a wild man, but he also very truly and obviously loves the process of making music in every facet. I also appreciate his love of older equipment, there’s something very cool about it. I still don’t like U2, but I have a lot more appreciation for him as a player. He’s such a perfectionist and a gear head that it’s cool to see him go through his process of how he creates some of his songs. Dude can play. And of course, Page is like a god, but a really cool god. One of my favorite aspects of the movie was them taking Page back to Headley Grange where Led Zeppelin recorded several times. They mixed him walking around and telling stories about the recording with old footage of them just hanging out like regular dudes outside.
But the real essence of this movie lies with them hanging out in the room. It’s a big warehouse with all their gear, some chairs, a record player and some of their favorite records. According to the commentary, which I’m listening to now after just having watched the movie and then the deleted scenes (I would absolutely buy a larger set of this doc with extra footage) the guitar players had briefly met before in passing, but never really sat down. They set it up so that the first time they really sat down and talked was on the stage. It was great to see the reverence both Edge and White have for page. White has their air of cool detachment around him the whole time, so it’s really cool to see him smiling while Page plays one of his songs. Can you imagine? Jimmy freakin Page asking you about your songs and learning how to play them? And then playing his songs with him? Man, I was getting chills watching it. You can tell that there might be some tension between White and Edge because White talks about how he doesn’t like overly technical music because it takes the soul out of it. It’s unclear whether hanging out with a technical perfectionist like Edge changed his thoughts, but they seemed to get along well enough. Though, had Page not been there, I’m thinking it might have been a lot o awkward silences.
I really highly recommend this movie for anyone who’s interested in rock music, even if you’re not a fan of or familiar with these guys (and you really should be). The raw creative energy that fuels these men is infectious. I want to go dust off my guitar, plug in my petals and rock out on my tiny set up, but alas, I’ve got to write. Maybe after I’m done with this…or when I take a break.