It Might Get Loud Movie Review
Jack, Jimmy & The Edge
What do you get when you throw Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White into a studio? “It Might Get Loud,” a Sony Pictures Classics Release, is not your typical sex, drugs and rock and roll flick. “It Might Get Loud” expresses how these specific artists of three generations were in their own ways searching for an identity for themselves and for their music. The three iconic guitarists share their love for guitars, music and rock and roll with each other. The film displays archive footage of the bands playing all over the world and shows the guitarists in their chosen creative workspaces. It’s about communicating their inspirations with the world and the outcome is pure metallic magic.
Producer Thomas Tull says “I made this film for people like me, people who love music and the experience of a live show. When you love a band or a musician you want to know how and why they do what they do--what makes them tick.”
Each of these great guitarists has a beginning that started in places like England, Ireland and Tennessee, USA. Page, the veteran guitar virtuoso of the Yardbirds and the infamous Led Zeppelin, starts out by playing as a studio guitarist. After a while, Page got sick of playing for other bands and wanted to do something more creative and inventive. As soon as he joined The Yardbirds out came the bow and the wailing guitar. Studio guitarist James Patrick Page became rock legend Jimmy Page. [INSERT BOWING GUITAR HERE]
The Edge, AKA David Howell Evans, attended Mount Temple School in Dublin where he met Bono, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton. The Edge along with his U2 band mates searched early on for the band’s identity. They started out by playing the typical pop music all the bands were playing.
Davis Guggenheim, the director says, “Edge taking us to the classroom where he and U2 first met and rehearsed when they were 16 and 17 years old. This was just a regular high school classroom – they would meet for practice and spend the first ten minutes clearing all the desks to the sides before they could actually play.”
U2 witnessed some more radical acts enthusing punk and hard rock such as The Sex Pistols and The Clash. In “It Might Get Loud” as The Edge walks the camera crew through the halls of his grade school, he pauses to play and sing “Glad To See You Go” by The Ramones. While inspired U2 continued to struggle with the band’s identity. Bono asks The Edge if he could take some time and try his hand at writing songs. The period was very dark and violent in Ireland. The Edge found himself taken by the bombs falling all around and writes not only a good song, but the band’s theme song, identity and a song that forever resonates with U2 fans, “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”
“We were filming Jack (White) in Austin, Texas, and he's playing this out-of-control guitar solo. Through the lens, I start realizing that he's so focused and playing so aggressively that his hand is bleeding without him even knowing it,” says Guggenheim.
While Page’s identity involved breaking out of the English 60’s cookie cutter world and The Edge’s identity came out of the political battles fought in the streets of Ireland, Jack White’s experience stems from being a part of a big family and living in poor American neighborhoods. White’s roots began in Tennessee and ended up in Detroit, Michigan in an all black neighborhoods where music instruments were shunned. Everyone in 80’s Detroit was into dance, hip hop and rap music. [INSERT SICK GUITAR SOLO HERE] White was always a fighter, fighting with his nine other siblings at the dinner table and being picked on at grade school. To hold onto that struggle Jack purposely seeks out imperfection in all of his instruments. White worked at an upholstery shop and his boss became his first band mate. Their first band and album title was The Upholsters.
Guggenheim recalls, “We were filming Jack in Austin, Texas, and he's playing this out-of-control guitar solo. Through the lens, I start realizing that he's so focused and playing so aggressively that his hand is bleeding without him even knowing it.”
The Edge remembers seeing a guitar called The Explorer that defined the sound of U2. The Edge wanted to change the way chords were strummed, leaving one string out because it sounded better to him. He wanted to experiment with the way the guitar sounds and became driven by technology and electric sound effects. [INSERT LOUD RIFF HERE]
For Jimmy Page the Stratocaster was the first spark that got his juices flowing. Page was all about taking the sound of the guitar as far as it could go, wailing and riffing until he found what he wanted. In order to take “Stairway To Heaven” out on tour and play it Page devised a way to play both acoustic and electric parts on the same guitar by having a special 12- string double neck guitar made.
“We were filming in Jimmy Page's home outside of London - which he has never allowed before – and he starts pulling out his favorite albums and playing them for us. These are the records that he listened to and learned from as a young musician. Just watching him listen to the records was incredible - and then he started playing air guitar!” says Guggenheim.
Jack White is also very inventive with his instruments. He’ll have a guitar made with an area where a harmonica mic can be pulled right out of the guitar conveniently when he needs to sing into it.
Guggenheim, says, “In Tennessee, I asked Jack to write an original song on camera – and he did it – right in front of us… I don’t think I have ever seen that before.”
The three gentlemen talked about music that inspired them. Jimmy loves the sound of “Rumble” by Link Wray & The Wraymen. Jack White is almost obsessed with Son House’s “Grinnin’ In Your Face,” a very melancholy blues song. [INSERT SLIDE GUITAR HERE]
GET THE LED OUT!!! What can’t you say about Jimmy Page? Page is the ultimate innovator of the guitar, revolutionizing the sound of rock and roll. Ironically, “It Might Get Loud” was released on the heels of the passing of a rock and roll legend, Les Paul whose Gibson guitars were Page’s main outlet. When beginning musicians ask what music they should listen to whether, the answer is almost always Led Zeppelin. All up-and-coming guitarists need to study the ways of Jimmy Page as he developed the guitar like no one before him.
The Edge and Jack White’s face turn to child-like smiles as Jimmy Page picks up his guitar and starts strumming to “In My Time of Dying.” To see all three of these great guitarists playing along to this classic Led Zep tune was very spiritual and electrifying. And then the trio jams to U2’s “I Will Follow” and The White Stripe’s “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.” It doesn’t get better than this people.
U2 including The Edge have won over 20 something Grammys. Because of all the great contributions the band does off stage, U2 was awarded Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award in 2006.
Jack White is a multi-Grammy award winner for works he’s accomplished with his first major band, The White Stripes with big sister, Meg White. White has added not one, but two additional highly acclaimed bands, the Raconteurs and most recently, The Dead Weather. All three bands are released on White’s Third Man Records.
The director, Davis Guggenheim, also directed and executive produced the 2007 Academy Award winning “An Inconvenient Truth.”
If you love rock and roll, run to see “It Might Get Loud.” It is truly inspiring!
LONG LIVE ROCK!
IN MEMORY OF
Les Paul June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009
It Might Get Loud press kit on official website