It Might Get Loud (2008) Directed by Davis Guggenheim
Ok, confession: I didn't see the whole of this film. I floated in and out. I love electric guitars and the sounds they make. I'm just not so interested in the sounds these particular guys featured in It Might Get Loud make with their six stringed instruments. So, Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge (WTF is that name?) didn't pique my interest enough to sit through all of this. If it was Sterling Morrison, Stephen Malkmus or St. Vincent I might have been tempted. I was even more surprised that Astrid was into watching it.
We get Jack White building a one string electric guitar out of some wire and some crude pieces of wood (impressive). We get Jimmy Page being well spoken and not mentioning Led Zeppelin debauchery. We get The Edge playing on the seas edge with the biggest natural reverb known to man. This is all quite good. Jack builds on his own mythology and revels in his role as the young(ish) pretender and new(ish) guitar god on the block. Jimmy is the guy who played the guitars on Stairway To Heaven, so he's quietly confident that he is THE guitar god (probably true). The Edge is modesty personified and is the least twiddly/wanky on the guitar, so probably my favourite in this sometimes embarrassing context.
But there really are scenes that are incredibly uncomfortable to watch in It Might Get Loud. These are the ones where our three guitar slinging protagonists stand around in a circle and play each others well known songs...i.e in their own unique styles. These scenes defy belief and involve a lot of the aforementioned wanking, ego jostling and a sense that no one is really that into anyone else's songs. Where It Might Get Loud works is when the focus is on each individual member and they all – in their own way – reveal something endearing and interesting about themselves. The Edge plays mostly everything he does on two strings with a big delay/reverb and is merely competent (and the one who's riffs I could probably play). I like him – seems a nice enough sort. It Might Get Loud never really gets loud, but it kills a bit of time entertainingly regardless of weather you're a fan of these people or not.
It might come as a surprise to some (and myself?) that I am a nerd. The kind of nerd who gets excited about old guitarists revealing their secrets, the technical details, gear, philosophy la-di-daa...Really, I should not be interested in It Might Get Loud. The thought of three guitarists discussing their heroics and their personal relationships to their instruments should make me puke. On most days I would turn away from the documentary after 5 minutes. The comparison of a guitar to a woman's body is just too much. On the right day though, the doc makes me want to pick up a guitar myself, or at least to make some noise.
Oh yeah, so It Might Get Loud actually inspired me. Watching Jack White, Jimmy Page and even the Edge reminded me of the passion inside of me. The need to express through music. Hell, that's a tireless demanding feeling when it won't die even when you are a new mama and there is no time for A n y t h-i n g. Jack White was young and cocky. He goofed around pretentiously, yet he truly revealed himself and his geek-ness. Jimmy Page was sweet and gentle and somehow super sexy, so I forgave him and his mates for sticking the shark stuff here and there decades ago...besides Page is a genius and Led Zep were my heroes as a teenager (another sign of my music nerd-y-ness). The Edge. Yes, he was almost punk because you realize he can't play terribly well yet he is always distinctly sounding like U2.
Guitars and guys. Such a gendered thought. Where am I? Why do I care? I'm planning to make a lifetime's instrument scoop, but it ain't a guitar (it's a piano of course). Instruments have souls. They are all different and they have stories and plots in them. That's why it matters what I get. And it matters that Jack White wanted to be challenged by his instruments. He want's to fight with them (on stage).
I've had enough fighting and clumsiness with my piano. I'm holding my breath for a new opening. I'll keep attacking the guitar though, every now and again. Just so you know.