Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Light and Shade

Just got back from seeing "It Might Get Loud", a documentary about the electric guitar as seen through the eyes of three artists from three different generations - Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White.

Jimmy Page, of course, is the founder and leader of Led Zeppelin. If you don't know who they are and want to find out, I envy you. Every track on every record was a revelation to me in my formative yerars and they continue to inspire me to this day. The Edge was born Dave Evans, and is a member of U2, who everybody probably does know about. Jack White is the leader of the guitar/drums duo "The White Stripes" and has several side projects including the excellent band "The Raconteurs".

The film explores the different paths that each man took with the guitar in his hand, and how the relatively purist view sits White's style, the modern effect-laden tack that Edge prefers defines the sound of U2 and that Jimmy Page is simply the finest guitarist/musician of his era and can walk comfortably in both camps.

Lots of cool conversations, flashback history lessons and verbal and musical jamming ensue. Page at one point states that great music comes from musicians who are passionate, honest and competent. So true.

I was a little surprised to find that I liked all three guys more after the movie, especially since Page is already my very favorite guitar player of all time. His quiet manner, humble interaction and the joyous look on his face as he played the vinyl 45 record of Link Wray's "Rumble" - when 50 years fell off his face and you saw the young Page grooving to the beat of that classic instrumental - was fantastic. The Edge admits that what he does is technically simple once the machines are turned off, but he has those machines tuned like a fine sports car and in his hands they become, as he claims "my voice". Brilliant. White has used his tough early years to embrace deep, gut-bucket Blues which he "disguises" as White Stripes, when "all we're trying to do is play like Son House".

Go see this movie.

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