I rented It Might Get Loud, a 2009 music documentary featuring Jimmy Page (born 1944), The Edge (1961), and Jack White (1975). If you know who these people are and think you might like it, you almost certainly will. I have one really important piece of advice for those who are going to watch it.

It’s really a nice movie; the bulk is slow-paced soft-spoken autobiopic giving the three life/music back-stories. The people and stories are all interesting but not at all like each other. This is more or less a love-fest; there’s no journalism or muckraking happening.

There are little bits of whimsical animation and off-the-wall scriptwriting at work, to keep things from being too linear. Plus decent concert footage of each artist’s bands at work; most I’d seen before, but there was some alarming sequence with Jack apparently bleeding from the fingers during the Raconteurs’ Blue Vein rave-up.

My fave parts were Page playing air guitar and grinning cherubically to Link Wray’s cheesy old Rumble; Edge explaining how little of his sound comes from the guitar and how much comes from the effects boxes; and White telling about his career in upholstery.

There movie doesn’t actually have that much of them playing together (but wait for that hint I promised); they take serious runs at In My Time of Dying and (of all things) The Weight, albeit with only two-part harmonies.

That Hint · If you watch this and like it at all, you absolutely must go through the bonus features’ “deleted scenes”. Which include:

  • Page explains how Kashmir came to be, and all three play a few choruses.

  • White explains how Seven Nation Army came to be, and all three play a few choruses.

  • A few cheap Stairway To Heaven laughs; yes, Edge can play it, but not straight-faced.

  • A really nice solo acoustic instrumental from Page.



Contributions

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From: Justin Watt (Jan 24 2010, at 00:38)

I saw it in the theater, which I would generally consider superior to a DVD showing, but darn-it if I didn't miss out on the special features!

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From: Paul Ellis (Jan 24 2010, at 15:36)

Saw it on a plane the other day and agree it was tasty. Didn't realize how talented Jack White is - his pop hits don't do justice. I echo your quip that if you think you might like it you will. Well said.

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From: Derek K. Miller (Jan 25 2010, at 10:51)

Agh! You just reminded me that I forgot to recommend the DVD extras in my own review a few days ago:

http://www.penmachine.com/2010/01/review-it-might-get-loud

Ah well.

The thing I really noticed is how _different_ The Edge's playing remains. Except perhaps for distortion and feedback, most guitarists layer effects on top of a sound that would still be recognizable without them: you can play "Seven Nation Army" or "Black Dog" on an classical guitar and they are still recognizably the same song.

But for The Edge, the effects are more often integrated into how he creates the music, so that "Bad" or "Where the Streets Have No Name" or "Even Better Than the Real Thing" require electricity and electronics to be what they are. I guess that's one reason his sounds are so instantly recognizable.

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From: David Magda (Jan 25 2010, at 15:28)

Having all three riffing on "In My Time of Dying" towards the end of the film was just awesome. The audio guys must have been just having the time of their lives during the shooting of this film.

I didn't mind all the talking that each of the three did, but would have liked more jamming between the three.

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From: Dan Connolly (Jan 27 2010, at 23:12)

On Edge's stuff needing effects... that's certainly my experience. I used to tinker around with "Bad" on an acoustic... I could hear all the effects in my head... but my roommate had no idea what I was trying to play.

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