“It Might Get Loud” Up Close with Jimmy Page, “U2’s” “The Edge”, and Jack White, “White Stripes”/”The Raconteurs”

August 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

What happens when three diverse, yet influential electric guitar virtuosos, from ages spanning across three generations, meet for the first time at length to discuss and tour their hometowns, upbringings, how their bands formed,  political instability and social setbacks, their methods to their musical madness, and living room like jam sessions?

On Jan 23, 2008, self taught guitarist, producer, composer, and founder of Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page, known for his bow, slide guitar, eastern scales, acoustic guitar, double neck in addition to inventive recording techniques, David Howell Evans, /U2’s “The Edge”, originally from Barking, London 8/8/61, moved to Dublin, Ireland when he was one, went to school at Mount Temple, where he met Bono, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, when he answered an ad on the school’s bulletin board, later formed U2 in 1978, and is known for his crystalline minimalist guitar playing, making use of repeat echo/original and distinctive guitar styles in Rock and Roll History, and Jack White from the “White Stripes”/with his sister Meg, display their love of Delta blues, and punk with influences from Buzzcocks, Sid Vicious, Ramones, Son House, and Spinal Tap in their albums “Elephant”, “Get Behind Me Satan”, “Icky Thump”, and who later went on to form “The Raconteurs” talk and play in an intimate living room like movie set/recording studio, the result, new rockumentary by Director, Davis Guggenheim, “It Might Get Loud”.

The film begins with Jack White in a country farmhouse making a homemade guitar while stating, “Who needs to buy a guitar?”

Q: Jack White: “What do you think will happen when the three of you, Jimmy Page, The Edge and you meet?
A: Jack White: “Probably a fist fight.”

Jimmy Page admitted the guitar is like a woman, that he caresses it like a woman, while The Edge discusses how he drives everyone crazy, even driving himself , to get the right sound.”

Director: Davis Guggenheim

Director and exec producer “An Inconvenient Truth”, “Gracie”, “Deadwood”, “The Unit”, “The Shield”, “Alias”, “24”, “NYPD Blue”, “ER, and “Party of Five”. His latest, “It Might Get Loud”, premiered at The Toronto Film Festival 2008.
Q: How did you choose, Jimmy Page, Edge and Jack White?
A: “We sat down and picked guitarists. They were our first choices.  We never thought we would get Jimmy Page. I met with Burnstein in New York, who said, “these guys never say yes”.  I flew to London, met with Jimmy Page, who said, “Yes, sure.”
I’m a big believer in timing, and I think this was the right timing, right point in his life.”

Q: Did you want any other guitarists?
A: “We didn’t want any one else, those were the three.  We wanted 3 guitarists who not only can play guitar, but who can talk about it also.”

Q:  Would you get the same movie if you used Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, and Slash?
A: “No, but it’s intuitive, I go by instinct. Jimmy Page has a spirit about him, he is still searching, trying to find his voice.”
“The Edge is a scientist, a madman behind the electronics, an artist.  When I see him in concert, I am amazed at the scientist turned artist.”

Comment: Bob/Atlantic Records/worked with Led Zeppelin:  “Jimmy Page rarely articulates in the way he did in the film. He wanted to talk about what all those records meant to him.”

Director: Davis
Q: How did you go about recording?
A: “I didn’t set the stage, I didn’t know what I wanted.  No rock historians, no exgirlfriends in the film.  I have hours of recordings of the three of them playing together.  I have them playing “Kashmir” and “Bullet the Blue Sky” (not used in the film).

Q: What made you end with “The Wait”.
A: ” I wanted to hear acoustic, and “The Last Waltz” was one of my favorite movies.”

Q:  Was there an intimate chemistry between them?  Did you need an icebreaker?
A: “I called it a summit”. A musical summit.  It took them so long to get them together to get the dates right.  I didn’t want them to see each other. They were uneasy for the first two hours, until Edge asked Jimmy to play “Whole Lotta Love.”, and I told the cameraman to start filming.  Their styles couldn’t be more different.  U2 plays to click track, Jimmy Page plays 20 minute solo’s whatever he wants.”

Q: Favorite moments from the film?
A: “There are so many.  We were filming in Jimmy Page’s home outside 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.

We were filming Jack in Austin, TX 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.

Or 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.

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.

Another time, Jimmy played us previews of two new tracks he was writing, both of which actually ended up in the movie.

Q: What was the most challenging part of shooting the film?
A: “The most challenging part of the project was weaving these three stories together.  Each guitarist comes from a different generation, has different roots, different theories, sometimes in direct conflict of one another.  I had a hunch that inter cutting their stories would be really interesting, but was panicked at times, worried that it would never work.”

Q: “What do you hope audiences will experience while watching the film?”
A: “I hope the audience will fall in love with these guys as much as I did.  Not just as rock stars, that part is easy, but as individuals and artists who turned their individual life experiences into music, beautiful, raw, in your face, visceral, and transcedent. And I hope that audiences feel a touch of that child like excitement that Thomas sparked in me, that first day we sat down.”

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