I was finally able to find some time to watch — “It Might Get Loud” — the “guitar documentary” starring Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge.  I bought the Blu-ray version and it was not worth the extra money.  The movie is grainy and not sharply defined.  When the boys are inside under proper lighting, the movie looks okay, but all the second and third unit shoots just look awful.


Jimmy Page is the star of the movie.  We want more of him.  He has so much more history and talent than Jack and Edge combined that we wonder why those two are in the movie with him.

When the movie focuses on Jack or Edge — we begin to nod off with boredom.  There were never two more expressionless and rag doll dullards invented for the screen than those two.

Jimmy shines and mesmerizes.  He is able to do that because of the wealth of his talent and his rich ability to explain just how the magic of music is invented within him and how it is able to find its way out to us still in its pristine form.

My favorite scene in the movie is when Jimmy is at home surrounded by white wall-to-wall bookshelves filled with vinyl albums, and he plays for us — on a record player — his favorite Blues guitar riffs and he performs his Air Guitar rendition of the song right along with the record.  Pure joy.  We love him.

Here is the greatest scene of the movie that is not in the movie. This scene found in the “Deleted Scenes” section of the DVD and it stars our immortal headmaster Jimmy Page teaching the two dullards how to play Kashmir and when the two schoolboys start to catch on, and follow the master, the wall of sound created is beautiful, crashing and cascading.

As the sound begins to increase with all three playing, be sure watch around 2:20 as Jimmy walks to his right a little bit to turn on a stompbox to change the sound of his guitar to a subtle, crying, “Wah-Wah” sort of reverb and his strumming pattern changes for just a strum or two and it’s over by 2:27 and — BANGO! — right there in that moment… you have the SuperGenius magic of Jimmy Page revealed.  He gives you a second bite from 3:01 to 3:13.

The problem with “It Might Get Loud” is that there is just not enough Jimmy Page.  You could take that cut scene lesson from Kashmir, loop it for 90 minutes, and you’d have a much more powerful, resonant and inspiring movie than what is currently playing.

“Less is never more” when it comes to watching and learning from Jimmy Page and instead of celebrating that universal truth, the movie tends to repress Jimmy in favor of the younger and the less talented — I’m thinking of that awful acoustic guitar scene where Jack and Edge since an unbearable rendering of “The Weight” by The Band, and Jimmy is left to only sit there and strum along because he doesn’t sing — and that makes one cry in outrage rather than play along in celebration.

12 Comments

  1. The youtube clip does reveal the brilliance of Jimmy Page but it’s sad to see him getting sandwiched between two mediocre musicians. The experience doesn’t sound appealing, sorry about that.

  2. I am biased. I will admit it. I am a huge fan of both the White Stripes and the Raconteurs and have a paid premium membership that says so. 🙂 Jimmy is, however, still light years above them both.

  3. I’d be curious to see what you think of Jack in the movie, Gordon. The film does seem to be generational: Jimmy in the early 70’s, Edge in the late 80’s, Jack in the late 90’s… so I should be pulling for Edge, but Jimmy outstrips them both in terms of magnitude and passion.
    How many fan memberships do you have? How do you feel about Jack’s lies about his real name and his singing with his “sister” that never was?
    There’s a scene in the movie where he’s bleeding all over his guitar because he’s playing it so hard and the blood everywhere is so overdone… it clots and drips down on vibrating strings… that the gag quickly turns one off from anything he has to say because he’s trying too hard to be important and neat. Artists suffer — but some pretend artists only pretend to suffer.

  4. David,
    I’m currently a member of two groups: Third Man Record Vault, and the Ten Club. The former covers all bands that are under the Third Man Record label including The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather — all Jack White bands — and other musicians. Every three months I pony up $60 and they send me super cool stuff that can’t be had anywhere else as well as access to videos and a plethora of other stuff.
    The Ten Club is a lot cheaper but it only involves the 7″ record single once a year and a magazine that they really don’t send as often as they say they do.
    I’m okay with the Jack White lie actually. It must have been odd to take his wife’s name, or maybe his management at the time told him that it would be strange for mainstream America to have a husband that took his wife’s name. Either way, I almost never care about the personal to-dos of artists and focus on the work they produce instead. 🙂

  5. So neat, Gordon!
    The Jack White lie I am most interested in was the pointed and public one where he said Meg was his sister — when she was not — and then he later married her and divorced her. What was the point? Why stake such an important lie to only have it render you later?

  6. Maybe he was just that not thrilled with his birth surname? Or thought it would make for a more interesting band story? Musicians are a silly lot sometimes. 🙂

  7. He’s pretty much confessed he did it for a “mind-f*ck” for his audience and, later, he then said he did it because he thought audiences would think it was cute and the press wouldn’t harass him about having a romantic interest in her. It all sort of blowed up in his face, though. A lie is a lie.

  8. Makes the ideology of “The Residents” seem praiseworthy, I guess. They’re a band that has been playing for 30+years and yet almost nobody knows the actual identities of the musicians. They are known just for the music they make.