'It Might Get Loud' premiere
is the talk of Sundance
MINDS OF ROCK GODS: Davis Guggenheim, left, and
Jack White of the White Stripes, right, are part of
a movie that makes you want to play your guitar very
loud. / Photo by Ben Hansen
By Ben Hansen, special contributor
January 19, 2009 | There are times when you see a
movie that makes you want to take action. Rocky
made us want to fight. Rudy made us believe
in ourselves. It Might Get Loud makes us want
to play that classic CD and crank the volume up, or
pick up a guitar -- any guitar.
Friday morning at 9, the Temple Theater in Park City
began showing movies for the first time ever at the
Sundance film festival, and we "Temple virgins"
who were lucky enough to get into the show watched the
building transform into the Temple of Rock.
Rarely can a film penetrate the glamorous surface
of rock legends. It Might Get Loud tells the
personal stories, in their own words, of three generations
of electric guitar virtuosos -- The Edge (U2), Jimmy
Page (Led Zeppelin), and Jack White (The White Stripes).
It reveals how each developed his unique sound and style
of playing favorite instruments, guitars both found
and invented. Concentrating on the artist's musical
rebellion, traveling with him to influential locations,
provoking rare discussions as to how and why he writes
and plays, this film lets you witness intimate moments
and hear new music from each artist. The movie revolves
around a day when Jimmy Page, Jack White and the Edge
first met and sat down together to share their stories,
teach and play.
The film wastes no time drawing in the audience as
we quietly observe Jack White inventing a makeshift
one-string slide instrument comprised of only a board,
a Coke bottle, wire, nails, a pickup, and an amp. You
immediately get the feeling that this film is going
to be something special.
An incredible overall feeling is achieved with the
matching of these three brilliant musicians. Each contrasts
such a different style, bringing many different elements
to the table. Jack is quoted at one point as saying,
"All three of us get together . . . what's going
to happen? Probably a fist-fight."
Page, the master of the rock guitar, is the admired
forefather of the group. He is seen referencing technical
aspects and terminology, and provides wisdom by both
his words and his playing that causes the other two
to look like kids at Christmas every time he gives them
a bit of his wisdom.
Edge is a master of sounds. He has shown that he can
take the dynamics of how guitar sound is delivered and
change them again and again, making him the technological
whiz of the bunch.
Jack White is a fundamental purist. He reads the message
in the music. He feels the art of backwards and simplicity
in many different styles of music.
Bring the three of them into the room together, and
watch the creativity flow. The three shared their licks
and jammed together in a threesome of rock gods on I
Will Follow by U2, Ramble On by Led Zeppelin,
and Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground by the
White Stripes, along with an impromptu slide guitar
jam. Each thoroughly seemed to enjoy the opportunity
to play with each other on their own tracks, almost
honored at the opportunity.
Another highlight of the show was the rare footage
shown from each of these artists early in their careers.
This included live footage of Jimmy Page playing Stairway
to Heaven from one of the early Led Zeppelin tours.
As I was able to witness the energy that came from him
while listening to an extended guitar solo played on
his double-necked Gibson SG guitar, the hair on my arms
started to stand up.
Film director and Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim
conducted a question and answer session in which he
was asked why he had created this movie. His response
was simple - "So many rock 'n' roll movies are
like car wrecks, about tragedies. I wanted to make a
documentary on what rock is all about."
As I sit here with my guitar this morning trying to
remember some of the guitar tricks I picked up, I realized
that no words could better describe this show. This
was truly what rock 'n' roll is all about. Well done,
It Might Get Loud will be released this summer
by Sony pictures. You won't want to miss it.