Sunday, October 18, 2009
Movie review: Jack White vs Page and the Edge in It Might Get Loud at RFC this week, through Thurs
White quickly claims the upper ground. He was from a poorer family than the other guys and he has been successful while playing utterly crappy guitars. He also launched his career by performing and recording with Meg White, a woman who could barely sing or play drums.
Mississippi bluesman Son House (1902 - 88) is White's hero.
The Son House shout-out would seem to be an opening for Page, who built most of Led Zeppelin's catalog by reworking Delta bluesmen's tunes. But, nada. Maybe he's still in denial about his adaptations. Back in the day, Zeppelin had to be sued for stealing material from Howlin' Wolf.
We learn about Page's background in skiffle and pop, but the historic thread dies. Sadly, there's another spurious moment: Page implies that the 12-string/6-string double-neck he played in concerts on Stairway to Heaven was a guitar created for his needs on that 1971 tune. Argh. The EDS 1275 used by Page had been introduced by Gibson in 1962.
The stolid Edge is the mystery. How was it that he and Bono squitched their niche in pop music? He is smart enough to keep his guitar parts bone-simple. They are entertaining mainly through his canny use of electronic effects, he seems to say.
The 90-minute documentary is entertaining because we get some of the background on 3 of the most successful men in the history of guitar. Millionaires all three.
Don't expect any depth.
Do expect to be mesmerized by the savvy crap spewed by White, who is as interested in conning us as he is in screaming the blues.
Wish there had been less ruminating by Edge on the dock and by Page at a manor house and more speaking through loud guitar, bass and drums.
Through Thurs, Oct 22, at Robinson Film Center.