It Might Get Loud
At least according to my friends. That’s the year I quit listening to the ’80s pop that was saturating the airwaves at the time and set my dial to the local classic rock station (KWIC 108 The Rock in Beaumont, TX). I got into Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rush (which my brother had turned me on to), Queen and other bands that my friends thought were just… weird.
I even started reading Rolling Stone magazine. (A habit that would have been stopped immediately had my parents thumbed through just one issue.) I got quite an education from that magazine. For one thing, rock stars cuss. A lot. But I loved reading about musicians and their music. I loved reading the stories behind their songs.
I used to fantasize about being a writer for Rolling Stone. A rock ‘n’ roll journalist. I still think it would be cool. To immerse myself in this energetic, toxic, ever-expanding art and find out what fuels it – what makes it tick. I’m fascinated by the fact that all music is connected. Sit down with a music history professor and he can trace any artist’s music back for centuries and across the continents. Music is an infinite science. It’s basic and complex at the same time. Only seven notes exist in the musical alphabet, but there is no end to the stories that can be told through those seven notes.
This is why, at Redbox the other night, my heart skipped when I saw that “It Might Get Loud” was available. This is a documentary featuring three musicians from three generations, three countries and three distinctively different styles of rock. Jimmy Page from Zeppelin, The Edge from U2 and Jack White of White Stripes. These three guitarists sit down and talk about the passion for their art and the factors that influenced their styles.
I hid away in my room and watched the film, hanging on every word. Jimmy Page telling about the house his family moved into when he was a child. The previous owners left a guitar behind and he decided to learn how to play. The Edge opening an old box of tapes, popping one into a player and an early sketch of "Where the Streets Have No Name" flowing out of the speaker. (That part got me teary.) How Jack White accumulated so much music equipment as a teen that he moved his bed out of his room and slept on the floor, surrounded by drums and guitars and amps.
And speaking of weird, Jack White is WEIRD. But he’s intensely creative – probably more creative than the other two combined. Out of the three, I’m least familiar with his music, but his voice and perspective intrigued me the most.
There are “artists,” many of whom exist in the pop genre, who produce music to fuel their own fame. But then there are the true artists – the ones who make music because they don’t know how not to. Page, Edge and White are three of these, and “It Might Get Loud” is an enlightening glimpse into the concepts, experiences and influences behind their music.
One more thought: I recall hearing rumors that Jimmy Page has basically been reduced to a slobbering invalid by years of drug use. Not true. The man’s actually looking pretty good. He’s one of the lucky ones.