By contributor Patrick Zabriskie
Review: About three years ago, during an especially mundane Christmas break, I found myself bored enough that I taught myself how to play guitar. Naturally, I started off rather clumsy and unsure of myself; the fact that I was learning on a cheap acoustic didn’t help matters. Over the next few months, though, I gradually got better on it, learning more complex songs and improving my technique. Then, for my 16th birthday, my aunt bought me an electric guitar. I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up into the early hours of the morning playing it. I would dream at night about it. Many moons have passed since that time, and I still can barely put it down.
I say all this not to boast or because I think people particularly care about my own experience with guitar; rather, I say it to show how personal an experience I’ve had with the instrument. It’s something near and dear to me, and I truly love it. After watching the documentary It Might Get Loud, I found out I wasn’t alone.
Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White are three famous guitarists from three legendary rock bands. It Might Get Loud sits them down to discuss their passion for the electric guitar and for music in general. There is a real beauty in how this documentary examines each guitarist’s unique approach to the same instrument. The Edge relies heavily on effects and technology to produce the “perfect” sound; Jack White takes a simpler approach, creating rawer, unpolished jams. Jimmy Page mixes a plethora of styles into his own distinctive sound. Though each has his own spin on it, they all love the guitar with the same burning passion.
Learning how similar these musicians’ experiences with the guitar were to my own was touching. Jack White, the Edge, and Jimmy Page weren’t always superstars; they struggled when they first started learning. They got giddy when they got their first real guitars. They stayed up late in the night playing guitar only to dream about it when they finally fell asleep. Just like me. And there is the true magic of this film—that it takes three men whom most of us worship as cultural deities, symbolic of all we want to be and achieve, and brings them down for two hours to show us that they aren’t quite so different from the rest of us. They are human; they are relatable.
This film is a love letter to anyone who enjoys the guitar or music in general. The film boasts an impressive soundtrack, obviously containing Led Zeppelin, U2, and White Stripes songs but also featuring lesser known blues and rock artists as well. Good music, good guitarists, good directing. Great Film. Those who enjoy rock and roll ought to check it out.