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March 4, 2011

over this last week, i finally got to finish it might get loud. i’m not the biggest fan of documentaries, but i really did enjoy this one. granted, i’m fanatical about led zeppelin, i might be biased. okay mainly i exploded whenever old footage of robert plant flashed across the screen. anyway, this is a film with jimmy page, the edge, and jack white, and it’s all about the guitar – playing the guitar, the aesthetics of the guitar, their own histories with the guitar, how the guitar shaped them and how they shaped guitar music. they are three extremely different musicians – one low-slung rock n’roller, one OCD be-hatted “sound architect”, one honky-tonk raw-blues howler.


interesting choices, these three.

jimmy page, of course, is fucking miles above the other two (bias. bias!!!!!) and the edge comes off as a bit of a dickhead, really, but to see three such different guitar players get together in one room and talk was very fascinating. they all slighted each other, all the time – the edge complaining that bands of the olden days had “ten minute long guitar solos” (this has zeppelin written all over it), jack white subtly scoffing at the fancy equipment and gadgets and instead using guitars made out of plastic, out of a block of wood and a glass bottle for a bridge. three egos like that – things happen.


there is one scene which really amazed me.

page, white, and edge all play along to zeppelin’s “in my time of dying” – that opening yowl of a guitar riff.

it’s tough to tell what these men are playing. the documentary doesn’t tell you, and of course, that is going to be the main reason for their different sounds – their equipment. i’m not a guitar fanatic so i can’t tell. i thought that page was playing a vintage les paul but who knows. they play different guitars throughout the whole thing anyway. and i can’t find a lip of it on youtube so you’re going to have to probably rent it to see it but the point of the matter is this: the three men play this same song – jimmy leading, the other two following along – and it sounds so different.


jimmy page.


page leads with a rude sounding, rough reverb. but white comes in with a twangy response, and it echoes. and the edge makes his melody simplistic, just the notes, clear and crisp. they’re all playing the exact same thing. but it’s so different at the same time. i can hear the melody of “in my time of dying” but each guitarist is seriously giving it their own particular flair.

it reassured me. because i realised that while i didn’t really feel the edge’s version, i loved page’s version, and white’s version was pretty good, too. i realised that some people are just meant to play some things, and others are meant to play other things. there’s a reason why the edge doesn’t play rude, scratchy rock songs, just the same as there’s a reason why white doesn’t play delicate, sound-layered echoic songs. people are suited to things, obviously.


jimmy page, too.


it’s the same for writing, yeah? that some people are meant to write specific stories and tell specific stories. you get struck with some big old creative inspiration and you think yesssssss this is going to be so good and you draw from the things around you and the specific things that influence you, and you try to make it your own. and so maybe there’s a reason for why you in particular are the one to tell that story. and if someone has already told that story – then you are giving a different feel, a different sound to it. and maybe it’s “better” and maybe it’s “worse” but someone out there is going to like it a whole lot.


i leave you with a clip of the MASTER rocking it to whole lotta love. i love this clip because of the looks on the faces of jack white and the edge. pure admiration. you go jimmy page! you look like my grampa but you still are rocking it!!!

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