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Guitar gods

Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White get ‘Loud.’


JAMMING: The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White in 'It Might Get Loud.'
  • JAMMING: The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White in 'It Might Get Loud.'

Think of it as “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” for fans of rock and blues guitar. You take one of the elder gods of rock 'n' roll, a middle-aged Irishman with a penchant for sparse chords and a heavily effects-driven style, and a young and self-consciously arrogant garage rock icon, and let them talk about their music and their instruments for a couple of hours. That's “It Might Get Loud,” the new — documentary? Fan film, more like — starring Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White. And you know what? It's pretty damn fun.

It might not be everything you hope for. If you play and are looking for insight as to how these guys do what they do, you'll be disappointed. There's not a terrible lot of discussion about technique. Likewise, if you're wanting to sit and listen to these guys rock out with their ahems out for two hours. There's awesome music, but it's pretty much all excerpts, only one whole song that I can recall. They jam together, and it gets really good when they do, but they don't do it enough. This is not a guitar primer, and it's not a concert film.

Instead it's a Song of Solomon to the guitar, with three of its most distinctive and distinguished masters talking (and, yes, playing) philosophically about their Beloved, and on that level it works. Their enthusiasm is infectious — if you ever were that 10-year-old kid with a tennis racket and a Zeppelin record, you'll likely become him again during this movie.

Page is all grins and pink cheeks, a silver-haired little boy who can't wait to show you his record collection and talk about that time Bonham played drums in the stairwell. The Edge is as low-key and laser-focused as ever, at least until Page starts playing the riff from “Whole Lotta Love,” when he literally jumps out of his chair. And Jack White? Actually sympathetic in places. I know, right?

Seriously, though, White proves he's earned his place in the room, playing some of the nastiest slide guitar I've heard in a while. And self-important though he may be, he is as in love as the others, every bit as much the child, and hey, the kid's really good.

Oh, I guess I should talk about the movie too. It's competently directed and edited, a pretty solid piece of filmmaking that is mostly content to get out of the way and let the men and their music do the talking. That's as it should be, I think. Nothing here needs to be dressed up. Again, I'd rather we had a bit more time with them playing together, and I don't know why the hell they chose “The Weight” to be the one whole song they play, but otherwise it's very well put together.

There's nothing terribly profound here, nothing life-changing (though it may stir up a bit of “I wish I could do that” jealousy), just a whole lot of fun, a few laughs and some damn good music.

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