Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stray thoughts on "In Might Get Loud"

There was a time in my life when I was unhealthily obsessed with Led Zeppelin. I was the kid from this amazing Onion article. From age 16-18, it was an all-consuming obsession that was far more impressive to me than it was to anyone else. I'd get next level with it even, making assertions like "Physical Graffiti side 3 is superior in every way" and "Carouselambra is the most underrated Zep tune".

Anyway, that's long since waned although I still hold the band in the highest of regard. There's just very little new ground to cover. Sure, there was the one off reunion show, but attending was out of the question. That Mothership greatest hits compilation came out, but that smacked of cash-grab on the part of the label.

The only Zep-related event that piqued my interest as of late was the release of It Might Get Loud, the Page-produced rawkumentary that covered a conference of three prominent guitarists: Page, U2's The Edge, and Jack White. It came out over a year ago, but I just got around to catching it this weekend, tardy as always. This is surprising given my one-time Zeppelin obsession, my love of the White Stripes, and my....uh...awareness that U2 exists?

Here are my thoughts, Larry King style.
  • Jack White is a strange guy.
  • Jack White is also a fantastic musician. How cool was it when he made the electric guitar out of a bottle and a stick, or whatever it was?
  • Jimmy Page looks pretty good for a guy who's done that much heroin and cocaine.
  • While The Edge is the clear outlier here as far as I'm concerned, I think he seemed the most down to earth of the bunch. Jack White seems just as mysterious and in-character as you might imagine, and Jimmy Page is kind of a goofy old guy. Not that I blame him. Look, he's Jimmy Page: He's spent his entire life being unthinkably awesome. What does he care?
  • In a nice touch, the three played an acoustic version of "The Weight" to finish off the documentary. Am I crazy, or were they botching the lyrics of the chorus? I distinctly thought I heard "Take a load off Annie" (instead of Fannie).
  • White tried to play it cool, but we all saw him crack that boyish grin when Pagey was showing them the riff to "Whole Lotta Love".
  • The writers/interviewers did a good job of asking Page about some of most storied Zeppelin trivia, like how he wrote "Stairway to Heaven" and how they got the drum sound on "When The Levee Breaks".
  • Speaking of that album, I loved listening to Page's attempt at humility when talking about the poor critical reception of Zeppelin IV, which is arguably one of the greatest rock albums ever released. He said something along the lines of "One reviewer only wrote a paragraph on the album! This is the album with 'Black Dog', 'Stairway', and 'Levee'. It obviously had some, uh, material." Translation: "Not my fault those retards ignored an album full of the most bad-ass rock and roll ever recorded."
  • It really made me want to dig out one of my electric guitars, which I almost never touch, and shred for a bit. But then I realize I don't have any decent means of amplification (a 10 watt Crate amp doesn't count). And I'm not that great at shredding anymore. Ah well, pick your battles!
So anyway, recommend it if you have a spare hour. It's on Netflix instant play, so queue it up!

1 comment:

Dougo said...

My musical interests seem to run pretty much in the same vein.

New music I have been enjoying lately: The new releases by Los Lobos (Tin Can Trust) and The Black Keys (Brothers). Also - I'm anxiously awaiting the new Jason Isbell.

I'll definitely have to check out It Might Get Loud.