Guitar heroes Page, White and The Edge take filmmakers inside their homes, behind the caution tape
By Darrah Le Montre, staff writer
HOLLYWOOD, CA (RPRN/Hollywood Today) 6/23/2009â€” â€œWhat turns us on is pretty similar,â€ rock legend Jimmy Page told Hollywood Today at his party for â€œIt Might Get Loud.â€ He went on, â€œthe initial spark and why we played and what turned us onâ€¦what made us want to be part of musicâ€¦though we all come from slightly different musical genres was the same enticement.â€
Jimmy Page wrote a new song for the film, White makes a guitar out of a vacuum cleaner retractor chord, U2â€™s The Edge confesses his dire need to create music as a youth in Dublin. Three guitar gods. Reigning in different eras, but equally vital to music lovers everywhere, take cultural, societal and economic expanses and meet on camera in the new rockumentary, â€œIt Might Get Loud.â€
â€œI learned a lot, not only musically but about the other guys. They were wonderful,â€ Page expressed of the experiences rendered during the making of the film.
When asked to elucidate his idols, the legend Page answered, â€œOh, Iâ€™ve got many, many, many. I could talk about it all night.â€
The Sony Pictures Classic is produced by the same Oscar-winning team behind Al Goreâ€™s 2006 global warming harbinger, â€œAn Inconvenient Truth.â€
â€œItâ€™s a perfect follow up,â€ joked producer Leslie Chilcott about this searing look into electric guitar messiahs that took two years to make. Premiering at the Los Angeles Film Festival it bears candor in its title, with a warning music lovers live and die for.
â€œItâ€™s tough to listen to your own voice over and over,â€ White told Hollywood Today. Admitting it was a struggle at times without his former White Stripes counterpart or new band to accompany him in the film. â€œI wanted to flip my ears a little bit. Itâ€™s easier when I have some instrument to hide behind.â€
â€œIt was funny and there were so many profound moments,â€ added Chilcott, â€œlike seeing Jimmy Pageâ€™s alphabetized album collection and bootlegs organized by dates.â€ Noting that she thought the musicians, especially Page would have a lot of rules, she was thrilled to find that all three were â€œextremely generous and not many things were off-limits.â€
Uniquely candid, â€˜Loudâ€™ features the naked truth and off-center musical back story of a Detroit upholsterer, a painter from London and a Dublin school-boy who morph into modern musical rebels not to mention record breakers. â€œStairway to Heaven,â€ Led Zeppelinâ€™s 1971 uber-hit is the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States, despite never having been released as a single here.
One of the rockers documented in the exposition, White exemplifies how three different generations of electric guitar players rose to the pantheon of superstar. The 33-year-old dark-haired musician, who channeled Johnny Cash with his all-black attire and towering persona, said â€œI donâ€™t know where that got started,â€ dispelling rumors that he is beginning a solo album.
Having grown up listening to â€œSpanish music, Mexican music, Tejano music, polka musicâ€¦especially instrumental,â€ White also admitted there were things he learned from the other guitar icons in the film that he wouldnâ€™t tell anyone about. Joking that these treasures may or may not include criminal activity.
Known to be quite private, Jack is promoting the rock film â€˜Loudâ€™ and his new band The Dead Weatherâ€™s album and tour. The Dead Weather is led by The Kills front-woman Alison Mosshart. White assumes drums and vox, while The Raconteurs bassist Jack Lawrence and Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Dean Fertita round the four-piece out.
Nashville resident, White also has a documentary out, â€œThe White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lightsâ€ that profiles the bandâ€™s groundbreaking Canadian Icky Thump tour with former band mate, ex-wife Meg White. The duo reserves bragging rights for hitting up each and every province and territory there. Something no other musician in history has charted previously.
Ranked in the top 20 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone and considered widely as having a gift from above, White was earthy and personable telling HT that his musical influences are broad.
â€œOh, there are so many,â€ said the father of two. â€œA couple of them are in this film.â€ Outside the film, he revealed that one of his major influences musically is Blind Willie Johnson (1897-1945). Johnson helped bring blues to white America.
White, who took his ex-wife Megâ€™s last name upon marriage and kept it despite his second marriage, to fashion model Karen Elson, explained the filmâ€™s draw in certain terms. â€œIf they like music and they want to dig a little deeperâ€ they will enjoy it. â€œThey donâ€™t have to be a musician.â€
Though White â€” whose direction in music seems fated, alluded to his passion to become a priest, and the alternate road he so nearly took. Reconciling that the thing came between him and a priestly collar was one small interruption that has changed music history. â€œIt was only that I didnâ€™t think I could bring my guitar into the seminary I got into that I didnâ€™t go.â€
Academy Award-nominated actress Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas) and wife of producer Davis Guggenheim said of the film, â€œIt inspires you on many levels, not just in your head.â€
She described her newest film, a horror thriller called â€œPiranha 3Dâ€ as â€œvery realistic. I was surprised at how gory it really is.â€ She assured Hollywood Today that she sleeps OK at night after shooting scenes as the local sheriff in a town where piranhas infest a fictional Lake Victoria. Also out soon for Shue is â€œWaking Madisonâ€ in which she slipped into the role of psychiatrist to actress Sarah Roemer, playing a young woman suffering from multiple personality disorder.
Producer Davis Guggenheim was fascinated by the common thread that connected the three in the film saying, â€œEach one of these guys was not raised in a place of artistic privilege. Jimmy was in a home where there happened to be a guitar in the corner. It was an ornament. Jack lived in a Mexican town where no one played an instrument. Edge was in Dublin.
â€œThese guys had a need to create, despite all these obstacles. Guitar is just so quintessential to rebellion and aggression.â€
In terms of how much creative control he exerted, Davis revealed, â€œthe more I know and the power I have to do whatever I want, the more I get out of the lens and I let the people in story tell the story and I help guide it along. If something great is happening, like Jimmy writing an original song for the movie or Jack writing a song on camera, I just get out of the way.â€
In regard to Guggenheimâ€™s new documentary in the works about public education, teaming up once again with Chilcott, he informed, â€œItâ€™s a brand new angle, totally comprehensive, following families that are trying to find a good school for their kids.â€
Speaking about Michael Moore and his controversial reputation, David said, â€œI think heâ€™s a lot more aggressive with the truth than I would like to be. I wouldnâ€™t make the films he makes. I think heâ€™s broken ground, for people like me. It means that I can do what Iâ€™m doing. Itâ€™s a lot about taste. Like some musicians like other musicians.â€
How Page, The Edge and White were chosen for the exposition â€œwas organic,â€ Guggenheim explained.
For hard-core fans, Hollywood Today was assured the DVD will feature lots of outtakes, a lot of music, a lot of Led Zeppelin, a lot of U2, a lot of White Stripes and will also include commentary.
Photo: Jennifer Cawley