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:: It Might Get Loud

I have always wanted to be able to play guitar. I remember dragging my Dad’s old, acoustic guitar out of the cupboard (on which he could only play the riff from Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water, by the way) and would try strum away tonelessly. That is, before giving up and realising – again – how hard it was to actually master the instrument. I don’t think I’m alone in this dream. No wonder most of us have been relegated to air guitar.

Still, the three artists in It Might Get Loud have not only mastered the guitar, they have conquered it – and, in doing so, have created their own distinctive, rockstar-worthy sounds. In an interesting premise for a “rockumentary”, three electric guitar virtuosos from different generations - U2’s The Edge, Jimmy Page, of Led Zeppelin fame, and The White Stripes star Jack White - are teamed up on the silver screen, showcasing their individual paths to fame.

All had rather humble beginnings. The Edge takes us back to the Dublin high school, where he responded to an ad on a notice board to join a band – which, luckily for him, turned out to be U2. He ponders that he could have ended up working in a bank if he hadn’t then met Bono and co. Music wasn’t something he’d decided upon as a career. White takes us back to Detroit, where he grew up as the youngest of 10 children and even took the bed out of his room to make space for his instruments, sleeping at an angle on the floor to accommodate them all. His musical preferences even as a teen were blues and 1960s rocks, while his peers were listening to electronica and hip hop. Page went to art school and worked as a studio session guitarist in London, before founding the English rock band, Led Zeppelin.

This film depicts how hard each worked to get to where they are - before we came to know them. It also demonstrates how each has had their own stamp on the instrument’s sound, including Page’s double-neck guitar, The Edge’s array of effects pedals, and White’s guitar with a custom-built mike. Memorable moments of the film? The Edge performing yoga at home, while typing away on his BlackBerry, and Page reminiscing about how his band’s album, Led Zeppelin IV, featuring hits like Stairway to Heaven and The Battle of Evermore, only got a one-paragraph review in a music magazine at the time.

The climax is when the trio all meets up for the first time in an empty soundstage and sit down together to share their stories, teach - and play. Even the too-cool White can’t help from breaking into a smile when he sees Page jam for the first time. My date also said he felt his hair stand up on end, when he heard Page play (the Led Zeppelin guitarist has been dubbed “unquestionably one of the all-time most influential, important, and versatile guitarists and songwriters in rock history”).

Often overshadowed by lead singers, it is fantastic to see these guitarists step out and claim their part in rock history – through music that resonates, moves and inspires us.