If you had to define my musical taste The White Stripes and U2 would be mentioned and probably be debated about which as more influential to me. For most of 2009 I have been teased about the documentary “It Might Get Loud” featuring none other than Jack White, The Edge and Jimmy Page.
This movie was made for me. I could watch a separate movie on either of these guitarists, but having both share the movie, their stories and space in “The Summit” was amazing.
When I wasn’t grinning from ear to ear I tried to soak up the movie. I wanted to know more about what songs influenced them, or hear for the umpteenth time how they got start in music. Even something I was familiar with (ie: band posting by Larry Mullen which lead to the forming of U2) felt fresh and intriguing as The Edge walked down the same halls that the band started in.
What I really appreciated was the reason for why The White Stripes are what they are. From the color scheme, caricature appearance and simplicity was a way to distract from what was really going on. I also respected that Jack White would intentionally go out of his way to make to things more difficult. To paraphrase, it takes him three steps to get to the keyboard so he will put it four steps away so he has to run to make it in time. He pushes himself, constantly doing challenges to never be stagnant.
There was a moment where nine year old Jack was being instructed by current age Jack to stomp on the Airline, to get angry with it. I yelled at the TV in horror! I feared for the Res-O-Glass, for the safety of the sound that iconic guitar had provided. However, if something else broke off it, or would go out of tune easier then it would just be that much more of a challenge for Jack to perform with it.
When Page and The Edge were revisiting old recording/rehearsal areas Jack White was with his “nine year old self” talking about kicking the chair away from the piano for dramatic effect and how to become a performer. I found it a little strange to have a younger version of yourself in the film, but this movie highlighted the unconventional nature of Jack White, and it worked for him.
The Washington City Paper interviewed director Davis Guggenheim and asked about mini-Jack.
WCP: Speaking of Jack, who was that little kid in the movie who helped tell his story?
DG: That’s Jack White as a 9-year-old boy. Did it throw you off?
WCP: A little bit.
DG: Yeah. Jack said to me, “I want to teach myself how to play guitar.” And I was like, cool. And the next day he shows up in a hat and a bowtie and a suit, and in the back, seriously, was a 9-year-old kid dressed exactly like him. And he said, “Davis, this is Jack. Jack, this is Davis.”
WCP: Any idea how he found the kid?
DG: Not a clue. I let them tell their own stories, and how he told his was quintessential Jack.
WCP: The kid was good.
DG: The kid was good. [Pause.] How do you know it’s not him as a 9-year-old?
There was a level of respect that felt genuine in “The Summit” too. The Edge was instructing the others how to perform “I Will Follow”, and when Page began playing “Ramble On” White had the biggest and happiest grin on his face. They may come from different disciplines but they all understood what it took to get where they are.
Obviously if you are a U2, The White Stripes or Led Zeppelin fan you need to see this, but the movie was made in such a way that anyone who has created music or picked up a guitar would be engaged for the full length of the movie.