Tag Archives: Jack White

It Might Get Loud

My review of the new guitar documentary, It Might Get Loud, is posted at Christianity Today.

It’s a pretty interesting film and definitely fascinating for anyone who plays guitar or is interested in the history of rock music. The film focuses on Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White (pictured above).

Here’s a snippet of my review, where I talk about how The Edge is characterized in the film:

Born David Howell Evans, The Edge plays the part of the spiritual rocker. We see him doing yoga, playing his guitar (with amp) on a remote beach on the Irish Sea, and making philosophical remarks about how forests are a metaphor for guitar playing. Somewhere between Thoreau and Gandhi, The Edge uses his guitar in a distinctly otherworldly manner, meticulously employing the technologies and techniques at his disposal (effects modules, pedals, delay, reverb) to push sound to its outer limits. His glittering, patented sound crystallizes best in songs like “Where the Streets Have No Name,” which we are privileged to hear both in stadium concert form and when The Edge plays a four-track recording of the early demos of his iconic introductory guitar riff. Where other rock star guitarists might get caught up in the “scene” (groupies, drugs, bad fashion), the sleek, refined Edge comes across as a minimalist zenmaster, an all-business shaman who wants to get in the sound, exploring its contours and possibilities with scientific precision.

And here’s my take on Jack White’s persona in the film:

In stark contrast to The Edge (but no less fascinating) is Jack White, a Detroit-bred relative youngster whose explosive reinvention of garage rock (via Delta blues) catapulted him to fame alongside bandmate/ex-wife Meg White, who collectively make up The White Stripes. White is a hipster to the core, obsessed with all things old, vintage, and difficult, and prone to inventing obstacles and challenges for himself just because things shouldn’t be so easy in these here modern times. Where The Edge was about the sound and musicality of creation, Jack White is more taken with the materiality and lore of rock music. He loves handcrafted custom guitars, the gimmicky peppermint-painted aesthetic of his band (he and Meg only wear red, white or black), and the finger-bleeding “you have to pick a fight with the guitar” intensity of being a hard rocker. Always the contrarian, White also takes pleasure in confusing the press, Bob Dylan style. He’s managed to keep the false rumor alive, for example, that Meg White is actually his big sister—something he claims in the film. He is a great guitar talent, to be sure, but for Jack White the accoutrements of rock sometime seems more important than the actual music.

Read the rest of the review here.