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It Really Will Get Loud

As a part of the sales department here at Stephen Arnold Music, I know that the instruments I play are my Toshiba telephone and my mighty Mac PowerBook G4. That’s my daytime life. But when I go home, it is another thing altogether. In my home office (sometimes I refer to it as my stage), I keep three of my best friends: a (what can now be called vintage) C-1 Gibson Classic guitar I received new from my mom and dad when I was a sophomore at Banks High School in Birmingham, a gorgeous wine red 2007 American-made Fender Stratocaster guitar that my wife gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago, and my son Scott’s big 2006 dreadnought Yamaha acoustic guitar.

To be honest, and why not be, I am not the world’s greatest guitar player. But, in the evening at home I can get on “stage” and strum the C chord (that is about all I know) at maximum 10 level and all of a sudden the world seems like a much better place: peaceful, tranquil, focused; I am at one with the 6 strings. What is it about the guitar that causes that transformation? Please don’t tell me that playing the oboe real loud after a hard day at work will do that. Dude, NOBODY will believe you.

Even now, I often dream of playing like Jimmie Page or Eric Clapton or even Rob Hackney (a fraternity brother of mine from college). Well, ain’t none of that ever gonna happen! It is what it is. Still, there is some kind of magic in the guitar to which even a player like myself can attest.

So, recently when I heard of a movie called, “It Might Get Loud”, a documentary of Jimmie Page, The Edge and Jack White, I knew that one Saturday night real soon, I was going to fork over the dough to see that flick. My expectations were low…who would want to be hurt, expecting a diamond but getting a dud. I bought my ticket, strode the dark corridor to the auditorium, took a seat dead center and waited for the flickering moment.

What to say, hmmm…what to say? Well, how about this: I was BLOWN AWAY! From the first moment of watching Jack White “build” a guitar in his back yard, to watching archival footage of Jimmie Page playing “Stairway to Heaven” with the Zep, to listening to The Edge give a tour of his personal, kind of bland and creepy, studio overlooking some river (I assume the Liffey River) in Dublin, to hearing Jimmie Page say he couldn’t sing!, this movie had me from hello.

Of course, I cannot predict your reaction to this greatness. You could be an insensitive, ignorant, drooling bore, unmoved by the transcendental mysteries of “Stairway”, but, hey, who am I to judge. But how could you not be moved by hearing Jimmie say that he is what he is today because, when he was a small boy, his family moved into a rental house, and the former occupants of that house left behind in a small, dark closet a cheap worn-out guitar. That was the guitar that he learned to play on, the guitar he used for years, and, ultimately the guitar that gave us Led Zeppelin. Pause here for prayer and thanksgiving.

For those empiricists among us, all I can say is “ go…see…believe”. As a special treat, let me offer up the movie’s trailer.

So, excuse me now, I’m going to go talk with some friends. It might get loud.

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