Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Deep Thought

So I caught It Might Get Loud over the weekend. Interesting movie, especially for guitar geeks, but for the life of me I can't figure what Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin and The Edge from U2 are doing together with Jack White from Whitesnake.



Okay, that's my idea of a little joke, obviously.

In all seriousness, however, it's terrific, although in the interest of full disclosure the nine year old girl sitting in front of us at the screening we attended did whine "That was the most boring movie I've ever seen" when it was over.

That said, one omission really stood out. Both Page and White speak at length, eloquently, about the music and musicians that inspired them, from Link Wray (Page playing air guitar to "Rumble" in his record room is particularly hilarious) to Son House.

But from The Edge -- not a word about anything that might be construed as his roots. The closest you get is that at one point he watches some clips of some truly heinous Brit top 40 stuff from the 70s (on Top of the Pops) and says "We[U2] knew what we didn't want to sound like."

I'm not sure what this means or if it's even significant, but it did strike me as...well, like I said -- odd.

[h/t Wendy Cohen]

16 comments:

davidk said...

I'm surprised the Edge didn't mention Television's Marquee Moon--in the past he's cited Tom Verlaine as a major early influence, although you don't really hear any Verlaine in the U2 sound...I know I'm going to like the movie a lot more than the 9-year-old girl, but in fairness, it would take a seriously advanced kid to really get into something like this. At least she kept her mouth shut during the film.

Gummo said...

Good movie, but why a theatrical release?

If there was ever a movie MADE for PBS fund-raising drives, this is it!

And yeah, the Edge did seem lost for most of the movie. Reminds me of an interview years ago with some punk band, may have been the Clash, talking about meeting and getting to jam with Keith Richards, and realizing that without that blues foundation, they had no common language with which to communicate.

fmcg said...

So what influences can we hear in Mr. Edge's music (h/t to Kelsey Grammer)?

steve simels said...

Well, that's the question, isn't it?

Noam Sane said...

I'd say Page would have to have been an influence on Mr. Edge. Listen to Zep's "Celebration Day" - particularly the intro - and then, say, "In God's Country".

But the fact that the guy's roots are not immediately evident is a credit to his talent. So many guitar players wear their influences on their sleeves.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Whatever Edge's musical roots were, we know for a fact they were definitely not "Spinal Tap" (joke reference from the movie).

I wonder if he was influenced by Irish folk music ...

steve simels said...

If I was wearing my "I Hate U2" hat, I'd suggest the omission means he's closer to Madonna -- for whom music was just a convenient hook to hang her larger aspirations to superstardom -- than one might like to believe.

Just saying, of course.
:-)

Peter said...

Edge's right hand often reminds me of Townsend's, in their mutual fondness for double-strumming. Compare, say, "In the Name of Love" with "Pinball Wizard."

Craig said...

I would say that the clash, joy division, and stiff little fingers were all an inspiration to the edge. also, public image by P.I.L. sounds a bit like I will follow.

cthulhu said...

One very obvious (at least to me) influence on the Edge is early Joe Walsh. Go all the way back to "Gloria"; the slide guitar solo sounds like the Edge just got finished listening to the James Gang's "Yer Album". And "Even Better than the Real Thing" features slide work (including the delay line) straight out of the James Gang classic "The Bomber".

Also agree with the Townshend reference too, especially the dense chords.

That said, U2 has always been a "one good song per album" band for me, and the problem isn't just Bono.

MBowen said...

I'm not sure if Irish kids, even if they were middle class, would have had much of a clue who the James Gang were. That being said, I think Townshend was the pre-eminent old-guy influence on Mr. Edge, particularly if you also think of Townshend's fondness for synth ostinatos. After that, it was all pretty much his contemporaries - Tom Verlaine, John McGeoch, Keith Levene, Robert Smith, John McKay, and Bernard Albrecht, all of whom were trying to find new ways to use the guitar so as not to fall into the awful wank-trap that '70s rock had become.

cthulhu said...

MBowen - considering that the James Gang and the Who were pretty closely linked in the 1969-1970 timeframe (Townshend publicly commended Walsh's guitar playing and specifically put the James Gang as the Who's opening act for a good chunk of Tommy-era live dates), it is quite possible that Mr. Edge was aware of Walsh's signature sound. Like I said, you just have to listen...

Of course, I also know that publically praising Joe Walsh on a blog entitled "PowerPop" is irredeemably recherche... :-/

steve simels said...

Of course, I also know that publically praising Joe Walsh on a blog entitled "PowerPop" is irredeemably recherche... :-/

Hey -- I think Joe Walsh, both James Gang and some of his solo stuff, is great. And I mean that unironically.

cthulhu said...

All right Steve! How about a "talk box" Listomania one of these days! :-)

spot check billy said...

Although it was half a joke, Mr. Edge and his bandmates used to say that a key factor in their early style was not being good enough at their instruments to intentionally sound like anyone. Which will make the influences pretty tough to identify.

Peter said...

I saw Walsh and the JG open for Led Zep in Cleveland July 20, 1969, the night men first walked on the moon. Hometown crowd loved 'em.