TORONTO - Jimmy Page, the Edge and Jack White say they all learned a little more about the guitar when they sat down to talk about their craft in Davis Guggenheim's entertaining new documentary, "It Might Get Loud."
But the White Stripes frontman and U2 guitarist were clearly the ones being schooled in a memorable scene featuring Page in which the Led Zeppelin axeman plays the searing opening riff to his legendary band's "Whole Lotta Love."
The Edge suddenly stands up to get a better look at Page's fingers. A smile tugs at the lips of White.
"You kind of put everything else aside for a second and say: 'Look can we just enjoy the moment?"' White says as he looks back on the experience at a news conference over the weekend.
"I was looking at myself thinking, 'Oh my God, stop smiling,"' adds the Edge, seated alongside his guitar colleagues and wearing his trademark toque. "(I have a) stupid grin as I'm staring at Jimmy's hands, thinking: 'Oh, that's how it's done."'
The documentary, which is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, is filled with such moments of musical inspiration as the three guitar gurus discuss their creative processes and their continuing fascination with the instrument.
The film's creators say they wanted to approach three musicians of different generations and styles. They were thrilled to get who they wanted. Page says he was intrigued by the chance to share stories with a new generation of players.
"It was a fascinating prospect," said Page, his long white hair pulled back in a ponytail. "But when I heard that Jack and the Edge were coming in (to the do movie), I thought this is going to be even more fascinating to see how this unravels."
The film unravels in layers. Guggenheim, a director who won an Academy Award for the Al Gore climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," brings the three musicians together to jam and trade stories. That interplay is interspersed with the threads of personal journeys. The Edge goes back to the Dublin high school where he first got together with Bono, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. to form U2.
Page pulls out the albums that inspired him as a session musician before joining his revered rock band. And White recalls his days growing up in Detroit in the hip-hop-crazed 1980s, when playing guitar was anything but cool.
The Edge says he's counted the guitar out many times, but that it keeps resurrecting itself.
"It is an instrument that seems to be so versatile and it seems to be able to make the jump to the next generation and where music needs to go to," he says.
"I think it's fair to say that hip-hop and that movement has kicked rock 'n' roll's ass for many years in terms of innovation and in terms of the quality of records that are being made."
"It's so great when you see a resurgence happening and a guitar player comes through that's saying something with the instrument that you've never heard before."
Sounds like a cool film.