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Entertainment behind the scenes

Jimmy Page, Jack White vexed by music videogames

By Dean Goodman
June 19, 2009

Videogames like Rock Band and Guitar Hero may be one of the few bright lights in the flailing music industry, but real-life guitar heroes like Jimmy Page and Jack White are unimpressed.


“If you start with the first track on the first (self-titled Led Zeppelin) album, “Good Times Bad Times,” and you think of the drum part that John Bonham did there, how many drummers in the world can actually play that? Let alone Dad on a Christmas morning? There might be a lot of alcohol to be consumed over Christmas, he still ain’t gonna get it,” Led Zeppelin founder Page told journalists at a Beverly Hills news conference on Friday.

Added White, the frontman for the White Stripes: “I do know it’s depressing to have a label come and tell you that this is how kids are learning about music and experiencing music. That’s like the only outlet now, that you have to put it in a videogame to get it in front of them. That’s a little sad. But I don’t like to tell people what format that they get things in … But I do think there’s a loss of romance.”

The duo, along with U2 axeman the Edge, co-star in the feature documentary “It Might Get Loud,” which opens in New York and Los Angeles on Aug. 14. The film, from Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”), depicts each rocker’s romance with his guitar, and climaxes on a Hollywood soundstage where they jam and swap war stories.

“There are a lot of great guitar players who are virtuosos who can be note-perfect and can play extraordinary ways, but only a few I think that are searchers,” Guggenheim said of his casting choices. “We were just trying to find three really fascinating people who are still searching, and still trying to tell their story.”

The Edge is rehearsing for U2′s upcoming world tour, so he was unable to attend the press event. Asked whether the film might inspire more-formal collaborations between Page and White, both were cagey.

“I think Jimmy needs to practice a little more,” White joked.


Jimmy Page and Jack White don’t like video game guitar playing because it’s not the way to learn how to play.
Boo hoo.

Tiger Woods probably is aware that his PGA Golf 2009 isn’t going to help out the hackers out there. Is John Madden’s NFL Football 2009 going to create a precision rocket arm out of a couch potato? Doubtful.

I say to Jimmy and Jack, Guitar Hero and others are what they are. If the end user can’t figure that out then they probably aren’t mentally capable of learning how to play a musical instrument in the first place.


Technology keeps advancing so that it can make life easier for people and I believe that there is a give and take price to pay for it too.

I have played the guitar for almost 30 years. I started with LP’s then to cassette tapes. As a matter of fact, Led Zep I was one of my very first albums to learn to play by ear from. There wasn’t any websites back in the late 70′s early 80′s to do a search on guitar playing 101.
All I had was a Mel Bay chord book, my LP’s and my desire to learn to play.

I remember a line in the Tom Hanks movie “A league of their own” where Geena Davis said that baseball just got too hard. And Tom said that its supposed to be hard. That’s what makes it so great!

If you apply this mentality to guitar playing (or anything really) that if you earn it the hard way and succeed, you have more appreciation for it.
But with the computerized easy button to press, its not as rewarding…

Posted by bby_70 | Report as abusive

Not one of those three guitarists, (Page, White, The Edge) know a lick about playing music until they master the banjo.

Posted by David Ellis of Colo | Report as abusive

To play a banjo with a violin bow through a Marshall would be so very cool!

Posted by bby_70 | Report as abusive

i guess what makes me sad is that there is nothing like playing a real instrument and exploring the sounds you can make. i have tried guitar hero and it’s fine as entertainment, and maybe it could help left hand coordination on the frets for people learning guitar ‘properly’… but of course it’s nothing like the physicality and struggle of trying to master an instrument and make it your own.
truth is though many people who use these computer games are doing it for fun, not to learn an instrument, the two are completely different areas. with any luck it might inspire people to try instruments for real


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