Dave Grohl’s documentary series Sonic Highways debuts on HBO this Friday. I’ve seen the first two episodes (“Chicago” and “Washington D.C.”), and they’re very good, offering a highly personal take on how the rock, punk, and R&B music scenes developed in different American cities. Sonic Highways joins the ranks of genuinely enlightening recent music documentaries—like Grohl’s own Sound City, Mark Moormann’s Tom Dowd & The Language Of Music, and Davis Guggenheim’s 2008 doc It Might Get Loud. Guggenheim’s film—which airs on Starz’s Movieplex channel tonight at 6:20 p.m. Eastern—looks at the rock ‘n’ roll guitar, via the biographies and techniques of three generations of guitarisist, represented by Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, U2’s The Edge, and The White Stripes’ Jack White. As the three men play—alone and together—they talk about their influences, and their styles, turning the act of strumming and picking into expression of personality and philosophy. What they have to say is fascinating, even for non-fans.
October 14, 2014 newsreel