Sound City

Sound City

This little doc about a dive recording studio in the San Fernando Valley is an entertaining look into one of Rocks hidden gems.  Featuring and directed by one of the best drummers out there, Dave Grohl, who gives an insiders view of this little known rock mecca.  After hearing that the place where Nirvana laid down the tracks for Nevermind was/went out of business, Dave sets out to pay homage to the prolific studio.  Turns out hundreds upon thousands of gold/platinum/titanium records were cut in this scuzzy studio.

The business really got its start when the various members of Fleetwood Mac met up and joined forces for their self titled debut.  They may have put Sound City on the map but I personally can’t stand that band and yet I still enjoyed the movie.  Plus, I grudgingly have to say, Stevie was actually funny during her interview until she started caterwauling.

Did you know “they” screwed up the “code” when they started digitizing music?  Well, that’s what Neil Young had to say; and he is joined by a super group of rock musicians like: Trent Reznor, Tom Petty, Josh Homme, and Rick Rubin.  All there to sing their praises of the smelly yet acoustically superb studio and the beauty of recording the old timey way (Trent is kinda the exception to the rule here).

Looks like a Mentos parody is about to break out.


The second half of the documentary stops looking at the history and starts focusing on the sound board.  Not to sound ignorant (maybe Paul can educate me on this one) but isn’t a sound board a glorified equalizer?  To Grohl’s surprise and benefit, the recording equipment didn’t end up in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame when Sound City went under so he bought it.  To buck the trend of digital recording, he and his famous compatriots record some jam sessions with the analog equipment to fill out the running time.

If you consider yourself a rocker, and you don’t have to rock too terribly hard considering Barry Manilow and Rick Springfield are featured in this flick, then you should check out this fun film.  Don’t let those softies dissuade you if you do rock hard because there are some true icons that show up to demonstrate how easy it is to rock out with some old school components.

5 thoughts on “Sound City

  1. That mix tape looks pretty good! Any cassette tape with Ratt and Dio on it, I’m listening! Was that a mix he made of bands that recorded there, or is that what you were talking about when you said he recorded some jam sessions? Did he rerecord those tracks?

    • The mix tape is, more or less, a sampling of the artists and the hits that have been recorded at Sound City during its hayday.
      I don’t want to give too much away because a legend of legends shows up at the end to play a ditty. There is a tribute album, of the same name, which comprises many more collaborations not shown in the movie.

      • Saw it at an art house theater a while back, but it was simultaneously available for Video on Demand. May still be but I’ve never used it so i wouldn’t know. A bunch of independent movies these days are branching out from the cinemas to other formats when they come out.

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