I love music as much as I love movies. And this is the story of one of the most influential recording studios in the history of rock & roll. Aside from maybe Sun Studio in Memphis, Sound City (located in Van Nuys, California) is possibly one of the most well known studios in the world. So when David Grohl, the drummer from Nirvana and lead singer of the Foo Fighters, decides to do a documentary on said studio? Well…you have to see it to understand.
There are a LOT of documentaries out there on bands and concerts that have made their mark on history but this isn’t so much a documentary as it is a love story. Grohl approaches this with the same kind of passion that he puts into his albums and it’s MY opinion that EVERY budding recording artist should be required to check this one out. Not only does he pine over the “old days” of rock, but he also laments the state of music today and where it all might be heading.
Truthfully…this is a movie with 2 parts. The first is the history of Sound City and how it went from being a 2 bit analog studio to a mecca for all rock bands in the 70’s and early 80’s. Grohl interviews everyone from Stevie Nicks & Lindsay Buckingham (who recorded the first song ever on the infamous Neve sound board) to Tom Petty to Trent Reznor. He focuses quite a bit of time on Rick Springfield and his history with the studio (which is actually fascinating) and then moves on to showcase the resurgence of the studio in the early 90’s when Nirvana seemingly brought it back to life when it appeared digital recording was going to be the death of it.
The second half of the movie focuses on the removal of the Neve board to Grohl’s personal studio and his invitation to many artists to record on it one more time. This sets off an hour long parade of talent and music that is one of the most exhilarating things I have ever witnessed in a documentary such as this. Not only does Grohl tell you the story and history of Sound City, but he invites you in on one of the coolest recording moments in rock & roll history. With guests such as Reznor, Tom Petty, Nicks and, in a surprise appearance, Paul McCartney, David Grohl preaches from his pulpit on the truth of music and how it needs to be about sweat and blood, not about computer chips and Pro Tools.
Obviously I loved this movie. I am a huge fan of David Grohl from a recording artist standpoint but this film showcases that he has more than just a talent for creating music. In his own way, he has documented how far music has progressed…and not for the better. Here’s hoping many who have an interest in becoming music artists see this and realize that fame doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. It takes hard work and lots of practice to become one of the best. And Dave Grohl is definitely one of them.
Overall Rating: A+