A 2013 Rockumentary
member Dave Grohl
, celebrating the life and times of a dingy Southern California recording studio that produced a metric ton of groundbreaking rock albums (and yes, NEVERMIND
was one of them). Its secret? The studio was acoustically superb, and the (then) state-of-the-art Neve mixing console made anything recorded in there sound even better. Basically, if was an Arena Rock
band from the Seventies, a Hair Metal
band from the Eighties, or a Grunge
band from the Nineties — if their album topped the charts, chances are it was recorded at Sound City.
Time (and the onslaught of digital technology
) eventually doomed Sound City to extinction, but Grohl wrote his own happy ending: he bought the console, installed it in his own studio, then invited many of the musicians he'd interviewed to come in and make new music.
At the 2014 Grammy Awards
, the soundtrack album ("Sound City: Real to Reel") won awards for "Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media" and "Best Rock Song" (the Paul McCartney
collaboration "Cut Me Some Slack").
This film provides examples of:
- Analog Vs Digital: If you believe Neil Young, digital recording is the devil's own creation. And to provide balance, Trent Reznor advocates digital techniques as an tool for musical invention, not a substitute for it.
- The Atoner: Rick Springfield not only recorded his big hit "Jessie's Girl" at Sound City, he'd signed a management contract with co-owner Joe Gottfried. When a better representation offer came along, Springfield jumped ship, with much acrimony. Springfield never forgave himself for the bad blood, and eventually made up with Gottfried shortly before the latter's death.
- Cluster F-Bomb: It's rock musicians. What did you expect?
- Den of Iniquity: Most bands liked Sound City because it was a craphole.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: This may be the only time musicians as divergent as Stevie Nicks, Trent Reznor, Neil Young, Lee Ving from Fear, Rick Springfield, and Sir Paul McCartney — to name just a few — appear in the same film.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Well, the first two are certainly implied...
- Singer Songwriter: Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were Sound City's in-house songwriters when Mick Fleetwood — shopping for both a recording studio and a replacement for guitarist Bob Welch — heard some of their demos. He ended up hiring both the studio and the songwriting team — and history was made.