Film / Sound City

A 2013 Rockumentary by Nirvana/Foo Fighters 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/Nirvana collaboration "Cut Me Some Slack").

This film provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Sound City was doomed to be closed down (similar to The Hit studio in New York) due to the changing times, but Dave Grohl instead bought the place, keeping the legacy and the new era of Sound City to come.
  • 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.