Sound City: A Film By Dave Grohl
I’d seen word of Sound City, a documentary from Dave Grohl, a few months ago and was eagerly awaiting its release – albeit without a great deal of knowledge around what it was all about. When I finally saw it last night I was blown away. An unbelievable piece of work with amazing insights into Sound City as a recording studio, but also the people who recorded there from its early days, and also the people who recorded with Dave Grohl once he took possession of the legendary Neve 8028 sound board and installed it in his own Studio 606. Most prominent of these being the Nirvana reunion featuring Paul McCartney.
The Neve 8028 sound board was the crown jewel of Sound City in Van Nuys, Los Angeles. The studio itself was nothing special with its warehouse location and pretty crappy appearance, but the sound this board produced for bands like Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Rick Springfield and Rage Against The Machine – amongst of veritable who’s who of artists, was incredible: more than 100 gold and platinum records in all!
This is a brilliantly directed (by Grohl) documentary in that it works for everyone from the casual music fan right through to musicians themselves. The passion of Grohl, not least in his desire to keep the sound board alive when Sound City closed its doors, is the key – he is so inspiring. It also shines light on the shift from analogue to digital recording techniques (the very thing that forced the studio to close).
All of the artist and producer interviews are fascinating but I don’t really want to reveal too much of what’s in the movie, suffice to say it is essential viewing. The final scenes where Grohl is recording with Paul McCartney (and his cigar box guitar) are awesome.