After listening to Dave Grohl on the Nerdist Podcast, I got a great feel for what he’s all about. Grohl is that creative guy any artist would like to be. His love of making music is unmatched. On the podcast, he was pitching a movie he directed called “Sound City”. The movie is about the Sound City recording studio in Los Angeles, California. A special place in Grohl’s heart where many classic rock albums were recorded, including Nirvana’s Nevermind. I love music history, and I watch the “Classic Albums” documentaries on Netflix religiously. I figured this documentary would be worth the $9.99 purchase. So I took a shot and bought it.
First, I want to mention that the way this movie is sold was done right. You have your choice to stream or download the full move DRM free. This more than anything convinced me to go the extra step and actually purchase this movie.
I was delighted to see so many familiar faces from the past 40 years of rock in this film. Tom Petty, Rick Springfield, Neil Young, and Fleetwood Mac all tell their stories about their experiences at Sound City. The movie also features many past employees of Sound City. All of them tell their stories about how they grew in the music business and worked with the bands they loved.
The first half of this movie covers the history of Sound City and the historical Neve 8028 Mixing Console that was used to mix countless hit albums. After that, the movie switches gears and becomes more about changes in the recording industry and how the digital revolution changed everything. The movie isn’t biased about it either. Not only do you get to hear artists like Neil Young and Tom Petty talk about the great analog sound, but you also get to hear artists like Trent Reznor talk about what technology has done for him.
After Sound City closes, Grohl secures the purchase of the Neve 8028 console and installs it in his own space. This sets up the big finale features previously mentioned artists making music together. This part is where the movie drags a bit. Instead of getting a small sample of each song, the scenes go on a bit too long and you’re forced to listen to some really mediocre music. It’s at this point the movie is no longer about Sound City. The movie pays off in the end though with an awesome appearance by Paul McCartney where he jams with Grohl and what’s left of Nirvana.
While this movie isn’t the 100% Sound City documentary I was expecting, it’s a great movie for any rock music fans. Each interview captures the emotion on everything that went on at this special studio. It’s beautifully directed, and if you have any creative blood in your body, it will move you in some way.
Update 8/20/2013: “Sound City” is now available on Amazon Prime and Netflix Instant.