If you’ve been wondering about what Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl has been up to, and what this whole “Sound City” thing is that’s been swirling around the Internet and music news sites in recent months…let’s just say if you have any interest in, or love for, rock music and the music industry in general, you owe it to yourself to get caught up.
While the Foo Fighters have been (sort of) on hiatus, Grohl wrote and directed a documentary film called Sound City, a chronicle of the famous southern California recording studio where Nirvana’s Nevermind and a host of other rock classics were recorded. The film premiered to great acclaim at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and (predictably) at SXSW, and is currently making the rounds in indie theaters around the country. The film is also available on DVD, or for rental or purchase via live streaming or download through iTunes, Vudu, Hulu and similar outlets.
Without giving too much of the film away (you really need to see it), Grohl takes us back to the beginnings of the famed recording studio, known for its unique sound, its custom Neve board and its overall vibe, and tells the story of the studio’s ups and downs through its difficult beginnings, navigating the digital revolution, and so on, up until the studio closed in 2011. But the story doesn’t end there; since the studio and the Neve console carry such sentimental weight for Grohl, he purchased the console and relocated it to his own “606 Studios,” where he invited some of the rock icons of Sound City’s history (as well as Paul McCartney, one of Grohl’s personal idols) to collaborate on an album of all-original music using the Neve. The resulting album, Sound City-Real to Reel, now available for sale, features the likes of Grohl, Stevie Nicks, Lee Ving, Trent Reznor, Rick Springfield, Paul McCartney and others. The resulting supergroup, the Sound City Players, even had some recent tour dates together.
But the true beauty surrounding the entire Sound City project (the studio, the film, the album, etc.) is the passion Dave Grohl conveys. It’s more than nostalgia; to many, Sound City Studio is a symbol of the passion and grit behind rock & roll; it stands for why we love music, and why so many of us got into music in the first place. If you are a music fan, musician, engineer, producer, or someone who is invested in the music industry in any way, you need to see this film. It will speak deeply to you. By sharing his passion with us, David Grohl has reminded us why we got into this racket in the first place, and invites us to fall in love with music all over again.