Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dave Grohl Returns To Sound City

Sound City
Roswell Films
Directed and Produced by Dave Grohl
With Neil Young,  Stevie Nicks, Paul McCartney,
Mick Fleetwood, Trent Reznor, Tom Petty and more
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

When it comes to Recording Studios, perhaps none has the rich history of Sound City Studios, (save perhaps for Sun Studios in Memphis).

Despite it's humble unimposing, dilapidated old warehouse downwind from a stinky Brewery in the San Fernando Valley , this studio has produced some of the best albums in the annals of Rock Music History.

This was the studio where Neil Young recorded After The Gold Rush,  Mick Fleetwood met Lyndsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in the hallway and went on to record Fleetwood Mac, where Nirvanna recorded Nevermind, and the list goes on, very much resembling the "Best Rock Albums of All Times" List.

In Foo Fighters (and former Nirvana member) Dave Grohl's new Documentary Sound City, this rich history comes to life through interviews with the Producers, Engineers, Technicians and great musicians that recorded at Sound City.

The story is a compelling one, as the studio, facing financial pressure and on the verge of closing was more than once saved by a big album.

The first big album almost didn't happen.

The story of how Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood, scouting a location to record his group's latest album while faced with the departure of Peter Green happened to cross paths with two aspiring stars, Lyndsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, (who were recording an album at the studio) is the stuff of music folklore.

The re-organized Fleetwood Mac would go on to record the album Fleetwood Mac in the Sound City studio.  The success of that album brought a flood of groups in the 1970's and the 1980's with names like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Foreigner, REO Speedwagen, Rick Springfield, Barry Manilow, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and many others.

Facing closure again in the late 80's and the early 90's, the studio was on it's last leg as it struggled to keep up with the trend and popularity of digital recording.  This is when a fresh, new band from Seattle made a decision to record their album at Sun City.

That band was Nirvana and the recording and success of Nevermind ushered in a new set of players that brought success once again to the studio.

Music Acts like Nine Inch Nails, Frank Black, and Metallica were now using the studio.

Grohl's thesis for the project, centers around the mixing console, a rare analog model called a Neves.  He theorizes that the console, which he purchases when the studio closed in 2011, was the basis for why the music sounded so good and was the star, along with the producers and musicians of the albums.

And as Grohl stated at last year's Grammys, with the new digital equipment, a lot of today's artists have got away from the craftsmanship that was needed.

The old recording mechanisms captured a true and honest sound.  The musicians had to be at the top of their game so as not to have their flaws exposed in the recording.

The story concludes with Grohl bringing the console back to his Studio 606 and re-uniting many of the artists like Rick Springfield, Stevie Nicks and Trent Reznor who recorded at the old Sound City to record a new album along with Paul McCartney.  This album will be released in March.

This is a well produced, interesting and humorous film and garnered high praise at the Sundance Film Festival last week.

If you love music and music history, It is definitely a must see.

No comments: