Rock104 Blog

“Sound City” – Music Mecca for Past and Future

By ALYSSA HOLCOMB

If you’ve ever been a fan of rock and roll, of vinyl or tapes, of pure, unrehearsed, magical music, then “Sound City” is the place (and documentary) of your wildest fantasy.

Foo Fighter Dave Grohl makes his directorial debut with this Sundance flick, which screened for one night only in Gainesville and around the country before its official release on February 1st.

Taking a trip through the 70s into today, Grohl relives the groundbreaking studio’s highs and lows, from the first big success (Fleetwood Mac) to its revival today (Dave Grohl’s Studio 606). Countless images and song clips are constantly flooding the screen, sending wave after wave of sound crashing into the audience’s ears. (And that’s the way Grohl intended it to be – at the screening, an attendant informed the audience that the “mixing” was a little different, with the interviews at a lower pitch and the songs blasting, because Grohl wanted it “loud”.) It ultimately made for a better, more grabbing film – and a blast of inspiration for yours truly.

But that’s not all the screening had to offer – at the Hippodrome Cinema, the audience may have been a bit too into the whole “rock show” vibe in the actual theater. But hey, what’s a true rock ‘n roll experience without a beer getting poured on you at the very climax of the film?

Tom Petty

Regardless, the doc is full of legends, both in front of the mic (Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Lars Ulrich, Trent Reznor, Rivers Cuomo, Frank Black, etc.) and behind the glass window (Rick Rubin, Butch Vig, Joe Barresi, etc.); the list is practically endless. What’s even better is that the movie goes through the decades and its vibes, its ups and its downs, the hits and misses that brought the studio to life and ended its reign in the growing technological era.

Lindsey Buckingham and Dave Grohl

However, with Grohl’s idea to bring back the legendary Neve mixing board (which he claimed he thought “would go straight to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”) and make a record like the old days, with tape, faders, and live sessions that could go to any level of musical awesomeness.

This doc was so musically intricate and a treat for audiences that it prompted me to use the word “awesomeness.” With the names on this theatrical marquee and the accompanying album, it’s safe to say that any music-loving audience will appreciate what is arguably some main roots of rock and roll and, more importantly, its influence on the music we hear on the airwaves today.

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