Sound City – The Place, The Documentary, and The Impact

“In this age of technology, where you can manipulate anything, how do we retain the human element?” — Dave Grohl


You may have noticed Dave Grohl guesting on several talk shows this past week, but it’s not to promote a new Foo Fighters album. He’s been making the rounds to raise awareness about his new documentary, Sound City, which is available to download or watch On Demand pretty much everywhere.

The argument can be made that one of the reasons that Foo Fighters continues to be so well-respected by other artists and so popular that they regularly sell-out stadiums, is that their core sound doesn’t change from what’s been recorded and what’s played live. As we’ve shown you before, Dave Grohl is a huge proponent of the raw and real sound that only analog recording can provide.

The rock-doc Sound City takes it name from the same Van Nuys recording studio that churned out hit after hit from the 1970’s all the way until 2011, when its distinctive analog mixing board, the Neve 802B, couldn’t keep up with the digital age.  Having recorded Nirvana’s Nevermind there in 1991, Grohl had a deep love for this studio and just couldn’t let it be forgotten.

First, he bought the console, surprised that it wasn’t going directly into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Then he started reaching out to other recording artists to get their take on the death of Sound City.  What essentially began as a few home movies turned into a full-length production that’s receiving high marks across the movie and recording industries.

Just in case Grohl’s passion for sound doesn’t grab you, here are some other artists who have recorded some of their biggest hits at Sound City:

  • Tom Petty, solo and with the Heartbreakers
  • John Fogerty
  • Grateful Dead
  • Ronnie James Dio
  • War
  • Cheap Trick
  • Mavis Staples
  • Metallica
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • Johnny Cash
  • Pat Benatar
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Foreigner
  • Nils Lofgren
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • Elvis Costello
  • … and the list goes on and on

Sound City is available for HD Streaming here, on iTunes, and on many cable providers’ On Demand channels.  If you’re interested in the analog vs. digital debate, rock history, or even music culture, this is a fantastic film that’s worth the $12.99.

If you’ve seen this, what are your thoughts? Do you think we should be doing more to keep analog alive?  How do we keep tape recording vital in this digital age? Where does the responsibility lie – the artists, the producers, or us?  Tell us in the comments below!

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