Sunday, July 20, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Sound City (2013) ****

NR, 108 min.
Director: Dave Grohl
Writers: Mark Monroe, Dave Grohl
Featuring: Vinny Appice, Joe Barresi, Brian Bell, Frank Black, James Brown, Lindsey Buckingham, Mike Campbell, Tim Commerford, Kevin Cronin, Rivers Cuomo, Warren Demartini, Mick Fleetwood, John Fogerty, Neil Giraldo, Christopher Allen Goss, Jessy Greene, David Grohl, Omar Hakim, Taylor Hawkins, Peter Hayes, Joshua Homme, Rami Jaffee, Alain Johannes, Jim Keltner, Barry Manilow, Paul McCartney, Nate Mendel, Rupert Neve, Stevie Nicks, Rick Nielson, Krist Novoselic, Shivaun O’Brien, Keith Olsen, Stephen Pearcy, Tom Petty, Nick Raskulinecz, Trent Reznor, Ross Robinson, Rick Rubin, Paula Salvatore, Jim Scott, Chris Shiflett, Sandy Skeeter, Tom Skeeter, Pat Smear, Rick Springfield, Corey Taylor, Benmont Tench, Robert Levon Been, Lars Ulrich, Butch Vig, Lee Ving, Brad Wilk, Pat Wilson, Neil Young

There is so much good music in “Sound City”, Dave Grohl’s documentary about the famed Sound City music recording studio, I can barely stand it. Much is made about the Neve soundboard that drew so many acts to recording in the rather glamourless studio, and I’m sold. Every classic album mentioned in the film has a very distinctive sound to them that is recaptured in the album Grohl made with many of the artists behind those albums after purchasing the soundboard from the studio when it closed its doors.

Fleetwood Mac “Rumors”, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “Damn the Torpedos”, Cheap Trick “Heaven Tonight”, Foreigner “Double Vision”, Rick Springfield “Working Class Dog”, Ratt “Out of the Cellar”, Nirvana “Nevermind”, Rage Against the Machine “Rage Against the Machine”, Tool “Undertow”, Weezer “Pinkerton”, Johnny Cash “Unchained”, the first three Queens of the Stone Age albums. These are just some of the masterpieces that have been recorded at the legendary studio. It just drops my jaw looking at the list.

Dave Grohl’s documentary gives it all up. It is comprehensive in its history of the studio and several of the bands that became famous because of it. Beginning with the legendary introduction of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to Mick Fleetwood to produce the most famous lineup of the band Fleetwood Mac, skirting the skyrocket early impact of Rick Springfield, moving on to Tom Petty’s long relationship with the studio, and culminating in the monumental recording of an album that changed the game for everyone, Nirvana’s Nevermind; “Sound City” is a journey through modern rock history that will hold any rock enthusiast’s envy. The footage of Grohl and friends like Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks and Trent Reznor working on a new album of songs made in honor of the studio that helped make their careers plays like a crowd demanded encore.

“Sound City” is a must see for any rock aficionado and it’s accompanying album “Sound City: Real To Reel” is every bit as good as the classic rock albums that inspired it.

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