Dave Grohl’s Sound City is one of the most captivating rock documentaries I’ve seen in years. After the history of Sound City is told by the people who recorded there (Fleetwood Mac, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, Neil Young, and many others) it made me genuinely upset when they discussed its closing. A long time employee is brought to tears when discussing it. I already knew Sound City had closed obviously, but after hearing the story it really signified the death of rock to me. Grohl’s ultimate goal with the film seems to be to motivate young people to save rock and bring back the human connection into music.

The first half of the film tells the history of the studio, Sound City is responsible for the formation of the classic Fleetwood Mac lineup. Rick Springfield’s story was also interesting, you could tell he felt very guilty about his falling out with one of Sound City’s founders who got his career off the ground.

The Nirvana related parts are also fantastic. The beginning of the film Dave Grohl narrating about his mindset as Nirvana were on the road from Seattle to Sound City to record Nevermind, “We were driving a van that could break down at any moment, going on tours that could be canceled at any moment, and playing music with people who could disappear at any moment.” There is also a part where the drum sound of the studio is discussed, Grohl is shown drumming “Smells Like Teen Spirit” today and the modern day shot of Grohl drumming morphs into his 1991 self in the iconic music video. Nevermind is also credited for giving Sound City a second life, leading to other 90’s bands like Rage Against The Machine to record there.

The second half of the film shows the process of recording the Sound City soundtrack. The creative/recording process for the songs featuring Rick Springfield, Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Josh Homme, and Trent Reznor are shown. The Grohl/Homme/Reznor part, it’s fascinating to watch three musicians who can play any instrument write a song. Trent Reznor is on keyboards, and then at one point switches to bass, and then returns to the keyboard. The final segment of the film shows Nirvana/Paul McCartney writing and recording “Cut Me Some Slack.” The four create the song on the spot, Pat Smear discusses how he had been nervous heading into the session but as it got going he felt better. Grohl mentions that halfway through the session he looked over at Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear and realized that the three of them were moving around like they did back in the Nirvana days. Grohl said, “I thought oh my god this is like Nirvana! And then wait, Paul McCartney’s here?” Paul McCartney is shown presenting his riff ideas to the Nirvana guys, at one point he comes up with a harmony idea and then sings it with Dave Grohl. Paul even asks if Krist can sing.

Overall I highly recommend watching this film to any rock and roll fan out there. Not only is it a story of Sound City Studios, but it is the story of the evolution of rock and roll and how we need to fight to save it.

  • David

    When is this being released on Dvd or Blu-Ray? Or are they playing it at theaters already? eh fuck it

  • Unglued

    To sad because it didnt have any show in Asia.

  • NickG

    It’s sad to think more people care about Jerry’s haircut than this.

  • Crazies
  • Lennart

    This was a great watch, Grohl is a stand up guy.

  • Hailey

    Hey Brett, Dave hasn’t been wearing his wedding ring the last couple weeks or so… Crack down on it, quick! Saw both him onstage and on Chelsea Lately without it… Hmm?

  • Justin

    I saw it yesterday On Demand. Loved every minute of it. Great job Dave

  • pseudonym

    This was one of or even the best music documentaries i have ever watched.

    it touched me on so many levels. people go watch it now!!

    such a warm and nice job from grohl 10+. good laughs and kept me smiling to the end. and the steve nicks performance clip nearly brought tears to my eyes.. there’s a haunting feel to it. felt it on my spine.

    “somewhere on these so called internets iykwim”

  • Smells Like Infinite Sadness

    I loved this movie. It’s truly an homage to a studio and to an era of real musicianship. I thought Reznor’s comments on using/abusing technology were right on the money.

    The sheer amount of amazing records that came out of this place is pretty mind-blowing. Grohl did a great job and I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing a full album from the Sound City Players.

    I do wonder if Kurt were here today, how he’d feel about jamming with Rick Springfield! He was always so harsh on any musicians he deemed corporate. Just shows how Grohl is such an open, unpretentious guy.

    I need to do a full review of my site in next few days, but totally agree with your positive review.