Review: Sound City

Five thoughts about the new documentary, Sound City, that are not about it’s creator, Dave Grohl

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I finally watched Sound City last night and the documentary about the old L.A. Studio was as great as I had hoped it would be. The Dave Grohl helmed project wasn’t too long, straddled the tricky & delicate line between fan boy porn & techie nonsense and accurately portrayed what Sound City means from historical perspective.

Dave Grohl is awesome. I’ve said that before, but after watching Sound City, it might be possible that he is actually more awesome than previously thought. If you have 45 minutes to kill, his keynote speech at South by Southwest is definitely worth a listen.

But as far as Sound City goes, there were other things to think about besides how awesome Grohl is.

Five Thoughts About Sound City That Are Not Solely About Dave Grohl:

1. Man I just want one more chance to play in a recording studio. Just one more chance. My drums never sounded better than when I was with Sidecar and we recorded Soundtrack from the Upside at the Studio in sunny Portland, Maine. Whatever magic Jim Begley did to make my drums sound the way he did should be illegal in middle American states. It probably is. Shit was witchcraft. I’m pretty sure witchcraft is illegal.
2. Rick Springfield might feel emotion, but Rick Springfield does not show emotion.
3. “Yeah Butch, just tell Paul McCartney what to do.” Sound City will give you a new appreciation of Sir Paul.
4. I gained new respect for Trent Reznor. I’ve never been a huge Nine Inch Nails fan, but man is he an interesting & intelligent dude. Sound City is a lot about the human element in music. At first glance, there is nothing even close to the human element in Reznor’s music. It’s generally robot fight music. But in Sound City you learn that there very much is a human element in Reznor’s music and that yes he uses electronics (sacrilege from a Sound City perspective,) but he uses them for good. Real instruments are played then put through the digital wash. The bane of Grohl and the human element banner wavers’ existence is when it’s all the digital wash. There is nothing real involved. Reznor is an innovator they can all embrace.
5. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what kind of sage ol’ veteran you might be- unhinged giddiness always follows the creation of a good song and the laying down of a sick take.

Sound City by Dave Grohl- I’d pass on the album but can’t recommend the movie enough.

  1. […] I’m too much of a Dave Grohl mouthpiece, but I like the human element of music. I like the sounds of smashing cymbals and the sight of flying limbs hitting those cymbals. I like […]

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  2. […] Marc needed to be machine-like to get by- playing along to both humans and machines. Not much of a human element really. So I could hear him in the next room and he was practicing. I could hear the click track […]

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