Mildly obsessed. That’s my self-diagnosis regarding Dave Grohl’s new Sound City documentary. I think the idea of a ratty rock studio and a magical sound board is highly addictive. Team it with a tour, promoting the premiere of the movie with a band called The Sound City Players – essentially the Foo Fighters, with rotating cast of Rick Springfield, John Fogerty, Rick Nielsen and Stevie Nicks. I’m hooked. Cool, fun, loud little clips on YouTube. Check them out. And here’s a story from NPR about the legendary sound board in the Sound City control room. The board (that Grohl believes has soulful and magical powers) that recorded Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, and Nirvana’s Nevermind, for goodness sake. Grohl now owns it, moving it from the original home to his house.
It wasn’t much to look at: a nondescript building in the San Fernando Valley with hideous brown shag carpeting on the walls. But from the 1970s on, the Sound City recording studio turned out a ridiculous amount of great music: classic recordings by Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine and many others.
Dave Grohl and his bandmates in Nirvana were practically unknown in 1991 when they pulled up to Sound City in a rusted white van. But the album that came out of that session, Nevermind, turned rock music on its head.
In his new documentary and accompanying soundtrack, Sound City: Real to Reel, the Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters founder pays homage to that studio — and its distinctive soundboard.