Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

17Jan/131

Essential Viewing: Sound City — The Movie


One of my most highly anticipated releases of the year is the upcoming Sound City documentary from Dave Grohl. Admittedly, the year is very young, but all other documentaries that come out after this one will have stiff competition to live up to.

Grohl continues to prove that he's just as much of a music fan as the rest of us and Sound City is ample evidence of that.

If you're unfamiliar with the project, you can school up here. (And of course, you can also watch the trailer above.) In a nutshell, Grohl, like many of us, was sad to see the demise of Sound City Studios, a legendary recording studio that helped to give birth to more albums in your collection than you might realize (including an album by Nirvana called Nevermind, which he played a small part in...remember that?).

For me, it was Rick Springfield's Working Class Dog which would provide my intro to Sound City Studios. As my love for music grew, I started to look at the inner sleeves and cassette j-cards that previously contained a bunch of text that I really could have cared less about. Prior to that point, all I really cared about was the back sleeve that had the song titles.

But it didn't take long before I wanted to know more about the music I was hearing. Who wrote the songs? Who were they writing them with? And how many songs did a particular person get to write or co-write on an album? Man, he really got screwed on this album...he only got one songwriting credit while that other guy wrote and co-wrote the other 11 songs. What's up with that?

These were the thoughts that were blitzing rapid-fire through my mind as I flipped the sleeves over and back again, or unfolded/opened up the booklets to study the lyrics (no doubt with dreams of becoming a rock star myself one day).

Eventually (check this out, I'm going to get back on track now), I would start looking closely at where they were recording these masterpieces. I could tell that Springfield and his producer Bill Drescher had a thing for Sound City. They had recorded two of my favorite albums there, the previously mentioned Working Class Dog and also Living in Oz.

I'd have to pull out all of my Springfield albums to tell you exactly how many albums he recorded at Sound City, but without getting technical about it, Sound City was an important part of Springfield's recording timeline.

When you hear about places like Sound City, The Record Plant, etc., you often (if you're like me) wish that you could have been a fly on the wall to be part of the experiences of some of the many famous albums that were recorded there. With the explosion of rock books that have been coming out in recent years, we finally get the chance to live vicariously through some of the folks who made albums "back then" at some of those legendary studios.

This Sound City documentary could be the geek salad that tops them all. Coming from anybody else, you would expect the documentary to feature Tom Petty (yep), Stevie Nicks (yep) and other big names to be in there, but it would seem pretty likely that Rick Springfield might get left on the sidelines, because he's probably not hip enough to be in the group for a film like this, right?

That's what I wondered when I heard about this film, but as soon as I saw some of the advance footage (cut footage and other stuff that they've shared out on Youtube), I realized that Grohl had done it right. There's Rick....and everybody else that you might expect to be there, from reading along with the liner notes through the years.

It's going to be a good watch and I can't wait to check it out when it lands in my inbox on February 1st.

Oh yeah, that's the other thing - what a phenomenal job Grohl and crew have done marketing this film. I've talked about this here in some form before, I know, but this is another example of someone else getting it right when it comes to supplying forward thinking ways for us to enjoy our entertainment selections.

When the Sound City movie was announced, Grohl announced that fans could pre-order downloads of the new film for $10 and they would receive it day and date (on February 1st) with the regular theatrical release. No worries about whether you can make the traditional "one night only" screenings -- you can check it out on your own schedule.

I was happy to opt in for the opportunity (because it's no shock - I will come up with any excuse to not leave the house - unless I'm going to see live music and/or friends) and as I told Jeff, I'm sure that there will probably be a feature-loaded DVD/Blu-ray coming out at some point, packed with all of the cut footage that has already been posted on Youtube. When that happens, I'm all in for a copy of that as well.

Because short of the opportunity to fly to Dave Grohl's house to watch the hours and hours of unedited footage and interviews, a DVD with at least a couple (or a few) hours of bonus footage in addition to the regular documentary will be just fine with me.

(And if you're looking for a nice double-header for your Dave Grohl film festival on 2/1, might I suggest tossing in the Back and Forth documentary about the most recent Foo Fighters album? It's fantastic.)

Anyway, the main point of this post was supposed to be to share a purchase link with you for the Sound City movie and we've gone on a lot longer than that. But I also wanted to share this with you.

This is the "letter" which I received in email  "from" Dave after I purchased the download of Sound City.

Pretty awesome.

Hey there....

Thanks for scraping up your hard earned dough and buying the movie direct from our site! We're stoked! Hope you love it as much as we do....

Ummm.........Holy shit! I made a movie!

I started this project a little over a year ago with ONE of my good old friends (Jim Rota from the band Fireball Ministry). That's right....just me, my drinking buddy, and a crazy idea that we should tell the story of a studio we had loved hanging around for years, and our heartbreak to see it close. It soon blossomed into something truly epic! I don't think either of us ever imagined our little project would become what it is now. Like all the best things in life, it just.......happened.

From day one, it was the most incredible experience of my life. I swear. Sitting down with Neil Young talking about recording guitars, John Fogerty telling me about the day he decided to become a musician, Stevie Nicks telling me the story of how she joined Fleetwood Mac, Trent Reznor schooling me on the world of computers and digital technology, etc etc etc.....can you imagine? All I had to do was listen...I am the luckiest man on earth.

And, being a completely independent film, no one told us how or what to do! Me and my crew of under 20 people did it OUR way. It was like a keg party with a camera. WE got to tell the story of a place we all held so dear. WE wanted to do it justice. And I think we did.

But, SOUND CITY is only part of the story.....

What is it that happens when 4 people turn on, plug in, and really play that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up? What is it about those moments when you hear something and it immediately puts its hooks in you, and you feel.....understood? What is it that will inspire the next generation of kids wanna do what I did when I was a little punk growing up in Springfield, Virginia? That feeling like, "Wait......I can do this too....."

That's what I'm talking about. That human connection. That human feel. That human sound...that isn't perfect...but it's sooooo good.

I really feel like SOUND CITY is my life's most important work. I hope you do too.

Psyched that you get to see it! Show it to your friends! Get together, start a band, sound like shit, and change the world. GO!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.........Dave

Hell yeah, right?

P.S.

Props to Jim from Fireball Ministry, Grohl's co-conspirator, for his part in making this flick happen. I always loved the hell out of Fireball Ministry.