|SOUND CITY (director: David Grohl; screenwriters: Mark Monroe/based on a story by David Grohl; cinematographer: Kenny Stoff; editor: Paul Crowder; cast: Keith Olsen, Tom Skeeter, Trent Reznor, Tom Petty, Mick Fleetwood; Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: John Ramsay/James A. Rota/DavidGrohl; Variance Films; 2013)|
tribute to the tape-based dumpy Sound City."
by Dennis Schwartz
sincere tribute to the tape-based dumpy Sound City, in
Van Nuys, in the San Fernando Valley, the
no-frills studio home for many top rock groups in the
1970s, by first-time filmmaker and a drummer,
guitarist and vocalist in groups like Nirvana and
Foo Fighters, David Grohl. The
rock documentary is filled with interviews from many
recording engineers, producers, office staff, the
amiable savvy business partner owners Tom Skeeter and
Joe Gottfried, and the long list of rockers who
recorded in the studio such as Tom Petty, Mick
Fleetwood, Rick Springfield, Stevie Nicks, Johnny Cash
and Barry Manilow.
tech heavy and talky, as it tells its mildly
interesting story of the unlikely success of the
studio and how in the digital age of recording in the
1980s and 90s flattened out as a dinosaur, and how in
recent times the vogue is to use something like the
Pro-Tool on one's home laptop and record things alone.
Skeeter and engineer turned producer Olsen credit the
studio's early success to the unique sound of the Neve
console they bought for $76,000 from genius inventor
tells that the 1975 Fleetwood Mac
album brought the studio instant fame and the groups
that followed suit included included
Santana, The Grateful Dead, Pat Benatar, Foreigner,
Cheap Trick, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and REO
Speedwagon. We are also told that the unknown at
the time Nirvana band recorded in their studio the
landmark 1991 release, the Number 1 hit, Nevermind,
and that brought the studio back from the dead.
documentary goes on for too long as it waxes poetic
and overloads on nostalgia about the uniqueness of the
shithole studio, that was forced to concede that
digital recordings are the more business efficient way
to go and the studio went out of business. It ends
with us learning that Grohl bought the famous Neve
board and the pic closes with several new tunes played
Naturally, the pic is more geared for rock fans than a general audience.
REVIEWED ON 12/17/2013 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ