‘Sound City’ album inspires rock fans

By Kevin Bartelt

Most of rock music isn’t what it used to be in the 20th century.

Ungodly amounts of pop music have infected our once pure brains. Kids cannot appreciate a classic like “Stairway to Heaven” but can jam out to “Thrift Shop” like it is their job (Mackle-less). If those naïve of rock music knew the story behind it, perhaps they would give it a chance. Luckily, Dave Grohl, Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman, has helped millions of people appreciate rock for its magnificence and originality through his documentary and new album “Sound City”.

As (average) music listeners, we do not credit the tiring recording process of an album. We simply hear a song and life moves on. “Sound City” sheds light on the hidden gem of the titular great-unknown recording studio. Do not be mistaken, Sound City was no Ritz-Carlton. The walls had shag carpeting and one musician said in the documentary, “You could piss in the corner and no one would notice.”

The only tangible beauty Grohl emphasizes on is the famous Neve mixing console. This intelligently designed piece of recording equipment was the heart of Sound City. Artists like Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Rick Springfield and Neil Young explain throughout the documentary how Sound City boosted their career.

Unfortunately, Sound City hit a major roadblock. As computer-based music (pro tools and digital music), became more progressive in the 1980s, Sound City struggled to stay afloat. Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album is arguably the last big hit of Sound City before it closed in 2011. Grohl vividly recollects the significance of Sound City and Nirvana so he made one of the smartest purchases in his life–he bought the Neve console.

Sound City trusted giving the console to Grohl because its owners knew he would use it. Not only did Grohl utilize this wonderful piece of equipment, but he used it to record rock n’ rolls finest, including Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Springfield, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. All of these recordings are on the spectacular “Sound City” album.

I highly recommend this memorable documentary, and the album is equally as powerful. Grohl did an amazing job portraying what RottenTomatoes.com calls “LA’s Best Kept Secret.” If you enjoy rock music, are curious about learning the recording process and about the music business, or want to pay respect to passionate musicians–do yourself a favor and watch “Sound City.” You can rent it on iTunes for $4.99.