- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
- African leader cancels trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Sarah Palin’s online channel hits snag when Stephen Colbert buys similar URL
- SWAT spends seven hours in standoff with empty home
- U.S. troops told not to eat, drink in front of Muslims during Ramadan
- Iran’s Rouhani: Israel, Islamic State are ‘tumors derived from the same origin’
- Rep. Tim Murphy: GOP knew HealthCare.gov would be an ‘unmitigated disaster’
- Political speak: Planned Parenthood dumps ‘pro-choice’ for ‘women’s health’
- U.S. attorney warns Cuomo not to interfere with anti-corruption probes
Grohl’s ‘Sound City’ film explores human element
Question of the Day
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. (AP) - Rock musician Dave Grohl set out to make a recording studio the subject of his first-ever film. He was intrigued not only by the studio but by a specific piece of recording equipment _ a 1970s era sound board _ that captured every note of music made there.
Geek city, right? It sounds like an idea any sane moviegoer would run from.
Instead, “Sound City” offers a colorful piece of music history, a candid examination of changes wrought by technology and a defiant statement about not surrendering the human element in creativity. Grohl’s rookie film made it to the Sundance movie festival, is being released theatrically Friday and is accompanied by an album featuring artists he interviewed.
“It honestly was more like a keg party with a camera than making a Hollywood film,” he said.
Grohl knew nothing about the Sound City studio in Van Nuys, Calif., when he and fellow Nirvana members Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic booked a session to make “Nevermind” in 1991. Their California record company wanted Nirvana nearby to keep an eye on them and time at Sound City was cheap.
It was in a nondescript neighborhood and looked like a dump, with tired shag carpeting. Then Nirvana noticed all the gold records on the wall from artists who had recorded there: Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Van Halen, REO Speedwagon, Guns `n Roses, Neil Young, Cheap Trick, Slayer, Rick Springfield and more.
After plugging in their instruments and running through “In Bloom,” Grohl and his mates discovered why. The sound, to their ears, was amazing. Nirvana had never been captured with such clarity and power before.
“You might have never heard of Nirvana if we had recorded in Hollywood with a fancy producer who made us sound like Def Leppard,” he said. “The fact that that (sound) board made us sound like us is what people appreciated. To be reunited with it, honestly, it was like meeting your real parents for the first time.”
Sound City owners bought the recording console designed by British engineer Rupert Neve for $76,000 at a time many houses cost half that. When Grohl inquired about buying it a few years ago, the studio operator then suggested she’d rather sell her grandmother. But Sound City closed and Grohl’s wish came true (he won’t say what he paid for it). The console is now in a studio that Grohl and his band, Foo Fighters, operate in the North Ridge section of Los Angeles.
“It was our home away from home,” said Stevie Nicks. She recorded “Buckingham Nicks,” her album with then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham, at Sound City, and met her current backup singer there in 1972. Nicks and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac soon after, and the album that propelled the band to stardom was made on the Neve console.
Seeing Grohl’s movie, and the memories that came flooding back, made her cry, Nicks said.
Sound City struggled in the mid-1980s because technology led artists elsewhere, until Nirvana made it a mecca for a new generation. Now technology is so good that people can essentially record alone in their bedrooms, and they do. That doomed Sound City and many other studios.
As Mick Fleetwood says in “Sound City,” just because you can record by yourself doesn’t necessarily make it a great idea.
“When you get four different people, four different personalities, four different players in a room _ that combination equals magic,” Grohl said. “You can get the Beatles and you can get the Rolling Stones and you can get AC/DC. That happens because of people’s imperfections and bad habits. That’s what gives music personality, and that’s what I think is exciting about music.”
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- GOP report sees ties between rich donors, green 'nonprofits'
- House votes to sue President Obama over claims of presidential power
- NAPOLITANO: Is the president incompetent or lawless?
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- EDITORIAL: The real Lois Lerner exposed in newly released emails
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world