Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Sound City

Sound City

5.0 1

Cast: Dave Grohl, Joe Barresi, Butch Vig, Kevin Cronin


See All Formats & Editions

Sound City Studios is a recording complex that opened in 1969 in Van Nuys, CA. While the studio looked utilitarian on the outside and was located in a less-than-glamorous part of Southern California, it boasted a state-of-the-art recording console designed by Rupert Neve, and the studio's acoustics gave music a big, powerful sound that was perfect for rock & roll.


Sound City Studios is a recording complex that opened in 1969 in Van Nuys, CA. While the studio looked utilitarian on the outside and was located in a less-than-glamorous part of Southern California, it boasted a state-of-the-art recording console designed by Rupert Neve, and the studio's acoustics gave music a big, powerful sound that was perfect for rock & roll. Beginning with Neil Young's After The Gold Rush in 1970, many of the biggest acts of the day came to Sound City to put their music on tape, and bands and performers such as Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Elton John, Santana, Johnny Cash, and the Grateful Dead all cut albums there. In 1991, Nirvana came to Sound City to record their breakthrough album Nevermind, and the studio soon found a new clientele, with alternative rockers such as Nine Inch Nails, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool, and Rage Against the Machine booking time at the studio. But as digital technology became the industry standard by the end of the 1990s, Sound City's analog gear fell out of favor, and the owners sold off the trademark Neve recording console. That console was purchased by musician Dave Grohl, who recorded at Sound City with Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, and Grohl offers a look back at the studio's glory days in the documentary Sound City. Along with interviews with many of the artists and technicians who worked at Sound City, the film examines how the rise of digital recording technology has changed the music business, and impacted the way many musicians work. Sound City was Grohl's first project as a film director, and the documentary received its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
In the first few minutes of the documentary Sound City, Dave Grohl talks nostalgically about leaving Seattle as a young man of 22 on a grand adventure, taking off in a beat-up van towards an uncertain but exciting destiny, and arriving at a dumpy-looking recording studio in Van Nuys, CA, where to his surprise, all of his dreams came true. That studio, Sound City, may not have looked like much on the outside (and the staff weren't very good at housekeeping on the inside), but the main room had great acoustics, the employees were friendly, and the recording console made drums and guitars sound spectacular. Sixteen days after arriving, Grohl and his bandmates in Nirvana finished recording the album Nevermind, and the lives of the many people involved would never be the same. When Grohl talks about that summer in 1991, he clearly remembers hearing for the first time just how good his band could really be, and there's a heady joy and awe in his voice. Twenty years, a stack of platinum records, and major-league rock stardom with the Foo Fighters haven't dulled his sense of wonder a bit, and his excitement about the possibilities of the recording process has fueled his first foray into filmmaking, a documentary called Sound City. Dave Grohl directed and produced Sound City as well as conducted the interviews, and he's taken what could have been a very idiosyncratic look at the history of one recording studio and turned it into a fascinating, remarkably entertaining dissection of the creative process. Grohl finds some fascinating details in the nuts and bolts of Sound City's story; the studio was run by Joe Gottfried and Tom Skeeter, two guys who wanted to start a record company and got into artist management. After a rough start, Skeeter ponied up $72,000 to buy a state-of-the-art recording console from Rupert Neve, a British electronics genius who built technologically advanced audio gear. (At one point, Neve sits with Grohl and discusses the particulars of the console, while in subtitles, Grohl reveals that as a high-school dropout he understands almost none of what Neve is saying.) As the equipment attracted new clients, producer Keith Olsen began working at Sound City and recorded the debut album for a pair of unknown musicians named Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. While the album flopped, Olsen ended up introducing Buckingham to Mick Fleetwood, who was looking for a new guitarist and a place to record. Buckingham and Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac for the recording of their self-titled 1975 album at Sound City, and pop-music history was made. Gottfried also took over management of an actor and musician who had been struggling to make his mark for years; Gottfried teamed Rick Springfield up with producer Olsen, who cut "Jessie's Girl" at Sound City and turned the soap-opera performer into a major star. But while Grohl clearly enjoys the minutia of the Sound City story, and presents compelling and often hilarious interviews with dozens of musicians who recorded there over the years -- ranging from Tom Petty and John Fogerty to Frank Black and Lee Ving -- he also makes Sound City into an essay about the changing shape of popular music and the impact new technology has had on how musicians work. Sound City was an analog studio where musicians most often recorded live to two-inch tape and the nuance of a group performance was crucial. When digital recording came in, it became possible to manipulate audio elements with far greater ease, and people could make professional-sounding records at home on a laptop. But in the minds of most of the musicians Grohl talks to, something has been lost in an era of one-man bands manipulating data in Pro Tools. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, a technology buff if ever there was one, even chimes in and says that while technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the last 30 years, the quality of music certainly has not. In Dave Grohl's mind, music is a very human creation, and that's the idea that truly fuels Sound City. This is the story of how people make music; the technology certainly provides an assist, particularly that remarkable-sounding Neve console, but the most important part is what the artists put into it. Sound City celebrates the roles of all of the people who play a part in making a record, from the musicians to the folks who answered the phones at the studio (several Sound City clients sing the praises of office managers Shivaun O'Brien and Paula Salvatore), and for the last part of the film, Grohl lets us observe as he conducts sessions at Studio 606, his personal recording space that now houses the legendary Neve console from Sound City. While Grohl's sessions with Stevie Nicks and Trent Reznor are fascinating, none are more entertaining than the day Paul McCartney comes by to jam with Grohl and his fellow Nirvana alumni Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear. While the guys are initially humbled to be recording with an actual Beatle, once the back-and-forth between the players begins, one sees that Sir Paul puts his pants on one leg at a time (musically speaking) like anyone else; as their ideas cohere into a hard-edged boogie called "Cut Me Some Slack,"" the four men offer living proof of the true virtues of collaboration, which benefits the artist as well as the art. Dave Grohl shares a lot of stories in Sound City, and what's most impressive is that for a first-time filmmaker he tells these tales remarkably well. His natural enthusiasm for the material fills every frame, he reveals an easy give-and-take with the participants he interviews, and while at 107 minutes the film is long by the standards of a rock movie, the pace is brisk and it's a great ride from beginning to end. You might not think a picture about a now-shuttered recording studio would be something compelling, but Grohl's fascination with the folks who made magic happen at Sound City brings that same magic to the screen, and anyone who loves rock & roll and the people who make it ought to see this movie.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
[Wide Screen]
[stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

44 minutes and 30 seconds of bonus material

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dave Grohl Participant
Joe Barresi Participant
Butch Vig Participant
Kevin Cronin Participant
Joshua Homme Participant
Lee Ving Participant
Jim Scott Participant
Nick Raskulinecz Participant
Rick Rubin Participant
Shivaun O'Brien Participant
Paul Salvatore Participant
Chris Goss Participant
Stevie Nicks Participant
Rick Springfield Participant
Vinny Appice Participant
Rick Neilson Participant
Keith Olsen Participant
Lars Ulrich Participant
Trent Reznor Participant
Brad Wilk Participant
Mike Campbell Participant
Mick Fleetwood Participant
Corey Taylor Participant
Tom Skeeter Participant
Neil Young Participant
Sandy Skeeter Participant
Barry Manilow Participant
John Fogerty Participant
Rupert Neve Participant
Lindsey Buckingham Participant
Taylor Hawkins Participant
Omar Hakim Participant
James Brown Actor
Jim Keltner Participant
Benmont Tench Participant
Tom Petty Participant
Neil Giraldo Participant
Stephen Pearcy Participant
Ross Robinson Participant
Pat Smear Participant
Warren DeMartini Participant
Krist Novoselic Participant
Tim Bob Commerford Participant
Frank Black Participant
Robert Levon Been Participant
Paul McCartney Actor

Technical Credits
Dave Grohl Director,Original Story,Producer
Paul Crowder Editor
John Cutliffe Executive Producer
Mark Monroe Screenwriter
John Ramsay Producer
James Rota Producer
John Silva Executive Producer
Gaby Skolnek Executive Producer
Kenny Stoff Cinematographer
Kristen Welsh Executive Producer
Jessica Young Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Sound City
1. Chapter 1 [4:48]
2. Chapter 2 [4:25]
3. Chapter 3 [6:18]
4. Chapter 4 [9:16]
5. Chapter 5 [8:13]
6. Chapter 6 [7:02]
7. Chapter 7 [9:10]
8. Chapter 8 [6:09]
9. Chapter 9 [6:12]
10. Chapter 10 [6:45]
11. Chapter 11 [6:45]
12. Chapter 12 [8:31]
13. Chapter 13 [5:25]
14. Chapter 14 [10:42]
15. Chapter 15 [7:23]


Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Sound City 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply, Awesome.