Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sound City

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Sound City – 5 out of 5

You may have heard of Dave Grohl.  He was in a little band
that had a couple of hits.

Dave Grohl is a legitimate God of Rock—if you don’t agree you might as well stop reading this review right now. The man can rock the fuck out of a drum set or a guitar or a mic and especially a live venue (the Foo Fighters show I saw in Minnesota stands out as one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever been too). He redefined rock and roll with Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic in Nirvana and, during a time when all our nation’s rock stations are filled with skinny jeans and fedora-laced hipster bands who rush out pretentious, lazy rock songs that all sound the same and see music as only an interruption for checking their iPhones, drinking PBR and making sure their ironic beards are at their most ironic andtheir vintage V-neck tight-fitting T-shirts they bought at a second hand shop for three times the price than just buying it at Walmart where it came from are the perfect visual cliché of all things hipster Dave Grohl was rocking with the rest of the Foos making some of the best rock music that will continue to rock long after we forgot who the hell Death Cab for Cutie was (sadly, that shitty band recorded at Sound City but they can’t all be winners).

The 70s took a picture of itself and this was the result.

Sound City is Dave Grohl’s first foray into the realm of documentary filmmaking and it tells the story of the legendary recording studio of Sound City in Van Nuys, California. How legendary is it? Think of the best rock albums put out—no, not the shitty new release from whatever crappy rock band that used YouTube to get famous. I’m talking about the albums that still get regular radio play, the albums that contain songs that still fill our movies’ soundtracks and the albums that still, no matter how often you put them on, they still rock your face off. Albums like Mastodon – The Hunter, Nine Inch Nails –With Teeth, Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R and Lullabies to Paralyze, Weezer – Pinkerton, Red Hot Chili Peppers – One Red Hot Minute, Tool – Undertow, Rage Against the Machine’s self entitled release, Nirvana – Nevermind, Dio – Holy Diver, Foreigner – Double Vision, Fleetwood Mac – Rumors, Elton John – Caribou, Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush and so much more. Basically if there’s an iconic song that has outlasted the relevance of Ke$ha’s popularity, it was recorded at Sound City.

Shit, Trent Reznor on a fucking piano is better than all the pop music ever created

Watching Sound City you would believe that Dave Grohl is a seasoned veteran of the documentary game but this is his first one…which is another reason why he’s one of the coolest motherfuckers on the planet.
Another reason he's awesome...he has a painting of himself in his studio with a
smoking jacket on.

The doc is incredibly solid in its construction and tells a straight-forward and linear story about the creation of the infamous studio and it’s Holy Grail of a soundboard created by engineering super-being; Rupert Neve, and how the studio rose and ultimately failed (possibly due to Death Cab recording there—although this theory is never explored in the film) before Dave Grohl, still being cooler than I will ever hope to be, purchasing the board and putting it in his home studio in order to record the mother of all rock albums with fellow rock icons—all of whom are interviewed for the documentary to talk about their time at the studio.

Lar Ulrich may be an icon but he still always looks like an asshole.

The doc is slick and flows from one stage to the next in Sound City’s life effortlessly and to a kick-ass soundtrack, to boot! Nearly every person who’s ever spent any amount of their time (I think a janitor showed up at one point) at the place is there to talk about their experience and even throw in a few jabs at the newer, lazier rock that pollutes our airwaves nowadays and how the digital revolution ultimately killed Sound City (still no mention of Death Cab’s hand in the murder).
With Pro-Tools there are no limitations...except when it comes to talent.
Pro-Tools couldn't just materialize that shit out of thin air for Limp Bizkit.

The film interviews everyone from Rupert Neve; the giver of life to the best boards in the business, to co-owner Tom Skeeter to studio managers Paula Salvatore and Shivaun O’Brien and legendary producers Keith Olsen and Rick Rubin. And Dave Grohl did NOT go light on the musical talent to share their experience as we see the likes of Mick Fleetwood, John Fogerty, Kevin Cronin, Josh Homme, Barry Manilow, Stevie Nicks, Krist Novoselic, Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Rick Springfield, Pat Smear and even Sir Paul McCartney who took a break from being Sir “Fucking” Paul McCartney to jam with Dave Grohl—oh, and that’s just a FEW of the musicians who show up on screen. There are plenty more.  Nickelback tried to show up but were thwarted.

Josh Homme...preparing to melt some faces with the power of his rocking.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think the man who
growled "I wanna fuck you like an animal" would become
an amazing film composer and an Academy Award winner
as well.
The whole film and the legendary story and tragic end to Sound City culminates in one of the best montages of album-making that has ever been seen by my nerdy eyes as Dave teams with all the greats to come out of Sound City to make the ultimate tribute to the place by recording a CD with all those rock icons. Seriously, I don’t know how Dave Grohl’s home studio was able to contain the awesome-ness and how it didn’t collapse into itself when you see Grohl rocking out with Academy Award winning musician Trent Reznor and Queens of the Stone Age front man; Josh Homme or how it still remained standing from the power of their rocking when Grohl hit the studio with Krist Novoselic and Paul McCartney.

This single still contains more awesome-ness than my entire life.

The van he's in tripled in value with just Grohl's presence
within it.
Sound City is one of the best music documentaries I have ever seen. The story of the studio is interesting enough but kudos must be given to Dave Grohl as the director. His history with the building and his love of the place showed in every second of the film. There was no doubt this film was a labor of love. The movie had the real danger of being a giant lovefest to Dave Grohl’s ego but, once again proven he’s better than us mere mortals, the film was Dave showing us the rich history of Sound City and all the industry standards the studio gave us to rock out to for the rest of our lives and wasn’t a giant golden statue to Dave’s greatness (this review on the other hand is a giant statue to his greatness). It’s no wonder that, as of writing this, the movie holds a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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