Sound City is a documentary directed by Dave Grohl about the LA recording studio, Sound City Studios. The studio opened in 1969 and closed it’s doors just recently in 2011. Sound City arguably changed the face of rock and roll with the introduction of the Neve Sound Board. The analog equipment captured some of the best-loved music in history –
Nirvana’s Nevermind, Neil Young, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled album, Fleetwood Mac, REO Speedwagon, Elton John, Metallica, Rick Springfield, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the list goes on…
I’ve always been consumed with the ongoing debate of whether the music made today is upholding to the music made 20 or 30 years ago (many would instantly say “no way”). Will we listen to Lady Gaga 50 years from now just as we listen to The Beatles from 50 years ago?
The Sound City documentary reignited my interest in this topic even more. The basis is technology. Sound City recorded over 100 gold and platinum albums on an analog sound board. The Neve 8026 Console was custom-made for the studio. Musicians had to be… musicians. Pro tools did not exist. If you wanted to re-record or fix a sound, it costs tape, money, and time. But the sound was incredible. The sound was real.
Nowadays, anyone can be a musician with the technology available. But is this a bad thing? The demise of Sound City mirrored the demise of mass analog recording. Although, many would argue that analog is better than digital, I believe it’s a perfect example of technology. In with the new, out with the old. I’m not taking either side – I’m a fan of music. However, I will always appreciate and admire the musicians who had to spend thousands of dollars and countless hours to record an album.
See the movie, it’s worth it.