Sound City (2013)

8.5 Overall Score

Nice look at a famed recording studio with a long history

Preferred the historical portion to the new portion

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Sound City

Studio:  Roswell Films

Genre(s):  Documentary/Muscial

Release Date(s):  January 18, 2013 (Sundance Film Festival)/February 1, 2013 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Dumpy, but prolific!

Opened in 1969 in Van Nuyes by Joe Gottfried and Tom Skeeter, Sound City was a dive…with a great soundboard.  When Fleetwood Mac recorded a track for Rumours in Sound City, Sound City hit the big time and flooded with arts (which is ironic since the studio sometimes flooded).  Unfortunately, times change and so does technology.  When Nirvana reinvigorated Sound City with Nevermind, the studio had hope again…but the good times can’t go on forever.

Directed by Foo Fighters front man and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, Sound City is a documentary chronicling the life of the famed Sound City recording studio.  The film was released to critical acclaim.



When you look at the list of accomplishments for Sound City Studios, you would be amazed.  It has an impressive clientele that is still making music.  I really enjoyed looking back on the history of the studio…but the second half of this documentary feels a bit out of place.

Out of place is a bit harsh.  I completely understand why the sequence involving the Neve 8028 analog mixing board is in the movie.  It shows a place like Sound City can continue to live on as the recording environment changes and even implodes.  Despite the significance (and possibly the point of the documentary), I enjoy the history of Sound City much more and seeing the vintage photos and hearing the stories of performers I grew up on.

The reason behind this shift of focus is probably due to supply.  There isn’t a ton of original footage from the recordings of Sound City and most of the archival material looks like personal photographs.  I do enjoy the interviews (I really like that Rick Springfield talks about how he turned his back on the people who started them off…some artists wouldn’t admit to this).  I also really enjoy hearing the stories of the “average Joe” workers who lived in this up and coming world.


The sound board of legends!

It is the fact that some of this film is spent with the workers of Sound City which gives this documentary its heart.  With VH1 and MTV, there are plenty of interviews with many of the celebrities who are seen in the documentary but seeing both the love of the celebrities and the workers for what was virtually a rat-trap recording studio shows how the Sound City team was almost a family and anyone with a love of music could be a member.

Sound City is a documentary that will appeal to fans of music.  It is loaded with tons of great artists and some new original music as well.  I love the history of this studio and it is good to see that it has a chance to live on in the hands of a prolific and influential artist like Grohl who delivers a solid documentary as well.  Check out Sound City and continue to rock on!

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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