You know Dave Grohl. You know him as the drummer in Nirvana. The founder of Foo Fighters. The true blue music fan who appears just as amazed that he gets to jam with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Page and Paul McCartney as would the average fanboy, seeming blissfully unaware of how big a deal he is, himself. You know him as a guy’s guy, a girl’s rock and roll crush, a gum-chewin’, late-night-guest-hostin’, mom-salutin’, guitar slingin’, kit-bangin’ future denizen of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That Dave Grohl.
And yes, the father of two girls is also a documentarian. Sound City is a captivating love letter to the recently departed Van Nuys, CA studio that played host to an all-star cast of musicians over the years, ranging from Barry Manilow to RATT, Nirvana to Rick Springfield, Masters of Reality to Fleetwood Mac. And Tom Petty. And Neil Young. And Rage Against the Machine. And, seriously, the list goes on forever.
The film explores the technological changes that have wrought massive upheaval within the music industry, illustrating the shift from the analog electronics and straight instrumentation that once defined studio work to digital sound boards and democratizing software like Pro Tools. It celebrates the synergistic moments that can only occur when the imperfections of the human element occur in concert, and laments the loss of the genius found only through the combination of opportunity and preparation (luck), rather than post-mortem editing.
Grohl hosted a February 12, 2013 screening of the film (also available on iTunes) at Washington, D.C.’s Landmark Theatre and took questions from a friendly hometown audience. Listen below as Grohl shows off his innate humor while discussing file sharing, working with Sir Paul, what was left on the cutting room floor, technology and vinyl in the modern era, and a lot more. (Including…SKEETER from Grohl’s old band, Scream). While not a perfectly clean recording, it’s scintillating stuff for any hard core fan of rock and roll. (FYI: Expletives not deleted!)