Movie review: 'Sound City'

Dave Grohl's film documents the recording studio “Sound City,” a ratty old recording studio where some of the greatest rock records ever made were cut from the 1970s through the '90s.
By Roger Moore Published: March 8, 2013

In meeting the people who owned and ran Sound City, we hear them talk about how Fleetwood met guitarist Lindsey Buckingham on a visit there, and that's how Fleetwood Mac took off. Old home movies and outtakes recreate how Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cut their breakout album, “Damn the Torpedoes,” and then moved on to record by “tracking live,” trying to catch that raw in-performance sound on later CDs.

Studio managers Paula Salvatore and Shivaun O'Brian, producers and recording engineers and others recall launching Springfield's career by convincing him to let Pat Benatar's guitarist-husband do the guitar tracks on “Jesse's Girl,” creating a blockbuster hit.

“Sound City” encapsulates the digital recording revolution that put most sound studios out of business, and the last third of the film, with artists such as McCartney, Springfield and Fear frontman Lee Ving recording new songs on the old console, drags and makes the movie lose its way. But it's still a passion project, in all the best ways — a jaunty, juicy ramble through music history.

— Roger Moore, MCT Information Services