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There’s a lot to think about when you think about Dave Grohl – artist, musician, icon, activist. My first thought when I heard about his directorial debut, “Sound City,” was no matter what, this will be badass.
Well, Grohl did not disappoint. Part documentary, part musical history, part testament to talent, and all tribute to the building, “Sound City” takes the viewer on a journey through a studio where artists like Nirvana (Nevermind, 1991), the Grateful Dead (Terrapin Station, 1977), Fleetwood Mac (Fleetwood Mac, 1975), Dr. John (Dr. John’s Gumbo, 1972) and other legends made music without the help of samples, synthesizers or the dreaded Auto-Tune.
Grohl remarks plainly, “In this age of technology, where you can manipulate everything, how do we retain that human element?” Parallels can be drawn between music and advertising, an industry that has experienced a similar shift – from newspaper and vinyl to an interactive space where messages can be quickly manipulated, molded and responded to. But no matter how much we try or how quickly technology moves, Sound City, and many of the artists who recorded there, are a reminder of the non-digital equity of pure music and that creativity manifests itself in everything, seeping out of every pore of the work.
The magic in the movie is the lesson it imparts: Just because the technology is there doesn’t mean you don’t have to practice and perfect your craft every day.