Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl announced this week that he’s been hard at work on a documentary about L.A. recording studio Sound City Studios, where he recorded the album with which Seattle conquered the world: Nirvana’s classic 1991, Nevermind. But by the time Nirvana arrived at Sound City Studios, the studio had seen (or rather, heard) plenty of rock legends – and Grohl has spoken to them for his documentary.
“He’s [Grohl] probably interviewed 150 or 200 people so far, and now we’ve been working on musical collaborations to be a part of the soundtrack for the film,” producer Butch Vig (who worked on Nevermind) told Billboard, adding that Rick Springfield recorded with Grohl and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme for Sound City‘s soundtrack.
Among those hundreds interviewed by Grohl for the documentary are Springfield, Fleetwood Mac‘s Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, Tom Petty, Barry Manilow, Trent Reznor, members of Metallica and more – and that’s only based on the film’s trailer.
“Some of the people’s experiences there were great, and some people’s experiences, like anything, were negative or there’s a black cloud or whatever,” Vig said. “We’re not trying to paint a shiny picture, like everything is always perfect when you go into a recording studio, and I think that is what is sort of fascinating to see how all these people opened up. Like Lindsey Buckingham and Tom Petty, the stories they have are incredible. Tom Petty talked for, like, six hours, and it’s amazing; we could a 90-minute or two-hour film with just him. So it’s going to be interesting to see what makes the final cut.”
We took a look at Sound City’s history to see which classic albums were recorded at the Van Nuys, California studio since its founding in 1969. The results were staggering, especially from the ’70s:
- Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush (1970)
- Elton John’s Caribou (1974)
- Both Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled debut (1975) and Rumours (1977)
- Foreigner’s Double Vision (1978)
- Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedos (1979) and much of Petty’s subsequent discography
Grohl’s obsession with Sound City started in ’91 when he first visited the studio, so much so that he bought the studio’s vintage console last year. Grohl mused in a handwritten letter describing Sound City Studios (via his rep): “It was witness to history, it was home to a special few, intent on preserving an ideal. An analog church, a time capsule, the last bastion of a craft defied by technology.”
No word on when Sound City will be released, but Vig hopes for early next year. Watch the rock doc’s trailer below.
–Jillian Mapes, CBS Local