The first trailer for Sound City, a new documentary directed by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, has recently hit the net. It looks to be comprised mostly of famous talking heads whining about the “good old days” as they face fading into obscurity in the wake of digital technology.
Sound City looks to attempt to make this point by focusing on the legendary California studio from which the film borrows its name. Legendary artists such as Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, Johnny Cash and Guns N’ Roses have all recorded tracks and albums at Sound City over the past 40 years. The film traces its rise and eventual closing in 2011.
Grohl uses his own opinion combined with the input from Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Trent Reznor, Lars Ulrich, Josh Homme and others to discuss the importance of analog and the dangers of the music world going digital. In short, it looks like a love letter to the analog medium. Sound City employs Mark Monroe, who wrote the Oscar winning documentary The Cove in 2009. It also calls upon the talents of editor Paul Crowder, who’s exceptional work can be seen in 2001’s Dogtown and Z-Boys.
While Sound City seems to be poetic and heartfelt, one must first consider Grohl’s skewed perspective. The film doesn’t look to be offering much more than an extremely niche opinion on an otherwise important topic. For example, there’s a point in the trailer where Josh Homme (frontman for Queens of the Stone Age) mentions how “Like most things, there’s no book store, there’s no music store, and there’s no Sound City.” I would argue that the disappearance of book stores and music stores holds far more water than an argument about a music studio that caters to rich, white rock musicians.
Don’t get me wrong, now. There’s no doubting the relevance of the digital versus analog argument. But who cares about what famous rock musicians have to say about it? It’s obvious they will prefer the process they grew up on – analog – rather than the universal and more accessible way of editing music – digital. Proof of their argument should exist in their work (music), not a whiny documentary that provides a soapbox to people that already have an extremely large platform to voice their opinions (music).
Sound City will premier at this year’s Sundance Film Festival this January and will be released shortly after sometime in February. Enjoy the trailer below.