What do Fleetwood Mac, Nirvana, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young and Paul McCartney have in common? Sound City. The famous and now shut-down recording studio in Van Nuys, Calif. has seen thousands of albums go from scribbled down notions to platinum gold, but as Dylan famously sang, "The times, they are a-changin."
"You don’t have to be perfect. You can buy a f*cking guitar at a garage sale and start a band with your neighbor. And if everyone is as passionate about this as I am, there will be like a f*cking wave of radical garage bands!" This was the war cry of Nirvana and Foo Fighters legend Dave Grohl at the premiere of his documentary "Sound City" at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday afternoon. It is the rock star's directorial debut but from the sound of it, he didn't set out to make a huge movie.
"The 20-year anniversary of 'Nevermind' was coming up, the studio was closing, so I bought the recording board and thought, well, what an incredible thing this is; this board is responsible for the person that I am now," he said to The Huffington Post. Grohl intended to make a short film about the legendary recording studio's importance to him, but when he asked Sound City for a list of everyone who had recorded there, he was greeted with a frank, "Are you f*cking kidding me?" The list was over 100,000 names.
"So they made me a short list, and I just started calling people, reaching out, saying 'Hey I'm Dave, I'm making a movie and can I interview you? And everyone said yes,'" Grohl told HuffPost. "There were a few that couldn't make it. But I f*cking hunted people down too. If they blew me off, I was like we're not done…"
Rock legend after rock legend grace the screen in the "Sound City" documentary -– and some bundled up at Sundance to help celebrate the project. Rick Springfield had a quick answer when HuffPost asked what his favorite memory at Sound City was. "Meeting my wife in front of that recording board. She was 15 at the time, but I waited until she was 18," he laughed. "Sound City was in one of the ugliest parts of LA, but it was a magical black hole that sucked all this talent into it."
Icon Stevie Nicks recorded some of the most famous music in rock with Fleetwood Mac at Sound City. "When we moved to Los Angeles in 1971, we lived with our producer Keith Olsen, and he was the one that ordered that board and customized that board. He is like the dad of that board," she told HuffPost. When asked about her own documentary, she said, "I'm going back into Fleetwood Mac, and it's like the Volturi is coming for me. I don't love being filmed, and I don’t love all the stuff you have to think about instead of thinking about your music. I don’t love the whole vanity thing, it bugs me. I'd never want to be a movie star."
Grohl recorded Nirvana's generation-changing 'Nevermind' album at Sound City and calls this documentary the most important project of his career.
"I'm telling the story of human beings making music -- showing Paul McCartney writing a song or Stevie Nicks and Neil Young talking about the human element of music and how important it is that human beings do it with other human beings," he said. "That’s way more important than a fucking record."
"It’s a much broader conversation, and it's meant to inspire people to do the same thing," Grohl continued. 'When I was a kid, and I saw another 12-year-old in a punk rock band I thought, well f*ck, I want to be in a punk rock band too. It's exactly what inspired me to do it. Seeing another person do it."
"Sound City" will be released Feb. 1 and will have a star-studded LA premiere on Jan. 31 with a special concert at the Palladium.