Sound City Studios
Sound City Studios is a recording studio incorporated in 1969, located in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, USA. The facility had previously been a production factory of the British musical instrument manufacturer, Vox. The studio was officially closed in 2011, when it ceased commercial operations, but it has reopened as of early 2017.
Sound City contributed its signature analog sound to more than a hundred certified gold and platinum albums. The studio was privately held from 1970, until it closed its commercial studio services in May 2011. It was reserved for the exclusive use of its tenants, Fairfax Recordings from 2011 through 2016, before officially being reopened in early 2017. Dave Grohl, former Nirvana drummer and current frontman of Foo Fighters, purchased the Neve Electronics 8028 Console from Studio A, installing it in his private recording studio. In 2013, a documentary on the studio was made by Grohl simply titled Sound City.
The studio was run by Joe Gottfried and Tom Skeeter, two guys who wanted to start a record company and got into artist management. After a rough start, Skeeter ponied up $75,175 to buy a state-of-the-art recording console from Rupert Neve, a British electronics genius who built technologically advanced audio gear: "One of four in the world", "a 28-input, 16-bus, 24-monitor 8028 with 1085 EQs and no automation".
During 1969, Sound City hosted the David Briggs productions Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus by Spirit and After the Gold Rush by Neil Young. On a more infamous note, cult leader Charles Manson made some recordings in Studio B, just a few months before the Manson family crime spree in the Summer of 1969.
In the 1970s, Neil Young, Dr. John, Spirit, Crazy Horse, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, along with other bands recorded music at the studio. Shelter Records founders Leon Russell and Denny Cordell found an L.A. home at Sound City as well, recording Leon Russell, Delaney & Bonnie, and Joe Cocker. Thanks to the Shelter founders, Sound City hosted a young band from Florida named Mudcrutch in 1974, providing an introduction to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers that resulted in a 30+ year relationship.
In 1976, Fleetwood Mac recorded one track at the studio, "Never Going Back Again", from what would become one of the highest selling and most critically acclaimed albums of all time, Rumours. During the 1980s and 1990s, the studio was used to produce works from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Rick Springfield, Ronnie James Dio, Foreigner, The Black Crowes, and Nirvana. Record producer Rick Rubin chose Sound City Studios to record artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Johnny Cash (Unchained, 1996). He most recently recorded Metallica's Death Magnetic, which entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at number 1, at the studio. Joe Gottfried died in 1992, at the age of 65. Tom Skeeter died on 12 September 2014, at the age of 82.
The studio was officially closed to the public from 2011 through 2016, but in early 2017 a partnership was formed between Sandy Skeeter (President of Sound City Inc. and daughter of Tom Skeeter) and Olivier Chastan in order to reopen the studio. Sound City is now the home of two Helios Type 69 consoles and continues to utilize classic analog recording techniques in many of its productions (though a Pro Tools rig has been installed in each studio, for the convenience of its clients).
Sound City Studios prides themselves on having a very particular sound when it comes to recording drums. "Studio drummer and Toto member, Jeff Porcaro, insisted that you only had to set up the drums in order to get a good drum sound." "Guitars sound pretty much the same everywhere, says famed producer Rick Rubin, but drums change from room to room, and the sound at Sound City was among the best." Producer Greg Fidelman recorded the sound of a bass drum from each of the big recording studios in the Los Angeles area, subsequently playing the sample for Metallica without divulging from which studio the sound had originated. Based upon this sample, the band chose Sound City Studios to record Death Magnetic. In addition, when asked by Nine Inch Nails to be a guest drummer on some songs, Dave Grohl agreed only if the songs were to be recorded at Sound City Studios. According to an article called L.A. Grapevine, the interior of the main studio has never been painted over, nor were its linoleum tiles changed, due to fear that the change would directly affect the "legendary sound quality" of the room.
- "Sound City Studios". Sound City Studios. Sound City Studios. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- Coffey, Padraic (8 March 2013). "Sound City: Classic rock fans will find much to admire". filmjamblog. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
Sound City Studios was host to a plethora of talents, recording over 100 certified gold and platinum albums, before its closure in 2011. [...] The studio's incomparable reputation for quality percussion sound is tested in a brief high-energy montage of Grohl, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins and other players behind the skins.
- Turan, Kenneth (31 January 2013). "Movie review: 'Sound City' is homage to recording studio equipment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Florino, Rick (29 January 2013). "'Sound City' Movie Review — 5 out of 5 stars". Santa Monica, California: Artistdirect. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Mervis, Scott (26 April 2013). "Movie Review: 'Sound City' captures heyday of a legendary LA music studio". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Filbin, Patrick (9 April 2013). "Rock Docs: Sound City (2013)". Buzz Weekly. Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
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- Scoppa, Bud (1 March 2009). "L.A. Grapevine, March 2009". Mix. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
- Q staff (May 1997). "The recording of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (February 1976 - February 1977)". Q magazine (128). Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- Staff (19 September 1997). "100 Best Albums Ever (archived from the original)" (Features insert). The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- McLaughlin, Katie (27 June 2012). "Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' at 35: Still the 'perfect album'". CNN. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
- "Metallica – Chart history: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- "Dead Magnetic - Metallica: Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club : 2014 July to December". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Our History". Sound City Studios. Sound City Studios. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- on YouTube.
- Scherstuhl, Alan (30 January 2013). "Dave Grohl and Other Rockers Toast L.A.'s Sound City". The Village Voice. New York City. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Wren, Alec (11 March 2013). "Sound City Documentary – Review". harmonicjunction.com. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
Coupled with the console was the large live room, a room that defied its undesirable acoustical sizing and characteristics to generate drum tracks that would redefine rock music.
- Murphy, Ronan Chris (6 April 2009). "Sound City Studios Documentary. Neil Young to Metallica to Kyuss to Tom Petty to Nirvana". ronansrecordingshow.com. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
This place is heaven for analog recording gear fanatics and has what some consider the best drum room in the world.
- Fackenthall, Kent (19 July 2012). "The Sound of Sound City Studios". kentfackenthall.com. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2016.