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Sound City Studios

File:Sound City Logo.jpg
Logo of Sound City.

Sound City Studios was 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 company, Vox.


Sound City contributed its signature analog sound to more than a hundred certified gold and platinum albums.[1][2] The studio was privately held from 1970, until it closed its commercial studio services in May 2011. It is now reserved for the exclusive use of its tenants, Fairfax Recordings.[3] Dave Grohl, former Nirvana drummer and current lead singer of the Foo Fighters, purchased the custom Neve 8078 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.


Early days

"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[4][5][6] to buy a state-of-the-art recording console from Rupert Neve, a British electronics genius who built technologically advanced audio gear":[7] "one of four in the world",[6] "a 28-input, 16-bus, 24-monitor 8028 with 1085 EQs and no automation".[8]

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.

After 1975

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.[9][10][11] 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 Recording 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.[12][13]

Death of owner

Tom Skeeter died on 12 September 2014, at the age of 82.[14]


Sound City Studios prided themselves on having a very particular sound when it came to recording drums.[1][7][15][16][17] "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."[18] "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."[2] 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.[18] 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.[citation needed]

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.[8]


Year Artist Album Producer
1970 Spirit Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus David Briggs
1970 Neil Young After The Gold Rush Neil Young, David Briggs, Kendall Pacios
1972 Dr. John Dr. John's Gumbo Jerry Wexler
1973 Buckingham Nicks Buckingham Nicks Keith Olsen
1974 Evel Knievel Evel Knievel
1974 Elton John Caribou Gus Dudgeon
1974 Bachman–Turner Overdrive Not Fragile Randy Bachman
1974 Bill Cosby At Last Bill Cosby Really Sings Stu Gardner
1975 Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood Mac Keith Olsen
1975 War Why Can't We Be Friends? Jerry Goldstein
1975 Nils Lofgren Nils Lofgren David Briggs
1977 Grateful Dead Terrapin Station Keith Olsen
1977 REO Speedwagon You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can't Tuna Fish John Boylan, Gary Richrath, Kevin Cronin, Paul Grupp
1978 Cheap Trick Heaven Tonight Tom Werman
1978 Walter Egan Not Shy Lindsay Buckingham / Richard Dashut
1978 Foreigner Double Vision Keith Olsen
1979 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn the Torpedoes Jimmy Iovine
1980 Pat Benatar Crimes of Passion Keith Olsen
1981 Rick Springfield Working Class Dog Keith Olsen / Bill Drescher
1981 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Hard Promises Tom Petty / Jimmy Iovine
1981 Santana Zebop! Keith Olsen
1982 Pat Benatar Precious Time Keith Olsen
1982 Hawks 30 Seconds Over Otho John Ryan/Hawks
1982 REO Speedwagon Good Trouble Kevin Beamish
1982 Fear The Record Gary Lobow
1982 Barry Manilow Here Comes the Night Bill Drescher
1982 Rick Springfield Living in Oz Bill Drescher
1983 Dio Holy Diver Ronnie James Dio
1984 Ratt Out of the Cellar Beau Hill
1984 Rick Springfield Hard to Hold Bill Drescher
1984 Saxon Crusader Kevin Beamish
1985 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Southern Accents Tom Petty / Jimmy Lovine
1985 Loudness Thunder in the East Max Norman
1988 Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits
1989 Keel Larger Than Live Ron Keel
1991 Nirvana Nevermind Butch Vig
1992 Kyuss Blues for the Red Sun Kyuss / Chris Goss
1992 Blind Melon Blind Melon Rick Parashar / Blind Melon
1992 Masters of Reality Sunrise on the Sufferbus Chris Goss / Ginger Baker
1992 Rage Against the Machine Rage Against the Machine Garth Richardson
1992 Green Jellÿ Cereal Killer Sylvia Massy
1993 Kyuss Welcome to Sky Valley Kyuss / Chris Goss
1993 Tool Undertow Sylvia Massy / C.J. Buscaglia
1993 Rancid Rancid Brett Gurewitz
1993 Tom Petty Greatest Hits
1994 Tom Petty Wild Flowers Rick Rubin
1994 The Black Crowes Amorica Jack Joseph Puig
1994 Slayer Divine Intervention Rick Rubin / Toby Wright / Slayer
1995 Dashboard Prophets Burning Out The Inside Garth Richardson
1995 Red Hot Chili Peppers One Hot Minute Rick Rubin
1995 Kyuss ...And the Circus Leaves Town Chris Goss
1996 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Songs and Music from "She's the One" Tom Petty
1996 Carl Perkins Go Cat Go! Various / Eddie Kramer
1996 Johnny Cash Unchained Rick Rubin
1996 Weezer Pinkerton Weezer, David Fridmann
1996 Tonic Lemon Parade Jack Joseph Puig
1997 Fu Manchu The Action Is Go Jay Noel Yuenger
1998 Various Godzilla: The Album Foo Fighters
1998 Frank Black and the Catholics Frank Black and the Catholics Frank Black
1998 Superdrag Head Trip in Every Key Jerry Finn / Superdrag
1998 System of a Down System of a Down Rick Rubin, System of a Down
1999 Frank Black and the Catholics Pistolero Nick Vincent
1999 Jimmy Eat World Clarity Mark Trombino
2000 A Perfect Circle Mer de Noms Billy Howerdel
2000 Queens of the Stone Age Rated R Chris Goss
2001 Frank Black and the Catholics Dog in the Sand Nick Vincent
2001 Slipknot Iowa Ross Robinson
2001 Treble Charger Wide Awake Bored Matt Hyde
2001 Fu Manchu California Crossing Matt Hyde
2001 Vanilla Ice Bi-Polar Vanilla Ice
2003 Matchbook Romance West For Wishing Brett Gurewitz
2003 Hotwire The Routine Matt Hyde
2003 Kings of Leon Youth & Young Manhood Ethan Johns
2003 Poison the Well You Come Before You Pelle Henricsson
2003 Rancid Indestructible Brett Gurewitz
2004 Bad Religion The Empire Strikes First Brett Gurewitz
2005 Queens of the Stone Age Lullabies to Paralyze Joe Barresi
2005 Wolfmother Wolfmother Dave Sardy
2005 Nine Inch Nails With Teeth Trent Reznor
2005 Madrugada The Deep End George Drakoulias
2005 Ry Cooder Chávez Ravine Ry Cooder
2007 Mavis Staples We'll Never Turn Back Ry Cooder
2008 Cold War Kids Loyalty to Loyalty Kevin Augunas / Cold War Kids
2008 Metallica Death Magnetic Rick Rubin
2008 Nine Inch Nails The Slip Trent Reznor
2008 Elvis Costello and the Imposters Momofuku Elvis Costello / Jason Lader
2009 Kid Rock Born Free Rick Rubin
2009 The Higher It's Only Natural Mike Green
2009 Wolfmother Cosmic Egg Alan Moulder
2010 Josh Groban Illuminations Rick Rubin
2010 Death Cab for Cutie Codes and Keys Chris Walla / Death Cab for Cutie
2010 Triggerfinger All This Dancin' Around Greg Gordon
2010 Year Long Disaster Black Magic; All Mysteries Revealed Nick Raskulinecz
2011 Mastodon The Hunter Mike Elizondo
2011 Everclear Return to Santa Monica Nathaniel Kunkel / Art Alexakis
2011 Arctic Monkeys Suck It and See James Ford
2011 Halos Living Like Kings In Confined Spaces Greg Richling
2011 Noah and the Whale Last Night on Earth Noah and the Whale

See also


  1. ^ a b 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. 
  2. ^ a b Turan, Kenneth (31 January 2013). "Movie review: 'Sound City' is homage to recording studio equipment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Florino, Rick (29 January 2013). "'Sound City' Movie Review — 5 out of 5 stars". Santa Monica, California: Artistdirect. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Mervis, Scott (26 April 2013). "Movie Review: 'Sound City' captures heyday of a legendary LA music studio". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Filbin, Patrick (9 April 2013). "Rock Docs: Sound City (2013)". Buzz Weekly (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois). Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Deming, Mark (1 February 2013). "Sound City (2013) - Review - AllMovie". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Scoppa, Bud (1 March 2009). "L.A. Grapevine, March 2009". Mix. Retrieved 9 June 2013.  Ruper Neve,
  9. ^ Q staff (May 1997). "The recording of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (February 1976 - February 1977)". Q magazine (128). Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Staff (19 September 1997). "100 Best Albums Ever (archived from the original)" (FEATURES INSERT). The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  11. ^ McLaughlin, Katie (27 June 2012). "Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' at 35: Still the 'perfect album'". CNN. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  12. ^ "Metallica – Chart history: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Dead Magnetic - Metallica: Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  14. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club : 2014 July to December". Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ Wren, Alec (11 March 2013). "Sound City Documentary – Review". 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. 
  17. ^ Murphy, Ronan Chris (6 April 2009). "Sound City Studios Documentary. Neil Young to Metallica to Kyuss to Tom Petty to Nirvana". 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. 
  18. ^ a b Fackenthall, Kent (19 July 2012). "The Sound of Sound City Studios". Retrieved 3 December 2014. 

External links

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