If you haven’t heard about the Sound City movie yet, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce you to what is most likely going to be one of the best, most interesting, behind the scenes, music rockumentaries ever made. And I swear I’m not only saying that because it’s produced by Dave Grohl. Sound City the film will tell the story of Sound City the recording studio through the voices of the iconic musicians who have worked there. And since musicians like Tom Petty, Neil Young, Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Rage Against the Machine, Guns and Roses, and a bagillion more, have recorded at Sound City, I can’t wait to see who ends up on screen.
By dropping mix tapes at Foo Fighters gigs around the world, hiding merch at festivals, and making social media his B-I-T-C-H, Dave Grohl is leading a gorilla marketing campaign that falls in line with the low-key, all about the music nature of Sound City. This week he released two short videos of Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and Kevin Cronin from REO Speedwagon talking about their first musical memories. This got me thinking about my first musical memories, and I thought I’d share them with you here.
I can’t talk about my love for music without talking about my dad. Any inclination I have towards combinations of chords comes from the enthusiasm rooted in him. For his birthday one year, my mom, sister, and I installed a CD player in the kitchen, and I don’t think we’ve given him a better gift before or since.
For whatever reason, I don’t remember much of anything about my childhood. The oldest solid memories I have start at about age ten. Despite this, I have a very early memory of my dad’s record collection. About 3 or 4 times a year, I would take time off from my busy barefoot in the yard schedule to dig through the dusty boxes. We moved often, so I was very meticulous about unpacking and repacking their contents to make sure nobody knew I had disturbed them. He had every Beatles record, Led Zeppelin out the behind, Eric Clapton, Cream, and pretty much anything else that came out when he was in his 20s.
I studied the covers, and removed the paper and plastic to feel the texture and history that lay inside the detailed packaging. I had no clue of the music these records held, but I was aware enough to brag to friends about the fact that my dad had an original copy of The White Album. But after a not so routine, routine trip to Costco, that all changed.
My dad and I would go to the bulk superstore for “brunch” every Sunday and fill up on free samples and ice cream cones. We would occasionally browse the books and music, and on the Costco trip right after his kitchen stereo birthday, we bought the Beatles “1” album. He drove us home faster than I’d ever seen him drive before. It was in our kitchen over Costco ice cream cones that I listened to The Beatles for the first time. My dad was stoked. He wasn’t the only “1”.
That moment was one of the first that turned me into the music monster I am today. My dad was on a mission to expose me to all the tunes that were his Green Day and Foo. He’d blare James Taylor as he drove me to work and then would be waiting in the car an hour before I was off duty playing Janis Joplin as loud as the Ford Explorer would let him. I still suspect his proudest moment of me was when I asked him to burn me a copy of “Dark Side of the Moon.”
On the other side of things, my dad was always really open to hearing what my sister and I were listening to. You couldn’t leave a CD lying around without him trying it out. Usually this ended well, but other times it led to him asking in his thick Israeli accent why Mystikal refers to women as bitches and ho’s. For the record, that album was my sister’s.
I now own most of the Beatles collection myself, but some things will never change. On a recent flight with my dad we exchanged iPods to see what the other had going on. By the end of the flight, I was listening to the Allman Brothers and he was listening to Eminem. And while this might be my most recent musical memory with him, I know there are many more still ahead. Cause whether it be through records, CDs, or digital files, my dad and I will always be creating our own Sound City.
Dad at the Dakota