Sound City Studios Owner Tom Skeeter Dead at 82 - Rolling Stone
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Sound City Studios Owner Tom Skeeter Dead at 82

Legendary recording studio was celebrated in Dave Grohl’s documentary

Sound City Studios owner Tom SkeeterSound City Studios owner Tom Skeeter

Sound City Studios owner Tom Skeeter has died.

Frazer Harrison/Getty

Tom Skeeter, owner of the legendary Sound City Studios celebrated in Dave Grohl’s 2013 documentary Sound City, has died at the age of 82. Sound City Studios shared the news over Facebook on Saturday.

“We lost our main man, Tommy Skeeter this week,” the post read. “Grateful our Sound City Movie pals for introducing him to all of you. Thank you to all of the people who have stopped by the office to meet Tom in the past few years– he enjoyed the visits, and loved hearing how far people had come.”

Sound City, which Skeeter co-founded with his business partner Joe Gottfried in 1969 in an industrial park in Van Nuys, California, was the birthplace of landmark albums including Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush and Nirvana’s Nevermind. While promoting his Sound City documentary, Grohl described it as “America’s greatest unsung recording studio. Deep in California’s sunburnt San Fernando Valley, it was the birthplace of legend. It was witness to history.”

At the heart of the studio was its fabled Neve 8028 analogue recording console, which Skeeter and Gottfried added to the studio shortly after opening. “That turned out to be the smartest thing we ever did because that same original console is still sitting there in Studio A,” Skeeter told Mix magazine in 2009 as the studio was celebrating its 40th anniversary. “Rupert Neve said it was probably the only console of that vintage that’s been in the same spot since it was manufactured.”

Grohl developed an attachment to that console when Nirvana recorded Nevermind at Sound City in 1991. When Sound City closed its commercial services in 2011, Grohl purchased the Neve for his private recording studio, though his love for the institution went beyond its technology. 

“I always had a strong connection to that studio because Nirvana wasn’t meant to be the biggest band in the world,” Grohl told Rolling Stone after the debut of his documentary. “So when we went there for 16 days, we weren’t making that album with the intention that we were going to change the fuckin’ world. We just wanted it to sound good . . . The fact that what happened actually, happened, makes me think there’s something a more than just wires and knobs in that place. Personally, I have a strong emotional connection to it.”

In addition to his work with Sound City, Skeeter also served as CEO of Rainy Day Records and president and co-founder of Carman Productions. Rick Springfield, who worked with Skeeter and Gottfried for many years, posted a tribute on Twitter. “Tom Skeeter (partner in Sound City Studios & my co-manager through the ’80s) has passed away. A southern gentleman. RIP Tom. xo Rick.”


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