The most honored musician in Northern Virginia history, Springfield’s 14-time Grammy winner (!!) Dave Grohl, branched out in 2013 with a superb documentary film titled “Sound City.” The film documented the rise and fall of a legendary recording studio in Van Nuys, Calif., which gave birth to such immortal albums as Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” not to mention Rick Springfield’s hit song “Jessie’s Girl,” and received great reviews.
SOMEHOW, when the Academy Award nominations were announced last week, “Sound City” was not included for Best Documentary. I was outraged. I was prepared for Grohl to join the likes of Warren Beatty, Shirley MacLaine, Sandra Bullock and Bruce Cohen as Oscar winners from Northern Virginia. I had even seen one of the nominees, “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” about a number of talented background singers. It was great, but there’s a difference between singing harmonies with Sting and making history with “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” There is also a documentary about a Japanese woman who draws comics, which I haven’t seen, but which “Sound City” could trump.
Now there are three documentaries that appear too tremendous to ignore: One about the perpetrators of genocide in the Phillippines, one about the Egyptian uprising in Tahrir Square, and one about the U.S. secret attacks on suspected terrorists. (The trailers are here, all look phenomenal.) “Sound City” does not trump any of those. But couldn’t it have supplanted “Twenty Feet From Stardom” or “Cutie and the Boxer” as a nominee, at least? I asked Grohl’s management team whether they had to cancel any sort of planned massive Oscar lobbying campaign once it was nominated, perhaps similar to my own, but they politely declined to comment. So while “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” gets to walk the red carpet for Best Makeup and something from “Her,” the movie about the voice in an iPhone, is up for Best Original Song, Springfield’s favorite son must stay home.
Meanwhile, on Sunday night “Sound City” picked up two Grammys, including “Best Rock Song” for the collaboration between Nirvana and Paul McCartney, and one for “Best Compilation Soundtrack,” for an album of original songs performed in the movie. So Grohl has now won 11 Grammys with the Foo Fighters, one with Nirvana and two for “Sound City.” In addition, the former attendee of Thomas Jefferson, Annandale and Bishop Ireton high schools is going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year with Nirvana, a band that he joined after Baileys Crossroads-based punk group Scream fell apart.
With all of that, there is still no monument to Grohl in Springfield or anywhere in Fairfax County. Though he was born in Warren, Ohio (which has constructed giant drumsticks in his honor and named an alley after him), his family moved to North Springfield when he was three and his mother still lives there. He matriculated from both North Springfield Elementary School and Holmes Middle School, he played Braddock Road Youth Club lacrosse, his mom taught at nearby Thomas Jefferson High School. His bands repeatedly tore the roof off at Lake Braddock Community Center in Burke.
And yet, no statue, no commemorative plaque on the roadside. No star in a sidewalk. Not even a sign pinned to a tree somewhere. Prince played “Best of You” in a Super Bowl halftime. Bob Dylan told him he liked “Everlong.” He can fill Wembley Stadium in London and get Jimmy Page to play with him. But in his childhood stomping grounds, Springfield, NoVa, there is no acknowledgment of this history. What’s up with that, Fairfax County?
Here’s the trailer for “Sound City,” winner of two Grammys.