The Beasties Go East Mode in LA
Atwater, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake during the recording of "Check Your Head"
Three years after Paul’s Boutique, the Beastie Boys went west to record Check Your Head at G-Son Studios in Atwater Village. These were some of their haunts back when they were the illest motherfuckers from here to Gardena.
The studio where they recorded the album is in the heart of Atwater Village, on the same block as another beloved neighborhood locale, the 76-year-old bar Club Tee Gee—in recent years, of course, both have gotten a gentrified glow up. The studio building houses a Blu Jam Cafe and a vintage clothing store, but acknowledges its history in name and with a mural of MCA by artist David Flores.
If you head to the parking lot behind the building, often packed for the local farmer’s market, you may notice the stairs from their video for CYH cut “Pass The Mic.”
Directly across the street from the studios sits Hail Mary Pizza in an eye-catching building. The location was once home to an Italian eatery called Nonni, a regular visit for the artists while recording.
Speaking of restaurants, just across the river and over the hill in Silver Lake once sat Netty’s, a long-time neighborhood eatery ushering in the era of hip dining. They went their often enough for Mike-D to grow a crush on the owner’s daughter, giving us “Netty’s Girl.”
It’s currently one of my favorite spots, Yakuza Sushi, across the street from a legendary neighborhood venue which you may have known as, depending on your age, Dreams Discotheque, Spaceland, or The Satellite.
Looping around to Los Feliz, on the same block of some Disney buildings, just a few doors down from The Dresden, was once the storefront for X-LARGE—a streetwear brand co-owned by Mike D. It’s now a queer, women-owned gift shop called Otherwild, partially known for the “The Future Is Female Ejaculation” t-shirt.
And I would be remiss not to point out one of my favorite buildings, though not precisely from the CYH-era, featured in the classic Spike Jonez music video for “Sabotage.” The beautiful art deco building known as the Los Feliz Manor Apartments was erected in 1929 as a hotel and pops up a few times in the video as they dart across its roof. Apparently, some of the rooms still have Murphy beds.
It’s a beautiful day in Los Angeles to cruise around with the windows down and blast “So What’cha Want.” Thanks for taking surface streets with me.
Here’s another issue on this part of town through the lens of a musician: