Bad Animals Studio

2212 4th Avenue

2212 4th Avenue, Seattle, May 27, 2020, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Anthony Marinelli and Dr. John of My Sexiest Year, Studio X, Seattle, 2007, Photo by Ryan Schierling (CC BY-SA 2.0)

2212 4th Avenue

This site holds much Seattle music history. In the 1960s nightclub impresario Dave Levy launched DJ’s, an R&B-oriented nightclub that later morphed into The Showcase. Next came the Kaye-Smith Studios, a joint venture headed by Seattle businessman Lester Smith and Hollywood actor Danny Kaye, who had joined forces in 1958 and built an investment portfolio that included Seattle radio stations KJR and KISW-FM, along with Concerts West, a company that handled nationwide tours for the likes of Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin.

The Kaye-Smith recording facility came of age in the 1970s, producing hit albums for Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Steve Miller, and Heart. In 1990, a former KING radio disc jockey bought the place, moved his own Steve Lawson Productions in, and added a recording room called Studio X. In 1991 Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson invested in Lawson’s enterprise and the studio was recast as Bad Animals Studios. Seattle’s Grunge movement was now emerging, and Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam all recorded here. In 1997 Studio X was split off from Bad Animals. A steady stream of artists including Johnny Cash, R.E.M., Dave Matthews, Macklemore, and Chance the Rapper have conducted sessions here.

Continue south on 4th Avenue to Blanchard Street, turn left, and proceed two blocks to another renowned music venue, the Crocodile Cafe.

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