Some of the greatest albums of all time have been recorded right here in NoHo, and it continues to be a central location for music recording today. Many people who live here drive by the studios everyday, unaware that some of the most famous artists in the world are right behind the walls.
Last week, we , a gone-but-not-forgotten studio. This week we take a look at NRG Studios, which is still alive and kicking and recording some of the world's top musicians as we speak.
NRG Studios has been around since 1992, and everyone from Ice Cube to Fiona Apple to Hobbastank has stepped inside its doors to record tracks. Recently, none other than Kanye West and Common were inside NRG's Studio B.
In late 1998, a little band called Limp Bizkit entered NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood to record their second album. The band had achieved moderate success with their first release, Three Dollar Bill, Yall$, and built a solid reputation as a hard-hitting and hard-working live act.
But no one could have seen what was coming.
Released June 22, 1999, Limp Bizkit's Significant Other debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Significant Other mixed elements of heavy metal, rap and grunge into something many critics were calling "nu metal," a musical form that became the dominant force on the rock music scene in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
A week after its release, Rolling Stone said the album "squashes the recurring notion that rock is dead. Indeed, last week, Bizkit, along with Kid Rock and the Red HotChili Peppers, all sold more than 100,000 copies, while Smash Mouth and Blink 182 both posted healthy Top 20 numbers."
Still, Rolling Stone and other critics were hesitant to fully embrace Bizkit and nu metal, or at least do so without holding their noses. In its review of the album, Rolling Stone said, "At this point, hating them seems a little disingenuous. They're actually (gulp) good."
Nu metal fell out of the good graces of most rock fans by about 2002, and it seems not enough time has passed quite yet for most to look back on it with rosy nostalgia. Mixing rock and rap today seems like a natural thing, like chocolate and peanut butter, but until bands like Limp Bizkit, Korn and Kid Rock started doing it in the late 90s in a serious manner, it had previously only been done mostly as a novelty, like the Aerosmith/Run DMC collaboration and the Judgment Night soundtrack.
I was a sophomore in college the year Significant Other hit the scene, and had just rented my first apartment. I had three roommates and one need not look further than the walls of our home on West Waveland Avenue on Chicago's North Side to see why Limp Bizkit made such an impact worldwide, as there was indeed something for everyone to get into and appreciate. My roommate Chris was a goth-metal fanatic and loved Marylin Manson and Nine Inch Nails above all else. He liked Limp Bizkit. My roommate Tim loved rap music and not much else. He liked Limp Bizkit. My roommate Kelly was mostly into top 40 pop. She liked Limp Bizkit. I had grown up liking metal, then rap, then grunge, but at the time I was exploring a lot of classic rock and rejecting most new rock out there because I, like Rolling Stone, had come to think it was dead as well. One listen to the track "Nookie" changed my mind.