The Smell, one of the more popular DIY music venues in downtown L.A, is staying open despite receiving news earlier in the year with a demolition notice on their door.
The Smell, which has been located at 247 S. Main St. for the past 17 years, has had much success drawing in local and out of state bands to perform shows once a month. The limited availability at The Smell only makes it that much more special for bands to get a spot because of its history of famous bands that have played there.
Some well known bands that have played at The Smell include No Age, Mika Miko, Strange Boys, Vivian Girls, Fidlar, Best Coast, Ty Segall, the Babies, Ponytail and Health; the latter who actually recorded their debut album at The Smell back in 2007.
Jim Smith, the owner and one of the founders of The Smell, was interviewed by the website LAist in late May and was asked about the notice saying that the “signs have been there for many years” and suspected something like this was coming when the building was sold a year ago. Smith will combat this decision saying he plans to do whatever he can to fight or delay this.
The L&R Group of Companies is the biggest parking property owners in the nation, and own WallyPark and Joe’s Auto Parks. The latter being the parking lots which surround The Smell, and were the ones responsible for putting the notices on all the buildings they own.
Kevin Litwin, the Chief Operating Officer of Joe’s Auto Parks, reached out to Smith by phone and by letter, appreciating the history and what The Smell has done for the community. Litwin added in the letter that the company should have reached out to all the tenants and the notice was just a formality in case they needed demolition permits in the future.
The Smell announced on their website a week after receiving the notice that they had launched a GoFundMe campaign, asking to raise a total of $1.4 million to cover the cost of purchasing a new building at a different location.
Days after the initial post from The Smell’s website, they had posted an update on their website stating that they have spoken to the building owners and had assured them that, while there are no immediate plans to tear down any buildings and are safe for the immediate future, they do not have a set date as to when anything might happen.
While the desired amount has not been met, supporters still raised $25,000 along with many petition signings and testimonials to present to the city and the building owners.
Regardless of the news, however, Smith is still letting bands perform at The Smell and even had various bands come together Aug. 6 to throw a show called “Save The Smell Fest.” It featured 38 local L.A acts, which included a No Age appearance and a rare DJ set from Smith himself, to raise money in order to keep The Smell open.
As there is still no date set for demolition, Smith still allows bands to book shows at The Smell, keeping hope that The Smell can continue its legacy at the same venue.