The “dirty soul rock” band The Letters Home spent four years in Pasadena as their base, recording and rehearsing out of lead singer-keyboardist Andrew Monheim’s AndromiDen Recordings studio in the Washington Square neighborhood. The facility was also his home, but he packed up four months ago and moved to the heart of Hollywood, renovating a historic building that was the first house ever built on Sunset Boulevard.
He and the band will be making the trip back to their old stomping grounds Saturday night, when they perform before a screening of the 1980s cult classic movie “The Goonies” as part of the popular Street Food Cinema series in Victory Park. The lineup also features bassist Omar Mohsin, guitarists JV Vidopio and Austin Thierry, saxophonist Chris Nguyen and drummer D Major, all teaming up to create a propulsive mix of funk and rock.
While the group is known for driving audiences into a heated frenzy dancing in packed bars and clubs, they enjoy the outdoor atmosphere so much that the show will mark their third annual appearance in the series.
“The crowd is different than our usual ones, because they’re not there just for the music but to see how much fun they can possibly have,” says Monheim. “People-wise, Pasadena is one of the coolest places, with a lot of emerging artists because of the balance of serenity and creativity. Those were the main things that attracted me to Pasadena, and we can’t wait to play there again.”
Launched in 2012, Street Food Cinema produces more than 50 events each summer in 11 cities across the Los Angeles area, stretching from Pasadena to Pacific Palisades. The evenings team popular local bands with beloved movies — this summer’s range from “Pretty in Pink” to “La La Land,” and included an overnight Malibu camping event marking the 30th anniversary of “Dirty Dancing” — and a rotating array of more than 90 of the city’s top food trucks.
Building a career as a music producer and rock singer was probably the last thing anyone expected from Monheim when he entered the world. He was born deaf because his ear canals were too small, but when they suddenly expanded at the age of 3, music became a ubiquitous part of his existence.
“Once I recovered it, I was hyper aware of sound and always obsessed with music,” recalls Monheim. “I could turn on the radio or pop in a cassette and feel like I was transported to this amazing world. I loved artists who painted a canvas for the listener, like Lenny Kravitz’s early soul stuff, Al Green and Tom Petty.”
The show comes amid a period of heavy activity for Monheim, who has also launched his own custom-made Monheim Microphones line amid his busy producing and recording schedule and planning the August launch of two singles and the band’s fourth national tour. The new Busted Bell studio is perfect for the rock history buff from Philadelphia, housing vintage instruments including a 1960s-era drum set from famed jazz musician Art Blakey, and two doors from the Reseda recording studio Tom Petty recorded at in the 1980s and ’90s.
“I love recording in old spaces, because it gives a splash of history, and I have a tile hallway here for recording reverb in the classic ‘50s and ‘60s style,” says Monheim. “That also influences my live performances, because I love the ones who gave it their all, like James Brown and Prince, and that’s what we always aim to do.”
The Letters Home will perform at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, before an 8:30 p.m. screening of “The Goonies,” at Victory Park, 2575 Paloma St., Pasadena. Tickets are $6 to $18 in advance, and $6 to $21 at the gate. Visit streetfoodcinema.com. Visit monheimmicrophones.com and thelettershome.com.