A Steve Albini vitriol sampler

By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  August 31, 2010

Big Black

The Steve Albini of today is a relatively jovial figure: hard-working, straight-talking, practical — but with the contented air of one who's been able to find his own way in a tricky field. So why is it that if you Google "Albini" + "asshole," you get nearly half a million hits? It might have something to do with the fact that, as a snarky occasional 'zine contributor in the '80s and early '90s, Albini said what everyone else was afraid to say, in a manner anything but delicate. I'm sure he would cringe at seeing these selections in print again — but for the erudition of our younger readers, here are four reasons people still approach the man with trepidation:

READ: "Pure audiogasm: Shellac's Steve Albini sets his own sonic pace," by Daniel Brockman
1. JUST BECAUSE HE RECORDS A BAND DOESN'T MEAN HE LIKES THEM |To Forced Exposure magazine, he described Surfer Rosa, the 1988 Pixies album he'd engineered, as "a patchwork pinch loaf from a band who at their top-dollar best are blandly entertaining college rock." (He later admitted to regretting this statement.)

2. HE HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN THE MOST POLITICALLY CORRECT PUNDIT | In a 1992 Maximum Rock and Roll interview, he described the experience of being courted by Depeche Mode, who were eager to have him man the boards of their next album: "At the time, I had never even heard them, so I went to go see them at this big sports arena in London. After about two songs, I thought that 'this is horrible, these guys are the worst. What are these young homosexuals doing?' So I just split and told them that they had the wrong guy."

3. HE IS NOT A FAN OF NON-ANALOG RECORDING METHODS (OR CDS) | As he so eloquently stated back in 1987, at the height of the shoulder-padded days of DAT tapes and banks of electronic effects chains, "The future belongs to analog loyalists. Fuck digital."

4. HE WAS NOT INCLINED TO EXPLAIN OR DEFEND THE OCCASIONAL SHOCKING LYRICS HE PENNED IN BIG BLACK | From the 1992 liner notes of the posthumously released 1987 live album Pig Pile: "Anybody who thinks we overstepped the playground perimeter of lyrical decency (or that the public has any right to demand 'social responsibility' from a goddamn punk-rock band) is a pure natural dolt, and should step forward and put his tongue up my ass."

Related: Huak + Metal Feathers at Bayside Bowl, September 24, Kate Schrock picks up a backbeat, The Molenes get dark and low-down, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Entertainment, Music, Steve Albini,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE STROKES | COMEDOWN MACHINE  |  March 18, 2013
    The Strokes burst out in a post-9/11 musical world with a sound that was compact and airtight, melodies coiled frictionlessly in beats and fuzzed vocals.
  •   KMFDM IS A DRUG AGAINST BORE  |  March 13, 2013
    "In hindsight, honestly, it's almost impossible how it all happened."
  •   PALLBEARER SURVIVE EXTINCTION  |  February 20, 2013
    We all know that there is nothing more metal than a war.
  •   WHAT'S F'N NEXT? CHVRCHES  |  February 01, 2013
    If you are in a band and you've heard of Chvrches, you probably hate them.
  •   GLISS | LANGSOM DANS  |  February 01, 2013
    If rock and roll is three chords and the truth, then the mutant genre offspring shoegaze can be summed up as one chord, three fuzzboxes, and a sullen, muttered bleat.

 See all articles by: DANIEL BROCKMAN