A Steve Albini vitriol sampler

Shellackings
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  August 31, 2010

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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."

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