STEVE ALBINI

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Any Idea what Steve Albini is up to at the minute? Last thing I heard from him was the production on the McClusky album. Any new Shellac stuff coming out in the future?

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, Monday, 25 November 2002 15:26 (eighteen years ago) link

I think he's preparing an egg dish at the moment.

Sean (Sean), Monday, 25 November 2002 15:29 (eighteen years ago) link

He IS an egg dish.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Monday, 25 November 2002 15:32 (eighteen years ago) link

9:30 AM (or thereabouts) in Chicago; he's probably not even awake yet. Of course, you could just call Electrical Audio and find out (they're listed).

Yesterday I saw the back of the Rapeman Sub-Pop 7", and that reminds me of why I love Albini: flat-tops!

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 15:36 (eighteen years ago) link

bong hits and getting small indie bands to pay him lots of money so they can say "WE RECORDED WITH STEVE ALBINI"

Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Monday, 25 November 2002 15:44 (eighteen years ago) link

bong hits...

Hahahahaha, the guy hardly touches beer! And he gave up smoking cigarettes after the heart attack.

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 15:45 (eighteen years ago) link

he recorded Songs Ohia's next album

stevie (stevie), Monday, 25 November 2002 15:58 (eighteen years ago) link


the new giddy motors "make it pop!" lp was engineered by him...

chances are, albini's engineering some record with loud and abrasive guitars and really well mic'ed drums.
m.

msp, Monday, 25 November 2002 16:05 (eighteen years ago) link

When did he have a heart attack?

J0hn Darn13ll3 (J0hn Darn13ll3), Monday, 25 November 2002 16:14 (eighteen years ago) link

On one of Rapeman's tours of Europe. If you had your own popcorn machine, your cholesterol would be off the charts, too.

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 16:17 (eighteen years ago) link

I heard he makes his own mayonaise, too.

Sean (Sean), Monday, 25 November 2002 16:21 (eighteen years ago) link

homemade mayonaisse made me a believer...

seriously i was a mayo h8r until i discovered the goodness of home-made varieties.

i saw steve smoking after rapeman btw...

gygax!, Monday, 25 November 2002 16:36 (eighteen years ago) link

i saw steve smoking after rapeman btw...

OMG, WHERE?!?!?!?!?!?

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 16:43 (eighteen years ago) link

shellac in SF - circa at action park

gygax!, Monday, 25 November 2002 16:46 (eighteen years ago) link

out of his ass of course.

nathalie (nathalie), Monday, 25 November 2002 16:47 (eighteen years ago) link

A local slagging-bands zine that comes out every two months has a regular "Dublin bands that fly to Chicago to record with Steve Albini" award.

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Monday, 25 November 2002 17:01 (eighteen years ago) link

Which reminds me of an article by Steve Albini. Dunno if you read it.

It is called the problem with music

the problem with music
by steve albini
excerpted from Baffler No. 5
Whenever I talk to a band who are about to sign with a major label, I always end up thinking of them in a particular context. I imagine a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit. I imagine these people, some of them good friends, some of them barely acquaintances, at one end of this trench. I also imagine a faceless industry lackey at the other end, holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed.

Nobody can see what's printed on the contract. It's too far away, and besides, the shit stench is making everybody's eyes water. The lackey shouts to everybody that the first one to swim the trench gets to sign the contract. Everybody dives in the trench and they struggle furiously to get to the other end. Two people arrive simultaneously and begin wrestling furiously, clawing each other and dunking each other under the shit. Eventually, one of them capitulates, and there's only one contestant left. He reaches for the pen, but the Lackey says, "Actually, I think you need a little more development. Swim it again, please. Backstroke."

And he does, of course.

I. A&R Scouts

Every major label involved in the hunt for new bands now has on staff a high-profile point man, an "A&R" rep who can present a comfortable face to any prospective band. The initials stand for "Artist and Repertoire," because historically, the A&R staff would select artists to record music that they had also selected, out of an available pool of each. This is still the case, though not openly.

These guys are universally young [about the same age as the bands being wooed], and nowadays they always have some obvious underground rock credibility flag they can wave. Lyle Preslar, former guitarist for Minor Threat, is one of them. Terry Tolkin, former NY independent booking agent and assistant manager at Touch and Go is one of them. Al Smith, former soundman at CBGB is one of them. Mike Gitter, former editor of XXX fanzine and contributor to Rip, Kerrang and other lowbrow rags is one of them. Many of the annoying turds who used to staff college radio stations are in their ranks as well.

There are several reasons A&R scouts are always young. The explanation usually copped-to is that the scout will be "hip" to the current musical "scene." A more important reason is that the bands will intuitively trust someone they think is a peer, and who speaks fondly of the same formative rock and roll experiences.

The A&R person is the first person to make contact with the band, and as such is the first person to promise them the moon. Who better to promise them the moon than an idealistic young turk who expects to be calling the shots in a few years, and who has had no previous experience with a big record company. Hell, he's as naive as the band he's duping. When he tells them no one will interfere in their creative process, he probably even believes it.

When he sits down with the band for the first time, over a plate of angel hair pasta, he can tell them with all sincerity that when they sign with company X, they're really signing with him and he's on their side. Remember that great, gig I saw you at in '85? Didn't we have a blast.

By now all rock bands are wise enough to be suspicious of music industry scum. There is a pervasive caricature in popular culture of a portly, middle aged ex-hipster talking a mile-a-minute, using outdated jargon and calling everybody "baby." After meeting "their" A&R guy, the band will say to themselves and everyone else, "He's not like a record company guy at all! He's like one of us." And they will be right. That's one of the reasons he was hired.

These A&R guys are not allowed to write contracts. What they do is present the band with a letter of intent, or "deal memo," which loosely states some terms, and affirms that the band will sign with the label once a contract has been agreed on.

The spookiest thing about this harmless sounding little "memo," is that it is, for all legal purposes, a binding document. That is, once the band sign it, they are under obligation to conclude a deal with the label. If the label presents them with a contract that the band don't want to sign, all the label has to do is wait. There are a hundred other bands willing to sign the exact same contract, so the label is in a position of strength.

These letters never have any term of expiration, so the band remain bound by the deal memo until a contract is signed, no matter how long that takes. The band cannot sign to another label or even put out its own material unless they are released from their agreement, which never happens. Make no mistake about it: once a band has signed a letter of intent, they will either eventually sign a contract that suits the label or they will be destroyed.

One of my favorite bands was held hostage for the better part of two years by a slick young "He's not like a label guy at all,' A&R rep, on the basis of such a deal memo. He had failed to come through on any of his promises (something he did with similar effect to another well-known band), and so the band wanted out. Another label expressed interest, but when the A&R man was asked to release the band, he said he would need money or points, or possibly both, before he would consider it.

The new label was afraid the price would be too dear, and they said no thanks. On the cusp of making their signature album, an excellent band, humiliated, broke up from the stress and the many months of inactivity.

II. There's This Band

There's this band. They're pretty ordinary, but they're also pretty good, so they've attracted some attention. They're signed to a moderate-sized "independent" label owned by a distribution company, and they have another two albums owed to the label.

They're a little ambitious. They'd like to get signed by a major label so they can have some security—you know, get some good equipment, tour in a proper tour bus—nothing fancy, just a little reward for all the hard work.

To that end, they got a manager. He knows some of the label guys, and he can shop their next project to all the right people. He takes his cut, sure, but it's only 15%, and if he can get them signed then it's money well spent. Anyway, it doesn't cost them any thing if it doesn't work. 15% of nothing isn't much!

One day an A&R scout calls them, says he's "been following them for a while now," and when their manager mentioned them to him, it just "clicked." Would they like to meet with him about the possibility of working out a deal with his label? Wow. Big Break time.

They meet the guy, and y'know what—he's not what they expected from a label guy. He's young and dresses pretty much like the band does. He knows all their favorite bands. He's like one of them. He tells them he wants to go to bat for them, to try to get them everything they want. He says anything is possible with the right attitude. They conclude the evening by taking home a copy of a deal memo they wrote out and signed on the spot.

The A&R guy was full of great ideas, even talked about using a name producer. Butch Vig is out of the question—he wants 100 g's and three points, but they can get Don Fleming for $30,000 plus three points. Even that's a little steep, so maybe they'll go with that guy who used to be in David Letterman's band. He only wants three points. Or they can have just anybody record it [like Warton Tiers, maybe—cost you 5 or 10 grand] and have Andy Wallace remix it for 4 grand a track plus 2 points. It was a lot to think about.

Well, they like this guy and they trust him. Besides, they already signed the deal memo. He must have been serious about wanting them to sign. They break the news to their current label, and the label manager says he wants them to succeed, so they have his blessing. He will need to be compensated, of course, for the remaining albums left on their contract, but he'll work it out with the label himself. Sub Pop made millions from selling off Nirvana, and Twin Tone hasn't done bad either: 50 grand for the Babes and 60 grand for the Poster Children—without having to sell a single additional record. It'll be something modest. The new label doesn't mind, so long as it's recoupable out of royalties.

Well, they get the final contract, and it's not quite what they expected. They figure it's better to be safe than sorry and they turn it over to a lawyer—one who says he's experienced in entertainment law—and he hammers out a few bugs. They're still not sure about it, but the lawyer says he's seen a lot of contracts, and theirs is pretty good. They'll be getting a great royalty: 13% [less a 10% packaging deduction]. Wasn't it Buffalo Tom that were only getting 12% less 10? Whatever.

The old label only wants 50 grand, and no points. Hell, Sub Pop got 3 points when they let Nirvana go. They're signed for four years, with options on each year, for a total of over a million dollars! That's a lot of money in any man's English. The first year's advance alone is $250,000. Just think about it, a quarter-million, just for being in a rock band!

Their manager thinks it's a great deal, especially the large advance. Besides, he knows a publishing company that will take the band on if they get signed, and even give them an advance of 20 grand, so they'll be making that money too. The manager says publishing is pretty mysterious, and nobody really knows where all the money comes from, but the lawyer can look that contract over too. Hell, it's free money.

Their booking agent is excited about the band signing to a major. He says they can maybe average $1,000 or $2,000 a night from now on. That's enough to justify a five week tour, and with tour support, they can use a proper crew, buy some good equipment and even get a tour bus! Buses are pretty expensive, but if you figure in the price of a hotel room for everybody in the band and crew, they're actually about the same cost. Some bands (like Therapy? and Sloan and Stereolab) use buses on their tours even when they're getting paid only a couple hundred bucks a night, and this tour should earn at least a grand or two every night. It'll be worth it. The band will be more comfortable and will play better.

The agent says a band on a major label can get a merchandising company to pay them an advance on t-shirt sales! Ridiculous! There's a gold mine here! The lawyer should look over the merchandising contract, just to be safe.

They get drunk at the signing party. Polaroids are taken and everybody looks thrilled. The label picked them up in a limo.

They decided to go with the producer who used to be in Letterman's band. He had these technicians come in and tune the drums for them and tweak their amps and guitars. He had a guy bring in a slew of expensive old vintage microphones. Boy, were they "warm." He even had a guy come in and check the phase of all the equipment in the control room! Boy, was he professional. He used a bunch of equipment on them and by the end of it, they all agreed that it sounded very "punchy," yet "warm."

All that hard work paid off. With the help of a video, the album went like hotcakes! They sold a quarter million copies!

Here is the math that will explain just how fucked they are:

These figures are representative of amounts that appear in record contracts daily. There's no need to skew the figures to make the scenario look bad, since real-life examples more than abound. Income is underlined, expenses are not.


Advance: $250,000
Manager's cut: $37,500
Legal fees: $10,000
Recording Budget: $150,000
Producer's advance: $50,000
Studio fee: $52,500
Drum, Amp, Mic and Phase "Doctors": $3,000
Recording tape: $8,000
Equipment rental: $5,000
Cartage and Transportation: $5,000
Lodgings while in studio: $10,000
Catering: $3,000
Mastering: $10,000
Tape copies, reference CDs, shipping tapes, misc expenses: $2,000

Video budget: $30,000
Cameras: $8,000
Crew: $5,000
Processing and transfers: $3,000
Offline: $2,000
Online editing: $3,000
Catering: $1,000
Stage and construction: $3,000
Copies, couriers, transportation: $2,000
Director's fee: $3,000

Album Artwork: $5,000
Promotional photo shoot and duplication: $2,000

Band fund: $15,000
New fancy professional drum kit: $5,000
New fancy professional guitars (2): $3,000
New fancy professional guitar amp rigs (2): $4,000
New fancy potato-shaped bass guitar: $1,000
New fancy rack of lights bass amp: $1,000
Rehearsal space rental: $500
Big blowout party for their friends: $500

Tour expense (5 weeks): $50,875
Bus: $25,000
Crew (3): $7,500
Food and per diems: $7,875
Fuel: $3,000
Consumable supplies: $3,500
Wardrobe: $1,000
Promotion: $3,000

Tour gross income: $50,000
Agent s cut: $7,500
Manager's cut: $7,500

Merchandising advance: $20,000
Manager's cut: $3,000
Lawyer's fee: $1,000

Publishing advance: $20,000
Manager's cut: $3,000
Lawyer's fee: $1,000

Record sales: 250,000 @ $12 = $3,000,000 gross retail revenue Royalty (13% of 90% of retail): $351,000
Less advance: $250,000
Producer's points: (3% less $50,000 advance) $40,000
Promotional budget: $25,000
Recoupable buyout from previous label: $50,000
Net royalty: (-$14,000)

Record company income:
Record wholesale price $6.50 x 250,000 = $1,625,000 gross income
Artist Royalties: $351,000
Deficit from royalties: $14,000
Manufacturing, packaging and distribution @ $2.20 per record: $550,000
Gross profit: $710,000

The Balance Sheet: This is how much each player got paid at the end of the game.

Record company: $710,000
Producer: $90,000
Manager: $51,000
Studio: $52,500
Previous label: $50,000
Agent: $7,500
Lawyer: $12,000
Band member net income each: $4,031.25



The band is now 1/4 of the way through its contract, has made the music industry more than 3 millon dollars richer, but is in the hole $14,000 on royalties. The band members have each earned about 1/3 as much as they would working at a 7-11, but they got to ride in a tour bus for a month.

The next album will be about the same, except that the record company will insist they spend more time and money on it. Since the previous one never "recouped," the band will have no leverage, and will oblige.

The next tour will be about the same, except the merchandising advance will have already been paid, and the band, strangely enough, won't have earned any royalties from their t-shirts yet. Maybe the t-shirt guys have figured out how to count money like record company guys.

Some of your friends are probably already this fucked. http://www.arancidamoeba.com/mrr/problemwithmusic.html Steve Albini is a much sought-after producer and founding member of eighties punk band Big Black. http://www.dangpow.com/~landed/bigblack/ more on Big Black

Jahsonic, Monday, 25 November 2002 17:04 (eighteen years ago) link

Thanks for posting what Albini was up to like 6 years ago.

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 17:09 (eighteen years ago) link

is this article a revised version? we should invite albini to revise the figures to take account of inflation.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 17:46 (eighteen years ago) link

hstencil, its monday and we are in a pretty louse mood, right?

nathalie (nathalie), Monday, 25 November 2002 17:49 (eighteen years ago) link

Despite having to clean up a stopped-up toilet (thank you, roommates) I'm actually in a good mood. Even with that Albini article getting posted somewhere for like the 600 MILLIONTH time.

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 17:54 (eighteen years ago) link

Albini made the last GY!BE album bad.

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 18:51 (eighteen years ago) link

explain? (haven't heard it but what is abt albini's contribution that made this record 'bad' in yr opinion?).

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 18:55 (eighteen years ago) link

Albini is great with simple guitar bands like Shellac, Low and Labradford. With Godspeed his attempt to capture their 'live energy' turned it into a big blurry mess.

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 18:58 (eighteen years ago) link

A lot of you people on here are big nap takers so I might check the new GYBE! out.....

Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:00 (eighteen years ago) link

it can't really be albini's fault: what are GYBE supposed to put on the record instead of their 'energy'. I don't think they have tried their hands at songwriting. the point is it prob is the band's fault.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:04 (eighteen years ago) link

He put the microphones TOO CLOSE!

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 19:05 (eighteen years ago) link

Maybe GYBE should try writing songs. I mean, if Mogwai can do it...

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:10 (eighteen years ago) link

if only those microphones were a couple of cm to the right then 'energy' would be captured. precious precious energy.

''Maybe GYBE should try writing songs. I mean, if Mogwai can do it...''

they are not v good at it callum.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:20 (eighteen years ago) link

Are too. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:24 (eighteen years ago) link

Not very good? Uh, have you HEARD Rock Action?

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:26 (eighteen years ago) link

heard one alb of theirs. that was enough.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:29 (eighteen years ago) link

All three of their albums are vastly different, but Rock Action is particularly different. They wrote SONGS for Rock Action.

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:29 (eighteen years ago) link

GY!BE were one of two bands at Shellac's ATP which weren't there by invitation of Shellac. This presumably means that they were invited before the big fight, and Foundation wouldn't take them off because they're a big draw.

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:39 (eighteen years ago) link

I really don't care.

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:43 (eighteen years ago) link

big fight?

jones (actual), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:49 (eighteen years ago) link

Hmmm, Sunday morning donut & pop tart rock shows.

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 25 November 2002 20:01 (eighteen years ago) link

Festivals seem like a stupid idea to me. Who wants to watch a rock band at lunch-time?

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 20:05 (eighteen years ago) link

Why's there such a big cult of personality around a recording engineer? I don't get it.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Monday, 25 November 2002 20:23 (eighteen years ago) link

Because it's fun.

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 25 November 2002 20:31 (eighteen years ago) link

Because of where he PLACES THE MICROPHONES. Ooooh!

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 20:35 (eighteen years ago) link

''Why's there such a big cult of personality around a recording engineer? I don't get it.''

um, he's not just a recording engineer sundar. shellac, rapeman and big black were/are good rock bands.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 20:58 (eighteen years ago) link

It's because of his music? That's even weirder.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Monday, 25 November 2002 21:00 (eighteen years ago) link

OK he does come across as an idiot and this 'cult' you talk abt (well, since I do live in the UK and don't mix in indie circles)... its the first time I heard of it b-but I like his bands.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 21:07 (eighteen years ago) link

Because there are two people here and I want you to kill them.

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 25 November 2002 22:31 (eighteen years ago) link


Because of where he PLACES THE MICROPHONES. Ooooh!

oh... don't forget the record buttons! and those level knobs! oh shit... and the pan knob!

(really tho... all respect due...)
m.

msp, Tuesday, 26 November 2002 03:56 (eighteen years ago) link

i think you're confusing tracking with mixing

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Tuesday, 26 November 2002 04:01 (eighteen years ago) link

I saw Shellac like a month ago. I went because Rye Coalition were opening, and if you don't know about them, ya betta axe somebody. I was thinking about going up to Steve and saying (in numbnuts doofus voice) "Uh, Mister Albini, here's a tape of stuff I did on my 4-track with about $500 worth of equipment. Do you think you could listen to it, and then tell me if I have any talent that you could perhaps mold into something great, take me under your wing, as it goes?" But I drank to many beers and had to leave 3 songs into Shellacs set, so it didn't happen.

Helltime Producto (Pavlik), Tuesday, 26 November 2002 04:16 (eighteen years ago) link

You guys are nerds.
Seriously. Steve Albini is not Julia Roberts and you are not Mary Hart.

E-to-the-Izzo, Tuesday, 26 November 2002 16:22 (eighteen years ago) link

And you're not H.L. Mencken so step off already.

hstencil, Tuesday, 26 November 2002 16:30 (eighteen years ago) link

Fwiw, even Beru said "Lol. I was there too ... I felt bad for everyone in the back of the ride that day."

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/aug/10/steve-albini-odd-future

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 16:11 (five days ago) link

I am quite happy none of them engaged me directly, because at least one of us would have regretted it.

This is such a Reddit tough guy thing to say

licorice in the front, pizza in the rear (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 16:14 (five days ago) link

details of the actual ride aside, steves obvious thrill at the chance to use certain words was always the real WTF for me there

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 16:19 (five days ago) link

fun fact: people have tried to cancel me before because my wife worked for albini and he is someone i generally fuck with. the reason i do is because i have watched him learn and grow, quietly, from the sidelines - even over the past 15 years https://t.co/C5G7Rrc25B

— jes skolnik (ghost version) (@modernistwitch) October 12, 2021

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 17:26 (five days ago) link

xp Give me a break with "obvious thrill". How could you know that? He should have said "n-bomb" in his messages, but his words could easily be interpreted as a person repeating to convey the offense/shock he felt as a captive audience in the situation. I don't care one way or the other, but to say he experienced a thrill from writing it is projection.

beard papa, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 17:34 (five days ago) link

it is a deeply shameful band name and
i do not care if it's from a comic
i do not care if it was the 80s
i do not care that the project didn't last very long
i do not care that he apparently apologized in april 2020 on some random podcast about it

i have yet to see evidence of understanding of exactly how bad it is

The guy is 60, maybe he'll have gotten it by the time he reaches 70.

Starmer: "Let the children boogie, let all the children boogie." (Tom D.), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 17:37 (five days ago) link

xp "the bad rappers then said - and it is with great anguish and certainly no pleasure that i type these awful words, but i feel it is my journalistic duty to do so - the following specific epithets:"

a 50something white man in 2011 with his pedigree knows better, and does not put those words before an audience before thinking "can i get away with this". he did it bc he thought the EA messageboard wouldnt care.

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 17:43 (five days ago) link

his attitudes about music other than his vaunted indie and punk were hideously bigoted

I remember seeing him talk about House Music (maybe in that Grohl series?) and say that even though he dismissed it at the time he can now see that it was as revolutionary as punk rock

St. Twel'mo, or the Cuneiform Cyclopedist of Chattanooga (President Keyes), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 17:49 (five days ago) link

omg this dude is so boring

kurt schwitterz, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 17:49 (five days ago) link

Im a fan of him as like a pundit weirdly but a lot of ppl here are bending over backwards to make someone who doesn’t fit into the current discursive paradigm seem like they fit in lol

xheugy eddy (D-40), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 17:51 (five days ago) link

Like, he’s clearly been super wrong and the test of time has embarrassed him but ppl want his framing of shit to remain righteous & central so they rewrite everything

xheugy eddy (D-40), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 17:52 (five days ago) link

xp Give me a break with "obvious thrill". How could you know that? He should have said "n-bomb" in his messages, but his words could easily be interpreted as a person repeating to convey the offense/shock he felt as a captive audience in the situation. I don't care one way or the other, but to say he experienced a thrill from writing it is projection.

― beard papa, Wednesday, October 13, 2021 12:34 PM (eighteen minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

Lol I’m sorry, no

xheugy eddy (D-40), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 17:53 (five days ago) link

Give me a break with "obvious thrill". How could you know that?

https://www.discogs.com/artist/2431412-Run-Nigger-Run

licorice in the front, pizza in the rear (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 17:57 (five days ago) link

Stoically and sternly turning in my track with Nash Kato to Tellus intending to convey the offense and shock I feel as a captive audience in a situation

licorice in the front, pizza in the rear (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 18:00 (five days ago) link

I remember seeing him talk about House Music (maybe in that Grohl series?) and say that even though he dismissed it at the time he can now see that it was as revolutionary as punk rock

Have y'all seen him in "The Art of Sampling"? Has he made a similar mea culpa with the dumbass opinions he made there?

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 18:05 (five days ago) link

Sometimes he's still right though

"Pop music is for children and idiots" - my chat with Steve Albini for @2ser:https://t.co/Kor1oBOIEI pic.twitter.com/4qBzisI8td

— Longform Editions (@longform_ed) December 8, 2015

licorice in the front, pizza in the rear (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 18:07 (five days ago) link

I think it’s fair to say he’s not really in a position to have the Dave chappelle conversation considering

xheugy eddy (D-40), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 18:10 (five days ago) link

Have y'all seen him in "The Art of Sampling"? Has he made a similar mea culpa with the dumbass opinions he made there?

I love the editing in there where he's complaining that sampling requires no talent or ability to play an instrument and it cuts to Shock G playing the piano.

joygoat, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 19:00 (five days ago) link

I love the editing in there where he's complaining that sampling requires no talent or ability to play an instrument and it cuts to Shock G Piano Man playing the piano.

― joygoat, Wednesday, October 13, 2021 3:00 PM (seven minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

licorice in the front, pizza in the rear (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 19:08 (five days ago) link

xps holy shit at that compilation track

assert (matttkkkk), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 19:27 (five days ago) link

This is still funny (and the track in question is great).

https://pitchfork.com/news/61410-steve-albini-e-mail-about-how-much-he-hates-dance-music-turned-into-billboard-advertisement/

papal hotwife (milo z), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 21:14 (five days ago) link

I had the same 'ewwww dance music' attitude as Albini when I was 16 and going to ska-punk shows every weekend, hearing it from a 60 year old guy who's been involved in recording for forty years just seems extra pathetic.

papal hotwife (milo z), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 21:16 (five days ago) link

I am absolutely the wrong audience for this kind of music. I've always detested mechanized dance music, its stupid simplicity, the clubs where it was played, the people who went to those clubs, the drugs they took, the shit they liked to talk about, the clothes they wore, the battles they fought amongst each other...

Bob Weston is a big dance music fan. I wonder if he has ever tried to entice Steve out to a night of dancing?

stirmonster, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 21:34 (five days ago) link

Steve Albini dances to Abba

Pfunkboy AKA (Oor Neechy), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 21:40 (five days ago) link

There’s something about the way he maps out these concepts of “war” and “this music is the enemy of what I believe in” that is just ridiculously OTT, as if those making such music are equally invested in dogma and making taste some sort of aesthetic battleground where everyone wants to tell everyone else why this or that music is the worse thing ever, and here’s why (at length)

His whole thing of “it’s not for me, but here’s 50 reasons why I absolutely hate it and consider it the grossest thing possible” is zzzz

“The electronic music I liked was radical and different”….ok Steve

Buckfast in America (Master of Treacle), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 21:42 (five days ago) link

Big Black and "Work That Mutha Fucker" are very close on a continuum to me.

papal hotwife (milo z), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 21:51 (five days ago) link

Big Black and "Work That Mutha Fucker" are very close on a continuum to me.

Same!

“The electronic music I liked was radical and different”….ok Steve - this is / was such a common attitude back in the day. i had SO many friends who just couldn't make the leap when House music arrived, perhaps because it was popular and also as they felt it wasn't radical. It was of course way more radical than a lot of electronic music they were into, and a lot of electronic music they loved then went down a cul de sac of no return.

stirmonster, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 22:07 (five days ago) link

This will sound stupid and reductive, and I’m not defining SA or haters of dance music, but:

I wonder how much of this just comes down to “I don’t like to dance and as such this music is confusing to me”

(Note: I do not like to dance and do enjoy some electronic/dance music)

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 22:18 (five days ago) link

Defending, not defining

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 22:18 (five days ago) link

I wonder how much of this just comes down to “I don’t like to dance and as such this music is confusing to me”

This was exactly the line Chicago radio dj Steve Dahl used in his vicious anti-disco rants in 1979, which culminated in the Disco Demolition record burning/riot at a White Sox game.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 22:27 (five days ago) link

the world has never recovered

beard papa, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 22:32 (five days ago) link

I wonder how much of this just comes down to “I don’t like to dance and as such this music is confusing to me”

This was definitely an obstacle for me until I bought a drum machine and started trying to make electronic music - no one can see you dance poorly to your own 808.

papal hotwife (milo z), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 22:36 (five days ago) link

You’ll dance to anything, milo

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 22:38 (five days ago) link

I kid. A Dead Milkmen lyric

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 22:39 (five days ago) link

_I wonder how much of this just comes down to “I don’t like to dance and as such this music is confusing to me”_


This was definitely an obstacle for me until I bought a drum machine and started trying to make electronic music - no one can see you dance poorly to your own 808.


Big Black was basically steve and an 808!

And of course the worms! (Boring, Maryland), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 22:57 (five days ago) link

i’d respect him a lot more if he just proactively did some ‘splaining rather than (condescendingly) being charmed by people outing him.

j.o.h.n. in evanston (john. a resident of chicago.), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 23:08 (five days ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLr5EXyoQCE

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 14 October 2021 05:16 (four days ago) link

_I am absolutely the wrong audience for this kind of music. I've always detested mechanized dance music, its stupid simplicity, the clubs where it was played, the people who went to those clubs, the drugs they took, the shit they liked to talk about, the clothes they wore, the battles they fought amongst each other..._


Was this about Chicago House? Albini said pretty much this exact same thing about the industrial Wax Trax Chicago scene.

circa1916, Thursday, 14 October 2021 06:09 (four days ago) link

Oh sorry, I just traced the comment back to the song in question. Lmao, Steve.

circa1916, Thursday, 14 October 2021 06:52 (four days ago) link

I always wondered about that last bit in particular "the battles they fought amongst each other", as opposed to the complete lack of conflict and backbiting in indie rock circles?

only built 4 lynx africa (Noel Emits), Thursday, 14 October 2021 08:25 (four days ago) link

my favorite part of that has always been his reference to Xenakis before lamenting "When that scene and those people got co-opted by dance/club music I felt like we'd lost a war." yeah, it was really sad when dance music co-opted the Xenakis scene. we all shed a tear.

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Thursday, 14 October 2021 12:25 (four days ago) link

Guy’s eternally narrow view of what counts as “worthy” music is kinda sad at his age. I have to imagine some great affront happened to him at a dance club that he will never, ever forget.

I don’t think his public reckonings with wokeness have been bad though on the whole. Been unusually insightful and honest when it comes to these things kinds of things, particularly for someone from that space and age. He was from birth a cantankerous old man and he’ll forever just Not Get certain things, but I don’t doubt he’s trying.

circa1916, Thursday, 14 October 2021 13:18 (four days ago) link

I'm not Captain Save a House but I actually remember Powell sounding closer to the noisy artists that Albini was praising than the 'stupid simplistic' club music he probably had in mind. I imagine he didn't actually listen.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 14 October 2021 13:21 (four days ago) link

I did discover Powell bc of this incident so there's that.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 14 October 2021 13:26 (four days ago) link

I'm not Captain Save a House but I actually remember Powell sounding closer to the noisy artists that Albini was praising than the 'stupid simplistic' club music he probably had in mind. I imagine he didn't actually listen.


That actually made me lol listening to the track. It’s like 5 degrees removed from stuff he actually likes.

I do contend that when Albini gets fiery about dance music and samples and such, I imagine it’s aimed more squarely at Al Jourgenson and co than Chicago House shit. Like he actually had to deal with those guys, I can’t imagine too many House people crossed his way.

circa1916, Thursday, 14 October 2021 13:28 (four days ago) link

xpost

Captain Save A House heh.

I’d be fine if I never had to listen to that track Insomnia again (Powell has his moments tho). But Albini was name checking early Cabaret Voltaire while poo-pooing the song? It sounds quite similar.

That whole Odd Future thing tho, my god. Maybe there’s some grey area about his intent there but that’s a pretty fucked up hill to die on in 2021.

recovering internet addict/shitposter (viborg), Thursday, 14 October 2021 13:50 (four days ago) link

Also Circa1916 otm and yes Al Jourgenson may well have turned more than a few peeps away from electronic music. Big Black opened my ears to Ministry tho so screw ‘em both.

recovering internet addict/shitposter (viborg), Thursday, 14 October 2021 13:53 (four days ago) link

That’s funny to me as I don’t think there is a huge gap between Big Black and Revolting Cocks and post-Twitch Ministry!

And of course the worms! (Boring, Maryland), Thursday, 14 October 2021 14:21 (four days ago) link

Narcissism of small differences etc.

St. Twel'mo, or the Cuneiform Cyclopedist of Chattanooga (President Keyes), Thursday, 14 October 2021 14:27 (four days ago) link

Well yea I mean “stigmata” was like a flip of “racer x”

In Chris Connelly’s book he puts it the other way — says Steve albini’s “piously heterosexual” indie rock threw down the gauntlet in a way that had a trickle down effect on jourgensen that lasted for years (sort of, it seems to me, implying albini made jourgensen kind of insecure and it explains his push toward metal)

xheugy eddy (D-40), Thursday, 14 October 2021 16:30 (four days ago) link


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