Steve Albini

by Jeffrey Burns on November 6, 2015

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Steve Albini is an original, a rebel, someone who still lives and breathes the true spirit of rock n’ roll |


Steve Albini, renowned post-hardcore musician (Big Black, Shellac) and studio engineer/producer (Nirvana’s In Utero, Pixies’ Surfer Rosa) gave a fascinating interview recently on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast. The outspoken veteran of america’s alternative music scene has been accused of many things over his long and distinguished career, but shy and conventional have not been among the unsolicited attributes. Difficult? Strongly opinionated, sure.

Well known for his noble and principled stand on refusing points for albums he’s produced (In Utero would have garnered him well over a million dollars), he’s the anti-establishment music guy who’s been at the forefront of seminal, groundbreaking records since the early nineties. The list of artists he’s worked with and albums he’s worked on is impressive, to say the least, as is his unwavering, uncompromising commitment to make good music in spite of an industry seemingly less inclined to do so. He’s not rich, monetarily speaking, instead he has something money can’t buy. Pride in what he does, and respect for the music he’s helped create. The songs are the riches.

“By now all rock bands are wise enough to be suspicious of music industry scum.”

At the 1hr, 27m mark of the WTF interview, he gives a remarkably insightful and articulate answer when asked what he considers to be the biggest albums of his storied career as a record producer [a moniker he’s uncomfortable with] … the crux of his answers were the albums ‘Title TK’ (2002) by Kim Deal, and ‘The Strain’ (2012) by Teeth (an emotionally charged project from terminally-ill New York musician John Grabski), but more than the answers he gave, it is the genuine, heartfelt explanations of why those albums mean so much to him that makes Steve Albini such a compelling and relevant figure.

Integrity is at the core of everything he does and how he views the world, and perhaps it’s that unfiltered honesty combined with an opinionated bravado that makes his interviews some of the most interesting and substantive discussions around music and the music industry, which can also extend to an extra-curricular passion for the intricacies of Poker and Baseball, the latter for which he makes a convincing argument on the grand sport’s superiority over hockey [27m,25s mark of this interview w/ Vish Khanna].

Steve Albini is an original, a rebel, someone who still lives and breathes the spirit of rock n’ roll … and he’s pretty fucking good at making rock records.

Check out his WTF Interview with Marc Maron, as well as his Kreative Kontrol interview(s) with canadian podcaster Vish Khanna, and of course his appearance on the first episode of Dave Grohl’s documentary series Sonic Highways [11:25 mark] which broadcast last year on HBO.


The Strain by Teeth
Music – John & Benjamin Grabski / Engineer – Steve Albini
released February 29, 2012


Title TK by Kim Deal (The Breeders)
Recorded by Steve Albini @ Electrical Audio Studios
released May 20, 2002

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