A few weeks ago Steve Albini (aka God) guest hosted Australia’s best source of underground music, rage. About a week later, I got around to watching all, of it (it’s about five hours). I already had a huge amount of adoration and respect, but in watching the rage segment, I know believe something more. I think Steve Albini might just be God. Here’s why:
10. His Waist Guitar Strap: Do you have any clue how hard it is to play guitar? Like, at all? It’s damn near impossible. The fact that guys like Jimmy Page and J Mascis are so good at it is simply a testament to their god-like prowess. Notice that the adjective is god-like, not godly. That’s because Steve Albini takes it one step further, and hoists his guitar around his waist, instead of over the shoulder like ‘normal’ people. Why? Because fuck ‘normal’ people. And also because he probably finds it comfortable.
9. He Loves Vinyl: There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been covered, other than the dude really loves vinyl. He’s also into cassettes, as shown by some of his releases, but it’s mostly a vinyl thing. Wouldn’t be surprised if the dude had tried to bang some vinyl. But haven’t we all at some point? Right? No, because that would cause scratching, it would fuck everything up, and it would probably hurt…the vinyl and you. It’s blasphemous to even consider the concept of fucking vinyl. But back to the main point, Albini loves vinyl, and that’s awesome.
8. His Humour: Although the humour didn’t really shine through on the rage segment, Steve Albini is easily one of the funniest human beings on the planet. This is mainly because no subject is sacred. No matter how taboo, how controversial, or how insanely fucked up it is, you can bet that Steve Albini will aggressively and forthrightly make comedy out of it. He has the kind of sick sense of humour that, upon seeing a guy getting mauled by a bear, he would probably say ‘He deserved it, fucking Madonna fan’ or ‘I always thought intestines were meant to be longer’. Probably, I don’t know the guy. But his humour is fucked up and glorious.
7. His Writing: Again, on the subject of his controversial humour, Steve Albini interjected this with some of the most offensively insightful observations about the music industry. He made a fuckload of enemies, like Ministry and every major label ever, but he stuck to his guns. He was a fiercely loyal independant, and with the ‘nothing sacred’ policy of his writing, he was one in a million. On a personal note, Steve Albini’s journalistic writings, along with Jim Goad, were incredibly influential on myself. So maybe there is a little bias in this list proclaiming Steve Albini to be God-what the fuck are you gonna do? (please read the former sentence in an amiable, friendly tone, an open ended suggestion to the reader in which constructive criticism is appreciated <3)
6. The Prolific Amount of Stuff He Puts Out: It is estimated, according to Wikipedia, that Albini has worked on between 1500-2000 records. That’s more records than breaths of air for a roughly week old baby. Also, the vast, vast majority of it is superb. On average, there is more soul and life in a single note of Steve Albini production than an entire Mackelmore album. Let me just shove that statistic in your face one more time: 1500-2000 estimated works. That’s like the amount of gallons of piss in an average public pool!
5. He’s Humble as Shit: Steve Albini is more humble than a badger. And badgers are the most humble creatures in the animal kingdom. That’s a fact. Look it up. Okay, I made that up. But Steve Albini just refuses o be acknowledged as the hero he is. He doesn’t list himself amongst the production credits, is incredibly generous with his Chicago studio and recording rates, and even described one of my favourite albums, The Pixies ‘Surfer Rosa’ as ‘…average college rock…’. Although the last one comes down to a matter of taste, it still astounds me that someone who greatly influenced what is considered a seminal work would downplay their achievements so much. But such is the Albini/God way.
4. Awesome Musician: Steve Albini is one of the greatest musicians that the alternative scene has ever witnessed. I was originally going to say ‘Awesome Guitarist’, but it’s important to note that he is a proficient programmer, doing the work on Big Black’s drum machine himself. In fact, the entire ‘Lungs’ EP was all Albini’s work, and that EP is fucking masterful. Albini transcends barriers of comfort with his post-modern style, forcing his way into your collective conscience with loud, dilated and aggressive sounds that only he could create. It’s a horrifying, holy and humbling experience to listen to something Steve Albini has constructed.
3. Part of Shellac: Along with fellow record engineer Bob Weston and drummer Todd Trainer (who used to play with Scout Niblett), Steve Albini is in this little band called Shellac. Oh yeah, you might know them by the other name as the greatest post-punk group since The Fall. Shellac only have four (technically five) albums, and each of them is like a manuscript of how to entertain the earholes with the greatest music of ever. If you remember the post I made for my one year celebration, ‘Prayer to God’ is roughly my 4th favourite song of all time. Yep, Shellac beat out the likes of The Ramones, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, to name a few. Shellac are seriously one of the best things to happen to this planet, along with chocolate cereal and humping.
2. Great Taste in Music: In watching the rage hosting, and from knowledge of the bands he’s produced (more on that soon) Steve Albini just has a fucking great taste in music. Like, seriously amazing. Ranging from Sepultura, to Low, from Lubricated Goat to Cheap Trick, and Boards of Canada to The Breeders, Steve Albini’s music programming on rage was second to none awesome stuff.
1. Studio Extraordinare: Finally, the reason most people would know the name Steve Albini is because of his god-like abilities in the studio. The Cribs, The Jesus Lizard, McLusky, Cloud Nothings-these are just some of the icons of the underground that can thank Steve Albini for helping them with unmasking their potential. PJ Harvey’s best album, ‘Rid of Me’? Albini. Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’. Albini. The aforementioned Pixies’ ‘Surfer Rosa’. Alllllllllll Albini. This guy has more genius than Albert Einstein taking hits of Stephen Hawking, while munching on Isaac Newtown’s brain as a snack. Fuck, if you don’t love Steve Albini in some form or another, you must be a Motley Cru fan. And there’s nothing worse than a Motley Cru fan.