Steve Albini: Rest In Power

Steve Albini – Rest In Power: The iconoclastic music maker remembered by Jon Spencer from the new issue of Uncut magazine (dated July 2024).

Pussy Galore, Boss Hog, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

It was very empowering to work with Steve. He encouraged the same approach with the studio that punks had with a guitar – they might not know how to play it, but they know they have something they want to express. He’d explain how things worked and was extremely generous with his knowledge. I admired him a great deal and really looked up to him.

I first encountered Steve by listening to Big Black and reading the stuff he wrote for fanzines like Forced Exposure. He recorded about half of Pussy Galore’s Right Now! in around 1986 in Chicago. That might have been one of the first sessions he worked on. He then did Sugarshit Sharp and Dial M For Motherfucker.

Pussy Galore was a sonically extreme band, and Steve was a tremendous ally. He worked on two Boss Hog records and at least two Blues Explosion records. I kept going back because he was an excellent engineer and incredibly smart. He was happy to try extreme things, so if we wanted to record the sound of an automotive spring thrown down three flights of concrete stairs, he’d do it.

He wasn’t just generous in the studio, it was things like booking shows and negotiating a deal with a label. He’d share knowledge about all sorts of things, because he wanted to bring everybody up together. He was very funny, he took no bullshit, he loved to push buttons, he could be a contrarian and very outspoken – it was almost like performance art sometimes. But at the root of it he was a nice guy, and you could see that his kindness had only grown as he matured.”

Steve Albini photo: Shellac live at Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands (12 February 1995) by Frans Schellekens

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