Ten Things Steve Albini Hates Besides Amanda Palmer's New Tour Musician Hiring Scheme
Illustration by Adam Vieyra
Chicago-based musician and producer Steve Albini is certainly legendary for his creative output -- besides his playing in Big Black and Shellac, for instance, he's also pretty much the guy who gave acts like Nirvana their sound. The list of artists who got the Albini studio touch read like a who's-who of alt-rock titans from the '80s to today -- Slint, the Pixies, the Breeders, Helmet, and PJ Harvey, to name a few vintage favorites, along with more recent acts like Trash Talk.
But equally legendary are Albini's quasi-curmudgeon outbursts on the recording and songwriting process, the state of the music industry, and almost everything else. He's not a guy who minces words -- rather, he has a salty, memorable way with them. With age, Albini's memorable missives have even improved. Not only is he crankier and even less afraid of offending, but the Internet makes sure his best nuggets get re-posted and shared within minutes.
The latest Albini classic came yesterday, in the wake of what some are referring to as Amanda Palmergate. In short, Palmer, who raised over $1.2 million via Kickstarter to record her last album, is touring again with an orchestra concept. But instead of paying for a full orchestra to travel with her from show to show, she's asking fans in each city to volunteer for the string and horn sections.
Naturally, Albini let loose in a post on his own Electric Audio forum, lambasting Palmer.
I have no fundamental problem with either asking your fans to pay you to make your record or go on tour or play for free in your band or gather at a mud pit downstate and sell meth and blowjobs to each other. I wouldn't stoop to doing any of them myself, but horses for courses. The reason I don't appeal to other people in this manner is that all those things can easily pay for themselves, and I value self-sufficiency and independence, even (or especially) from an audience.
If your position is that you aren't able to figure out how to do that, that you are forced by your ignorance into pleading for donations and charity work, you are then publicly admitting you are an idiot, and demonstrably not as good at your profession as Jandek, Moondog, GG Allin, every band ever to go on tour without a slush fund or the kids who play on buckets downtown.
Pretty much everybody on earth has a threshold for how much to indulge an idiot who doesn't know how to conduct herself, and I think Ms Palmer has found her audience's threshold.
Classic. But Kickstarter and Amanda Palmer's latest touring scheme aren't the only recent things Albini says he hates! Here are 10 more from recent years.
Context: Albini, like so many other aging music types, is now a devoted cook, writing an entire blog, Mariobatalivoice, about things he's made his wife for dinner. Back in April of this year, he made fancy toast points.
Choice quotes: "Toast is bread made delicious and useful. Un-toasted bread is okay for children's sandwiches and sopping up barbecue sauce, but for pretty much all other uses, toast is better than bread. An exception is when the bread is fresh from the oven, piping hot, with butter melting all over it. Then it's fantastic, but I would argue that bread fresh out of the oven is a kind of toast. Because I'm an asshole and I refuse to be wrong about something."
Odd Future in general
Context: Albini shared an airport shuttle with the group after a gig in Barcelona, and that 40-minute trip in 2011 sealed his impression of the young rap agitators. The subject, again, came up on his forum.
Choice quotes: "I spent about 40 minutes with these little pricks at the end of May and I haven't wanted to strangle anybody that much in a real long time," he wrote again on his message board. "They go out of their way to make it clear that this is not a case of regular people making music about assholes, but assholes making music about being assholes."Next Page
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