Doin’ It Free…On Your Own Dime: Steve Albini Edition

It’s not all candy canes and coke naps, kids–sometimes you gotta make the hard decisions. Like when your sister gets pregnant at bible camp, so you have to hire a couple of skinheads to kick her in the stomach. Then you come to and it turns out that it wasn’t your sister at all, you never had a sister. And now you’re living in a tent downtown and trying to avoid the skinheads who are looking for that $50 you promised them…

Wait…what was I talking about?!? Oh yeah, Steve Albini. He’s right about absolutely everything, ever. Major label
record companies? Suck. Digital recording? Fucking sucks. Mainstream radio? Well, you get the idea. Think you want to have a career as a professional rock musician? Well Uncle Steve sez NO. You gotta make lo-fi records of wiping your ass with your guitar for two guys in the basement of a pizzaria in Queens for the rest of your life to be a real artist. So says the genius behind Rapeman.

Here’s some numbers for you soft-brained lemmings to crunch ala “The Problem with Music”:

So you’ve got a band that just got signed to a major label and the record company gives them a $10,000 advance. Great! But not so fast there, Grim Rail Rukk. You’re going to have to make a record for them eventually. Let’s say $3,000 to get the Lloyd London special: hire some guy in Sherman Oaks who has a room full of nice looking analog equipment, but just runs everything from a $79 4-track mixer into a laptop with ProTools on it. Alright, now you’ve got to tour to support the album so you need to hire a bus. $2,000. Parking fees, fuzzy dice, gas, and hospital bills from that time your bass player tried to crush up and snort a Mento. $5,000. But wait, you’ve got to eat something to remain conscious. $1,000 for vegan soy muffins and Pabst Blue Ribbon (for hipster cred). Shit, you need to wear some clothes or you’ll get arrested! $1,000 each to buy a new ironic Abercrombie sweater vest and “junkie fit” skinny polo pants. Also, you don’t have any fans and everyone hates you, so you need to hire hookers to fill the audience at your shows. $4,000. Finally, your daily drug supply per diem is going to cost you at least $140,000. Fuck, now you’re $245,000 in the hole and trying to auction off your internal organs on eBay to shifty Asian buyers!

Now, I’ve always been all about doing it yourself. I wrote the book on it. LITERALLY. It’s called “Booking that World
Tour…On Your Own Dime!” It’s printed on the backs of pages I ripped out of other books at Barnes and Noble, and it’s available for $189.99 from the trunk of whatever abandoned car I’m living out of this week. The plan I outline in it is simple, but Albini’s plan is even simpler: take a shit-ton of drugs, buy some coke-bottle glasses, start a band called Big Black, and spend the rest of your natural life fiddling with sliders so that the bassist from Ass Hurt can be heard in the mix. Then after you’ve managed to never actually have any success at all whatsoever in the music industry, you can dole out advice to up-and-coming bands to “do it yerself, posers” because you’ve been there.
…Except that you haven’t.

UPDATE: Now Steve Albini sez “Sonic Youth stole my last eighth so now I’m gonna call ‘em sellouts!” Anyone who sells more than 20 records is a sell out, I guess. Good news, Shiloe: you’re still too worthless to sellout! Milk it for all the indie cred you can. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth’s reply? “Sure. Okay. Whatever.” Anyway, read the part of the interview where he says that he hopes GQ magazine fails….in an interview with GQ magazine. Yep, yet another person/company that won’t ever return Steve Albini’s calls again. Like his ex-wife. Or his family. Or anyone in the town he lives in. Which is why he had to settle for an interview with GQ magazine in the first place — no music magazine wants to print his crazed bullshit. I’m looking forward to Steve Albini’s interview in Home and Garden Magazine in 10 years after he’s burned all his bridges. He’ll call the interviewer a sellout, shit his pants, and start huffing from a paint can to keep the machine elves from harvesting ideas from his brain. Another bridge needlessly burned, Fuck YEAH!

I’ll leave you now with a simple quotation from his wikipedia page.

He is a supporter of analog recording over digital, as can be evidenced by a 1987 quote on the back cover of the CD version of Big Black’s Songs About Fucking: “The future belongs to the analog loyalists. Fuck digital.” …Albini has recently succumbed to technological pressure of modern recording as his Electrical Audio Studios has installed their first digital setup for recording, although Electrical Audio engineer Greg Norman has stated that Albini refuses to use or even talk about the digital setup at the studios.

That’s Steve Albini, a man with the phenomenological grasp of a 3 year old: “If I don’t see it, then it doesn’t exist.”

UPDATE No. 2: Awww man, someone taught Albini how to cook! Now he’s gonna bum us out with his new blog where he’ll rant about how, “Corporate-made linguini sucks man; I’d rather eat a bag of hobo dicks. Eat shit and die, Barilla!!1″ It’s inevitable now–one day they’re gonna find him on the side of the road, naked and rambling about how “the future belongs to the oven loyalists. FUCK THE MICROWAVE!”

About Spike Anderson

Hey there, hipster scum. Spike Anderson here. It's hard work being the best manager in the history of your fucking life. That's why I like to relax with an armful of Afghanistan's finest.