The Confusing Reality Of Steve Albini And Big Black

While investigating Steve Albini’s latest band on YouTube, I came across a comment where someone pointed out the well-known fact that Steve Albini is an asshole, only to be insulted by the guy who had put the video up — someone who didn’t see the irony in reacting the way he did.

The legendary Steve Albini apparently being a dick in real life is just what people say. It also informed his approach to the way he made music in Big Black. The name of the band itself was perfect for putting people out of ease. Liberals would worry about whether or not it was racist, and racists would be put off by the imagery of the “big black guy”. (The one thing racists are supposed to be most afraid of.) Like any punk rocker with a chip on his shoulder, Albini made outrageous statements that he refused to explain. He wrote songs about violent/taboo thoughts and daydreams, but made them real, with dark, scary characters doing the narrative. And he didn’t explain that he wasn’t those characters.

Of course the way to talk to someone on one of your own videos is politely and kindly. And the way for any punk rocker to talk to any other punk rocker is politely and kindly, in my opinion. It’s stupid to do less. No one should feel obligated to put on the jerk persona in order to be a fan of hardcore music.