Meet Steve Albini

Posted: September 15, 2011 in Miscellaneous

[The following excerpt relates to the band TAD’s experience with legendary misanthropic producer Steve Albini.  TAD, then consisting of Tad Doyle on guitar and vocals; Kurt Danielson on bass; Gary Thorstensen on lead guitar, and Steve Wied on drums, in some ways inspired their friends in Nirvana to follow their lead in choice of producers.  The first three TAD records were produced by Jack Endino, Albini, and Butch Vig…the same three who recorded Nirvana’s Bleach (1989), In Utero (1993), and Nevermind (1991), respectively.]

Just before TAD’s 1989 European tour with Nirvana, Sub Pop had quickly booked the band to record another EP.  This time, the label bought time in Chicago with legendary eccentric independent producer and ex-Big Black front man Steve Albini.  Locals had come to know him after Big Black closed out their career in August of 1987 at Seattle’s Georgetown Steamplant.  Furthermore, after Big Black’s demise, Albini’s stature as a producer grew immeasurably after he recorded the Pixies’ influential Surfer Rosa the following year.

For TAD, a slight problem remained.  The band hadn’t written enough songs for a full record.  “So we had one week to write five tunes (we all had day jobs then so we did this at night) and then we flew off to Chicago,” bass player Kurt Danielson recalls in an e-mail.

Unlike the more relaxed God’s Balls sessions with Jack Endino, TAD had to deal with Albini’s offbeat and extreme personality.  The band stayed with him in Chicago and that meant living according to his rules.  As such, TAD ate a steady diet of meat and enjoyed a post-session 3 am screening of Caddyshack.  “…and each morning I was awakened by a double barrel shotgun that Steve poked me in the face with,” Danielson states in an e-mail, “rousting me from my dreams so that I had to confront the twin blue black gleaming barrels extending, lengthwise, to Steve’s insane eyes, which peered down the barrels at me; he was wearing only boxer shorts…”


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