Steve Albini

On this date in 1962, Steven Albini was born in Pasadena, Calif. He began playing bass guitar in high school, and started writing about local punk rock bands after graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He founded and performed with the punk band Big Black, and has been guitarist and vocalist of the rock band Shellac since 1992.

Albini’s fame, however, mostly comes from his extensive work as a music producer. He has produced over 1,000 albums and worked with numerous well-known artists such as Nirvana, Robert Plant, The Stooges, The Pixies and Cheap Trick. Albini is a unique producer in many ways: He prefers not to be credited for his work (or elects to be credited as a “recording engineer” rather than a producer), and chooses not to receive royalties. He founded the Chicago recording studio Electrical Audio and appeared in the documentary “You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977-1984” (2007). Albini is also a chef who runs a food blog.

“I’m an atheist,” Albini said in a 2011 interview with the website I Wanna Know What I Wanna Know. “You could say that I’m agnostic, but that’s just a certain kind of atheist.” He continues: “If I were a gambling man I would put all my money on there not being anything other than this universe.” 

“People use God to fill in the spaces in the gaps of their knowledge . . . As we follow the trajectory of knowledge, the need for a God just dwindles, and it approaches zero.” 

—Steve Albini, interview with I Wanna Know What I Wanna Know, June 4, 2011

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor and Bonnie Gutsch

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