On the Passing of Steve Albini

I was fifteen or maybe sixteen — I think just barely sixteen. It's hard to say for sure. Memory is a strange beast that only grows more odd with age. I'm likely wrong in the details and most of the broad strokes as well. I've lived no fewer than ten different lifetimes since then. They run together and confabulate. Anyway, let's say sixteen because that aligns with the record release dates.

I have this little Radio Shack AM/FM radio alarm clock with tape deck, (probably this one, but it's almost definitely not 1987 yet), and I'm up late listening to the Swimmer's Ear on WKDU, Drexel University's college radio station. The Swimmer's Ear played a lot of legit punk and post-punk in between announcing who would be performing at the Chestnut Cabaret and the Middle East that week. I was too young to get into either establishment at the time.

If I recall correctly, and I probably don't, the DJ played a lot of Dead Kennedys, The Exploited, D.O.A., MDC, and far too much Husker Dü. I mean, Husker Dü were fine and all, but it felt like every other song was Husker Dü or else The Dead Milkmen. Anyhow, I'm listening to college radio on my little alarm clock radio turned down low so as not to catch a hassle from my mother for being up "so late", which was either sometime after 11 PM or possibly 1 AM. It was a long time ago and the details escape me.

Even with my tiny radio turned down low, somehow, a giant sound comes out of it. It's like broken wind chimes and steel cables shrieking out melodies, soon joined by a thumping drum-like thing and some guy screaming about setting himself on fire to escape the boredom of existence. It was a revelation, and I instantly fell in love with what would become Industrial (Rock).

Reading of Steve Albini's death today gave me a somber jolt decades in the making. Rest in peace, as they say, when there aren't any better words to be said.

Big Black - Kerosene