Buried Treasures & RIP Steve Albini

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Steve Albini

Steve Albini

by Jim DeRogatis

A lot has been said about Steve Albini since the world learned of his death at age 61 on May 7, and he’s deserving of all of it, and then some.

Greg and I certainly had plenty to say, both on this week's radio show, and in a bonus podcast that was one of our longest ever. And still it felt as if we were just getting started.

I contemplated filling in a few of the blanks we missed in all of our yacking—I was always especially fascinated by the way he created a guitar strap that went around his waist rather than over his shoulder, for example, like some kind of wrestling belt—but when I went back to the last interview I did with him, I decided, well, let me just let Albini speak in his own words, as he did to me in the Sun-Times when Big Black's catalog was reissued by Touch & Go in 1992.That’s what I sent to our newsletter subscribers.

I included this piece in my anthology of writings about the alternative-rock era, Milk It! and I also quoted the letter Albini sent me when we fell out over Urge Overkill in 1996. Addressed to “Jim DeRogatis, Music Pimp,” he accused me of “cooking” him as a source and vowed never to speak to me again.

“I don’t offend easily, and I don’t give a f—k what you or either member of your readership thinks of me,” Albini wrote. “I can however make up my mind about who is or isn’t a useless f—k I should ignore, and you are one… What’s next, ‘Smashing Pumpkins Uncork a Masterpiece’? ‘Material Issue—Not Really a Complete Washout’? ‘E’Nuff Z’Nuff—This is Their Year’?... I can see why it is in your best interest to ignore the obvious phoniness of Urge and other manufactured phenomena, but don’t pretend you’re trying to be ‘fair.’ You could elevate your job a notch if you stopped delivering predictably fatuous ink for the industry, and actually looked for something new and/or good to write about, but then you wouldn’t be every flack’s best lunch date anymore. I can imagine how important lunch must be to you.”

I took it in stride at the time, even the fat joke (which really was beneath such an otherwise original wit), and I figured that eventually, we’d talk again. One of my biggest regrets in more than four decades of music journalism and criticism is that we never did.

Buried Treasures

There are always more quality albums than room on the charts for hits, so hosts Jim and Greg make a habit of sharing new batches of buried treasures as often as possible. This time around, they're joined by their producers and include picks from around the world.


  • Shirlette, “Short
  • C Turtle, “Shake It Down
  • The Messthetics and James Brandon Lewis, “Emergence
  • Mint Mile, “Sunbreaking


  • Mikey Moo, "Uncomfortable Silence"
  • Oh Hiroshima, "Secret Youth"
  • Gloom Girl MFG, "Crimes"
  • Pillow Queens, "Suffer"

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