Remembering Steve Albini

Tuesday night, one of my dearest friends, Steve Albini, unexpectedly passed away.

He was supernaturally talented (in far more disciplines than you or I could ever hope to be), kindhearted, generous of spirit, and generous with his time. He had the warmest, most genuine smile and he always greeted you with it.

He was a member of more bands on Touch and Go than any other musician. He played on more Touch and Go releases than anyone else. He recorded more bands on Touch and Go than any other engineer. He was a cherished friend of mine and a champion of my record label for 40 years.

When I met him, in 1984, we immediately bonded over music, barbeque, and fireworks. I had booked a show for Big Black in Detroit. We stayed up most of the night barbequing, laughing, and talking about musical influences, small explosives, and food. By morning, I felt like we'd been friends all my life.

On many 4th of July's, our shared inner pyromaniac tendencies emerged and we indulged our mutual love of fireworks. Surrounded by members of various bands, and other brave friends, we'd spend the day blowing up thrift store finds, fruits & vegetables, and gas-soaked bags of flour with small explosives. Once darkness fell, the bottle rocket wars would begin. An immaturely good time was had by all… especially Steve and I.

Our lives intertwined over the following decades. Steve made music, and we released it. We signed new bands, and Steve recorded some of them. Once Steve's dream studio, Electrical, was completed, our bands started recording there.

For a few years, Steve (and Bob and Todd) deemed me Shellac's soundman and took me all over the world with them (despite my obvious hearing loss which resulted in excessively loud concerts). The adventures we shared on the road will always be some of my fondest memories.

Shellac finished their new album last year. It's incomprehensible that Steve will not be here when it is released next week.

My life, and the lives of everyone close to Steve, will be forever altered from this moment forward. There's no replacing a big-hearted friend and kindred spirit like Steve. I love him and will miss him for the rest of my life.

-Corey Rusk