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Steve Albini, Chicago Music Legend, Dies At 61

Source: Block Club Chicago By Gwen Ihnat

The owner of Electrical Audio studio was famous for engineering and producing a number of iconic records, as well as for starting bands like Big Black and Shellac, among others.

RAVENSWOOD — Legendary rock icon Steve Albini has died. The 61-year-old died of a heart attack, confirmed by staff at Albini’s recording studio, Electric Audio, 2621 W. Belmont Ave., Pitchfork reported Wednesday.

Steve Albini was famous as the recording engineer (a term he preferred over “producer”) of such groundbreaking records as Nirvana’s “In Utero,” the Pixies’ “Surfer Rosa,” The Wedding Present’s “Seamonsters,” P.J. Harvey’s “Rid of Me” and several records by The Jesus Lizard, to name a few.

Albini also played in his own iconic bands, including Big Black, Rapeman and Shellac, which was set to tour this summer.

Born in Pasadena, California, Albini moved to the Chicago area to attend Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he began writing music criticism and working at local record stores.

He formed Big Black in 1981, followed by Rapeman in 1987 and Shellac in 1992. Shellac’s upcoming release “For All The Trains” was to be the band’s first in over a decade.

Albini was a frequent presence on the Electrical Audio Forum message board and on Twitter, where he described himself in his bio as a “recording engineer who plays billiards and poker, and eats like a viking / I reflexively block blue check accounts and promoted tweets.”

Albini most recently lived in the Ravenswood Gardens neighborhood. He told the Columbia College blog “In the Loop” why he stayed in Chicago in a 2017 interview:

“There’s not a lot of bloodthirsty competition in Chicago. In places like New York and L.A. the cost of living is so high and the the notion of ‘industry’ is much more cemented. In L.A. there is a pop music industry, in New York there is a pop music industry, and there’s competition to be part of that. The competition to beat other people to the brass ring or whatever, and I never get that feeling in Chicago.” 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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