Nirvana and Pixies producer Steve Albini dies aged 61

8 May 2024, 17:49 | Updated: 8 May 2024, 18:04

Steve Albini in his studio in Chicago, 2014
Steve Albini in his studio in Chicago, 2014. Picture: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

It's been reported that the legendary musician and audio engineer has died of a heart attack at his studio.

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Steve Albini, the producer behind such classic albums as In Utero by Nirvana, PJ Harvey's Rid Of Me and the Pixies' Surfer Rosa has died, aged 61.

Staff at the musician's recording studio, Electrical Audio, confirmed to Pitchfork that Albini had suffered a heart attack.

Originally a member of the pioneering noise rock trio Big Black, Albini became renowned for his simple, uncomplicated method of recording bands and produced albums by The Breeders, The Wedding Present, The Jesus Lizard, The Stooges, The Cribs, Manic Street Preachers and many, many more.

Albini also helmed the only album by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Walking Into Clarksdale in 1998.

An outspoken and controversial former fanzine writer born in Pasadena, Albini was a founding member, guitarist and vocalist of the Illinois trio Big Black, who released a number of brutal and confrontational records between 1982 and 1987, including Atomizer (1986) and Songs About F**king (1987).

After Big Black split, Albini founded the deliberately provocative band R*peman, before creating the group Shellac at the beginning of the 1990s. Shellac's first album in a decade, To All Trains, is due for release next week and the band were due to tour the UK in June.

Pixies - Where Is My Mind? (Official Lyric Video)

Albini didn't like to be called a "producer", considering himself an engineer who simply recorded the artists in the studio with the minimum of interference. His work on the Pixies' 1988 breakthrough album Surfer Rosa was one of the reasons Nirvana hired Albini to helm the follow-up to their mammoth album Nevermind, despite reservations from the record label and certain tracks being re-recorded to sound more commercial.

He told Kerrang! in 2021: "There was a backlash for sure after the publicity around that record. I was persona non grata with the big record labels, and I had a rough financial year after the release of that record, because my work with artists on those labels all dried up. But I reverted to working with underground bands.”

Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box (Official Music Video)

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