Steve Albini, everyone’s favourite ‘don’t give a fuck’ misanthrope this side of Mark E, was interviewed in GQ a few years back. Yes THAT GQ – I missed it then but a link to a quote is doing the rounds again and I tracked down the interview. It’s funny, and right on the money and is talking about the same themes as I was in the Radio Musicola podcast. For instance he talks about John Peel:
“For example, when John Peel died, that closed a pretty important chapter of radio in England. The BBC is a miracle, but John Peel was one of the things that kept it human.”
“His work ethic was absolutely incredible. He made it a point of pride to listen to every record that anyone sent him. He would listen literally to dozens of records a day. He said something once that I thought was really profound: He said that no one would bother making a record and sending it to him if they thought it was shitty. Obviously, to the people making those records, they are important. If he doesn’t get it as a listener, if he didn’t like it in some way, that’s his fault, not the fault of the people who did something important to them. That’s a pretty amazing, humble insight for someone like him to have. A lot of radio professionals kind of feel like they know the game, they know what’s good. His way of looking at it was much more selfless: there was this culture of bands creating music and he was getting to audition some of it. Then he could spread it out to the rest of the world if it struck his fancy. Just because he didn’t like something didn’t mean it was bad. He was just deaf to it.”
And I agree, as a grunge fan of his analysis of Chumbawamba and especially Sonic Youth, their ‘it’s OK to sign major’ lead to a lot of heartache and I’ve never rated them as a band…also they gave Peely the runaround after they went major about doing Peel Sessions, which is why I don’t think there are any later ones. He also talks about The End of Radio, which I played in the podcast also, and welcomes the rise of the internet for independent bands. Check it out.
(image by Sarah Masters, link via Eve Massacre)