Steve Albini, Noise Rock Pioneer and ‘In Utero’ Engineer, Dead at 61


In addition to his own work with Big Black and Shellac, Albini also brought his abrasive sound to alt-rock classics like Pixies’ Surfer Rosa and PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me

by Daniel Kreps

Rolling Stone

May 9, 2024

American musician and producer Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio studio in Chicago, 2005 PAUL NATKIN/GETTY IMAGES

Steve Albini, the noise-rock pioneer with Big Black and Shellac who also helped engineer some of the greatest alternative rock albums of all time — Nirvana’s In Utero and Pixies’ Surfer Rosa among them — has died at the age of 61.

Staff at Albini’s Electrical Audio recording studio confirmed to Rolling Stone that he died Tuesday night, with The New York Times adding that the cause of death was a heart attack. Albini’s death comes a week before his acclaimed noise-rock project Shellac was set to release To All Trains, their first new album in over a decade.

The California-born, Montana-raised Albini played in Missoula punk bands as a teenager before moving to Chicago in the late Seventies to attend Northwestern University, where he majored in journalism and wrote for local music zines. On the side, Albini formed his own solo music project that he dubbed Big Black, releasing the EP Lungs in 1981.

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