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steve albini on lollapalooza
- Subject: steve albini on lollapalooza
- From: "James R. Covey" <JRCOVEY\!/ac.dal.ca>
- Date: Fri, 04 Aug 1995 19:48:41 -0300
a reforwarded forward -- i saw this on the pavement list.
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the following comments were attributed to Steve Albini. It was posted as
part of Thurston Moore's tour diaries. He responded to it in the next
part in the series. I'm not sure in what forum Mr. Albini's comments
Though I know a lot of people have very strong feelings about Mr. Albini,
I find it hard to argue with him here. When their Lolla appearance was
first announced, many of the same sentiments were echoed on the old
Stanford Pavement list.
I haven't deleted any of the text but I did reformat it. The text I
dumped was unformatted. I apologize if I messed up where a paragraph
starts and ends.
<Albini on Lollapalooza>
Off the record,
Now that participants are discussing the flaws in this spectacle, with
much of the emphasis on how revolting the conduct of everyone involved is,
can I be the nth person to ask, "What the fuck did you expect?"
Most folks who have ignored this ridiculous rolling frat party since its
inception long ago recognized these flaws (procedural, structural and
philosophical) as fundamental -- i.e. they are the reason it exists.
The bands involved are behaving in a particularly perverse fashion --
embracing this offensively mechanized industry marketing tool as some sort
of "scene," and alluding to the past associations the bands have made with
the underground, yet acknowledging that the organizers do not understand,
appreciate or often cooperate with bands who are not groping for a place
on the industry ladder.
It is singularly weird that participants include established bands and
others who have every reason to be secure in their place in the milieu
(and therefore have no "need" to participate like the industry creations
do), who seem genuinely surprised that the thing has turned out to be a
perversion of a perversion.
If you choose to fuck a pig in the ass, don't complain that your dick
smells like shit come morning.
A further degradation is that for their recognition that the event and the
audience are at their roots unsupportably crass, the bands seem to be
mitigating their disgust with an appreciation of how well they're being
If the bands wanted to demonstrate support for what remains a thriving
underground (despite attempts at buying it wholesale) they could do much
better than playing backup to a wet T-shirt contest and gloating about how
well it's doing by them.
Besides, any attempt at casting the participants as part of a "scene" is
patently ridiculous, since none of the bands on the bill have anything but
a historical association with the independent stratum of bands (and as
such, have "people" to handle the mechanics and organization), they are
geographically disparate, and other than smoking pot backstage and saying
things like "nice set, guy" they have no substantive effect on the event,
the crass marketeering that surrounds it or the superstructure that
At least they are learning that they cannot by their mere presence change
anything, no matter how they regard themselves or the music they play.
Frathouse entertainment, cultural profiteering, high-profit food and
lifestyle accessories, organizational greed (demonstrated by merchandising
premiums and aggressive franchising, if ticket prices weren't convincing
enough) and "the singer from Hole." Unflattering behavior all around.
It is a disgusting, audience-milking sham, and it sickens me. I will be
glad when I don't have to make excuses -- trying to maintain the pretense
of irony in their participation, rhetorically asking "what's wrong with
playing for a lot of people?" -- for people who ought to have displayed a
little class (restraint would be too much to ask). Glad when it goes away.
These are intelligent, generally perceptive people, who lend their names
and their art to a hoglike spectacle that has nothing to commend it save
its lucrative economics -- economics which are moot, considering how much
the bands could make on their own by playing to their natural audiences
without all the brouhaha. Lord knows I think bands ought to be paid as
well as possible.
By their precedent, they invite all and future bands to display the same
short-sightedness, and shrug off their shared responsibility in the
cheapening of the culture with a gesture miming the ruffling of a stack of
money. I will be glad when it goes away.
Sort-of like how I felt when Nixon died: Fuck him, he was a pig. I'm glad
he died. I hope he is deafened by the sound of his own screaming, mixing
in his porcine ears with the crackling of his rendering skin as he is
lowered into the throat of a hell we can't imagine. Really.
All that said, Rian Murphy proved himself a God among men with that Q-101
shit, and regardless of the venue, he ought to be given a ham
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