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The Cribs pay tribute: “It’s hard to imagine Steve Albini being gone” 

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The Cribs have paid their respects to the legendary musician and producer Steve Albini, following news of his death.

Yesterday (May 8), it was announced that Steve Albini, who was known for recording and producing classic albums such as Nirvana‘s ‘In Utero’ and Pixies‘ ‘Surfer Rosa’ among others, had died at the age of 61 due to a heart attack.

Now, members of The Cribs have come forward to share their respects for the iconic producer, and recall the memories they have of working with him in the past.

The Wakefield indie band first joined forces with Albini back in 2011, shortly after they confirmed that Johnny Marr had departed from the line-up and were beginning work on their fifth studio album ‘In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull’. The LP marked the follow-up to ‘Ignore The Ignorant’, was was shared with the band as a three-piece in May 2012. It was recorded at Electrical Audio with Albini as producer, and went on to peak at Number Nine on the UK albums charts. It was also ranked Number Eight on NME’s 2012 Albums Of The Year list, and remains a fan favourite.

They then collaborated with Albini again five years later, when they were working on their seventh studio album ‘24-7 Rock Star Shit’. Also recorded at Electrical Audio, the album was shared in 2017 and praised by fans as seeing them return to their earlier punk and grunge roots.

Following news of Albini’s death, the band initially shared a photo of them with the producer at a recording studio with the simple caption “THE BEST EVER”. They then went on to share a moving recollection of their time working together in a follow-up post.

“It’s so hard to imagine Steve Albini being gone. He has been an almost constant touchstone in the lives of us brothers ever since we first heard one of his albums as 13-year-old kids. And then, since working together he has remained a presence as both someone that we always *knew* was there in our corner, but also just as a friend who we could exchange funny emails with,” they wrote.

“When we first went out to Chicago to record with Steve in November of 2011, the sessions happened to run through Thanksgiving. When Steve found out we had no plans and nowhere to go, he immediately offered to have us – 3 guys he had just met – over to his place to have dinner with him and his family,” the caption continued.

“So much for his “difficult” reputation. All those bullshit stories – the music industry was just afraid of him back then cos he was *honest*, and held no regard for the opinions of anyone involved in the commodification of music – a punk rocker, basically! His commitment was to the artist – and in that regard he was unparalleled. Working with him was a dream – he was the greatest engineer in the world, that goes without saying, but it was his respect and commitment to the art of recording that really set him apart.

“He taught us so much – literally sat down and taught us his recording techniques, with diagrams and written notes. In spite of Steve’s ethos of being essentially a contractor – viewing his services as comparable to hiring a plumber for example – he genuinely cared about the album for us, even after it was finished […] The greatest to ever do it. We know that, and have always felt deeply proud and grateful to have worked with him. I’m sure Steve would be cringing reading this. But it’s all true. Just a great, great man.”

Later, drummer Ross Jarman also shared a touching tribute of his own, explaining the profound impact that Albini had on him and his bandmates. “It’s a funny thing to try to explain to someone, the connection you have with a person after making an album together. In a way you’re tied to them forever,” he wrote.

“When that person unexpectedly departs this world, you realise that the things you did can never happen again, and in that sense, a part of the band died along with them. None of this even takes into account that this individual was STEVE AL FUCKING BINI…”

Besides his work with The Cribs, Albini was known for recording and producing major albums such as Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’, Pixies’ ‘Surfer Rosa’, PJ Harvey’s ‘Rid of Me’, Manic Street Preachers‘ ‘Journal For Plague Lovers’, and more.

As a musician, Albini fronted the likes of underground bands such as Shellac, Big Black and Flour. Shellac recently announced ‘To All Trains’, their first album in 10 years which is set for release next week (May 17) and were preparing to embark on a tour.

Back in 2017, shortly before the release of ‘24-7 Rock Star Shit’, The Cribs spoke with NME about what it was like to rejoin forces with Albini – five years after they first began working together.

“We always thought our records would be made very quickly and very raw and over time we kind of softened our stance on that. I think since we first recorded with Steve Albini back in 2011 that has always been the next thing on the agenda,” explained guitarist Ryan Jarman.

“[Albini] was so quick to make the record and I’ve always loved the sound of his album. The way that he records is like a path street and it’s perfect for a band like us because it’s a case of setting up live and playing live, getting the energy in a much more direct way than working with anyone else.”

Following the news of Albini’s death, Pixies, Benefits and more have paid tribute to the late producer – you can read them here. Jarvis Cocker also recalled the impact that working with the producer during ‘Further Complications’ had on him, and you can read his full tribute here.

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