Regarding Steve Albini’s open letter to Bill Wyman in your January 28 issue:
While over the past dozen years or so I have enjoyed Mr. Albini’s colorful ranting in many an obscure and slanted rag, it was indeed a rare pleasure, while wading through the local mainstream, to open the Reader and find a contribution by thee Diminutive Caucasian himself. Unfortunately, somehow, I got drunk, puked on the page and it came out soaked with bile.
I believe I understand the gist of the letter (Wyman’s a lackey for those driving the corporate steamroller, we’re all gonna be flattened, and these bands suck anyway) as well as the dystopian ideals from which thee D.C. pretends to speak (pure art, in order to remain pure, must speak uniquely to each individual and therefore must remain obscure, and that the mutual crotch-twaddling by bands, media, suits, sluts, and promoters yields no benefit for the rest of us).
If it’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s another great revelation. Personally, I spend 99 percent of my time trying to avoid this kind of drivel–if the hype is bad then the antihype is worse. Steve, it’s not like anybody’s stuffing sand up your crack–it doesn’t exist–ignore it–relax!
Personally, I don’t disagree with Mr. A’s sentiments, the PhairSmashingOverkill bunch seem to derive their inspirations from something on the level of a cereal box. And Ms. Phair, the Brooke Shields of Indie-Pop, claims the biggest prize for playing the media like a Stradivarius months before her album actually came out. Give her the polyester bunnyrabbit.
Recent critical national attention to the local music scene is unprecedented. Never before has any local band had a chance at any real national attention. Mr. Albini deserves due credit for the contributions of Big Black in pioneering the “Chicago Sound.” However, I would hate to see this goose cooked by politicization and fractionalization in the local media.
Instead of pandering to the pandering, Lil’ Stevie, might you consider applying your estimable talents to more positive pursuits–like (as Mr. Wyman has) encouraging the efforts of some of your more creative proteges and colleagues such as Table or Tortoise or the ex-Shrimp Boatees, like promoting the synergies of pub, public and liquor of which I am personally so fond, or maybe even exhuming from the archives some of those precursors you speak of and releasing their music–like Terminal Beach, the “Oz” outtakes, the secret Naked Raygun tapes, or the ultrasecret Silver Abuse sessions?
David H. Purdie
PS: Steve, I just forked over 14 bucks for your shitty Zeni Geva collaboration cd. If artistic integrity is the soapbox on which you stand, you should gimme my money back–it sucks!