“101 questions on what it was like recording NIRVANA with Steve Albini”

“101 questions on what it was like recording NIRVANA with Steve Albini”

When I first started this project about a year ago – I never thought that I would spend an autumn Sunday Morning in a cold warehouse in Bristol interviewing such an influential and important musician/recording engineer as STEVE ALBINI.

Yes he is ‘mostly known’ for being the engineer behind recording NIRVANAS ‘In Utero’ album – but thats not how this interview obviously went for those wishing to read on!

I called Steve in Chicago at the start of this projects inception about a year ago, he picked up and I  expressed my desire for his input and to be a part of this project about Newport. He said yes without thinking otherwise.

As a highly prolific and active musician since the late 70’s (aside from Flour) Steve’s bands Big Black, Rapeman and Shellac have all performed and shocked audiences in various working mens clubs, leisure centres and music venues in Newport throughout the 1980s & 1990s (the later being TJS in 1994 when Shellac performed w/The Didjits supporting) and aside from his recording, actively tours with Shellac in the UK still to this day.

Steve needs no introduction to his accomplishments he has (and continues to deliver) to music. But after that call I thought to myself, only when the film gets into position where we’ll have to fly to Chicago to go and get the interview with him, when that’ll be I don’t know, and to be honest I didn’t think it was possible. But then a few months ago the news was that Shellac were due to arrive back in the UK/Ireland on tour, so I made sure we could make arrangements to speak with him.

Sunday came and I (alongside two of my closest friends Alex & Kevin who were camera operating – thank you guys) were surrounded by monkey bikes, cosmonaut space helmets, Russian military hats and ‘the worlds first flying caravan’. Based on these circumstances alone, to say I was slightly nervous before the interview, may be a bit too under exaggerated. But, I can proudly say, that whilst sat opposite chatting to him for the best part of an hour, really meant a lot to me. I can’t put into words the kindness and intimacy Steve expressed about Newport over the years, the people, his musical career, reflecting on Chicago’s music scene throughout the decades and even as we got interrupted by seagulls on top of the building skylight during interview, he didn’t lose his professional decorum and humour.

Funny, friendly and a fucking great guy! Thank you Steve for being a part of The Rock of Newport I’ll never forget it!

Nathan Jennings


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