Steve Albini, producer of Nirvana and Pixies albums, has died aged 61

Steve Albini, producer of Nirvana and Pixies albums, has died aged 61

US musician and rock producer Steve Albini, who has worked with acts including Nirvana, PJ Harvey and Pixies, has died aged 61.

The “punk legend” recorded Nirvana’s third and final studio album In Utero, released in 1993, as well as Pixies’ debut studio album Surfer Rosa, which came out in 1988, and PJ Harvey’s second studio album Rid Of Me, in 1993.

Pixies were one of late Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain’s favourite bands.

Albini also recorded and mixed the 1998 record Walking Into Clarksdale, the only album by surviving Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.

(L-R) Nirvana’s Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic in August 1991. Pic: AP

He also performed in his own bands including Big Black and his most recent project, Shellac.

Shellac had just finished recording a new album, To All Trains, due for release next week, and the group were set to tour the record prior to Albini’s death, according to the music website Pitchfork.

In 1997, he opened his famed Electric Audio recording studio in Chicago.

He told The Guardian last year: “The recording part is the part that matters to me – that I’m making a document that records a piece of our culture, the life’s work of the musicians that are hiring me.

“I take that part very seriously. I want the music to outlive all of us.”

Brian Fox, an engineer at the studio, said Albini died following a heart attack on Tuesday night.

Speaking in 2018, Albini said he had worked on more than 2,000 albums, mostly for underground or indie bands.

Among the tributes, Pixies posted a photo of him on X, with the caption RIP Steve Albini.

The Lord Of The Rings star Elijah Wood wrote: “Ugh man, a heartbreaking loss of a legend. Love to his family and innumerable colleagues. Farewell, Steve Albini.”

Rough Trade, a retail chain of record shops in the UK and US, wrote on X: “Musician, studio engineer and the mastermind behind some of rock’s greatest albums. A hero to us all. Thank you for setting the standard so high. RIP Steve Albini. Deeply missed, forever loved.”

Born on 22 July 1962 in Pasadena, California, he grew up in Montana and went to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he studied journalism.

He became a fixture on the Chicago punk rock scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he began performing with various bands and engineering albums.

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Albini remained a prominent figure in the Chicago music scene after his time at Northwestern, owning and operating Electrical Audio.

Pitchfork reported he did not take royalties from records he worked on, and he kept his day rates for artists comparatively low, especially as a producer with his pedigree.

He also became well-known for his commentary on the state of the music industry in the age of streaming.

Albini is survived by his filmmaker wife Heather Whinna.