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Steve Albini, In Utero engineer & punk rock vet, dead at 61

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Steve Albini, the prolific punk rock musician and audio engineer who worked on albums including Nirvana‘s In Utero, has died at age 61.

In a statement to ABC Audio on Wednesday, May 8, Albini’s Chicago recording studio Electrical Audio confirmed that he passed away the night of Tuesday, May 7, of a heart attack.

Known for his strict adherence to the punk rock ethos, Albini opposed taking royalties on albums he engineered, a term he preferred to “producing.”

Albini’s music career began in 1981 with the punk band Big Black. Later in the ’80s, he began engineering albums for other artists, including Pixies‘ 1988 debut Surfer Rosa.

Kurt Cobain, who was a big Pixies fan, wanted Albini to work on Nirvana’s follow-up to their 1991 smash, Nevermind. The result was 1993’s In Utero, which took Nirvana’s sound in a harsher, more dissonant direction.

Albini also engineered albums including The Breeders‘ Pod, PJ Harvey‘s Rid of Me and Bush‘s Razorblade Suitcase. Additionally, he fronted the band Shellac, which is set to release a new album, To All Trains, on May 17.

Outside of music, Albini was an avid poker player and won multiple World Series of Poker bracelets.

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