Steve Albini is regarded as one of the top recording engineers in the world, and has been creating music with his bands Big Black, Rapeman, and Shellac, since 1981. As the owner of Electrical Audio in Chicago, Albini has produced thousands of albums and has worked with numerous notable acts such as Nirvana, Bush, The Pixies, The Breeders, Chevelle, PJ Harvey, Joanna Newsom, Jawbreaker, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, and Cheap Trick.
Despite having his name on some of the most memorable indie rock albums ever made, Albini chooses not to collect royalties and instead earns a flat rate for his time, leaving more cash on the table for the artists themselves. As a result, he has been relying on poker to supplement his income for several years. Albini has been competing in a regular low-stakes home game for years that includes several World Series of Poker bracelet winners, including Brandon Shack-Harris, Eric Rodawig, Jason Gola, Matt Ashton, and Matt Grapenthien. Albini has WSOP cashes dating back to 2010, and in 2018, he earned a bracelet of his own, taking down the $1,500 stud event for $105,629.
Highlights from this interview include mixed games with Norman Chad, fires so big they make their own weather, The Problem With Music, Go-go with Dave Grohl, balancing time for touring, engineering, and poker, ignoring his day job for Bill Withers, Bush's surprising American success, the stacked game above a bakery, whammy cards, being ethically poorer than he should be, working differently than Phil Spector and Brian Wilson, Jeff Lisandro reads from Matt Ashton, wearing a guitar like a belt, quitting drummers and nude singers, prank calling Gene Simmons for Kurt Cobain, cured bacon, Krakow poker, being 3% gamble, the problem with circular glasses, Fun House by The Stooges, tar targets in concrete bunkers, and the Krispy Kreme donuts at Gwen Stefani's wedding.