Anyway, it occurred to me that the most important reason I think Albini's an asshole is because of what he did, wearing his "I am not a record producer" hat, to The Fleshtones' "Let's Go," the should have been a huge hit first track from what should have been that band's commercial breakthrough album Laboratory of Sound from 1995.
Seriously, this is one of the absolutely greatest rock songs and performances ever -- the right three chords, those strategically placed yelps of the title acting as a terrific hook throughout, the atomic energy level (that "The hell with radiation!" movie sample at the beginning is doubly appropriate) and perhaps the funniest and most bordering on genius lyrics about the appeal of cheap thrills/transcendence in the history of the music.
Let's get goneDoesn't get better than that, frankly. And yet you listen to the version that Albini "produced" and it sounds like every crappy teenage garage band that ever taped itself on an old Wollensak in their parents finished basement in 1965. Seriously -- I weep when I hear this; it's still thrilling, obviously, but when I think of how good it could have been if somebody not Albini (or an asshole) had been in charge of the recording it's enough to make you want to go to Chicago and smack the little twit upside the head.
Get completely fucked
Let's go crazy on angel dust
Let's go -- let's get out of here!
Let's get drunk
Let's get in a fight
Let's get into something really wrong -- that's right!
And let's get out of here!
Oh well, Could have would have yada yada.
In the meantime, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that you can -- and definitely should -- stream/download the fabulous Fleshtones career documentary Pardon Us For Living But the Graveyard is Full (2009) over here. $10 -- Cheap! as they used to say at Mad Magazine.
I should also add that in the early 80s, the Fleshtones rehearsed in a studio two floors up from the one my skinny tie band used. One night, we took a break between songs, and all of a sudden the ceiling started to shake, violently, to the point where we were covered in plaster and going "What the fuck is that?" And then we realized -- it was the Fleshtones doing the loudest and most brilliant cover of the Yardbirds' "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" any of us had ever heard.
Needless to say, I was a fan from that moment on.