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It's being an asshole about being an asshole.
August 9, 2011 12:02 PM   Subscribe

What happens when Steve Albini, (in)famously cranky musician, engineer, and all-around opinionated dude (as well as a pretty good food blogger!) meets the Odd Future Wolf Gang crew (themselves no strangers to controversy) in an airport shuttle? This happens, of course.
posted by Frobenius Twist (114 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nothing, apparently.
posted by unSane at 12:07 PM on August 9, 2011


Direct link to Albini's original post, in case you don't want to go through the BV link (under "This happens") to get it
posted by statolith at 12:09 PM on August 9, 2011


Oh, so complaining on the internet is NOTHING?

*hurries off to angrily blog about this*
posted by dubold at 12:09 PM on August 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


Albini thinks your favorite band sucks, film at 11.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:09 PM on August 9, 2011


Don't curse me for my nature
Don't blast me for my wrongs
Just a bad penny
posted by googly at 12:10 PM on August 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


So Steve Albini is pretty much turning into Prince Philip.
posted by griphus at 12:11 PM on August 9, 2011


SOMEONE DOESN'T LIKE SOMEONE
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:11 PM on August 9, 2011


Albini thinks your favorite band sucks were boorish dickheads on a shuttle ride he happened to be on.

And, yeah, it is likely he thinks your favorite band sucks, too.
posted by everichon at 12:14 PM on August 9, 2011


Niggering?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:15 PM on August 9, 2011


This post on Chicagoist relates the whole situation to their music and makes a lot of good points, though Albini pretty much sums it up in a way that nails my opinion too:

"this is not a case of regular people making music about assholes, but assholes making music about being assholes[,] I have no time for that."
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:15 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


By "niggering" he means saying "nigger" frequently (& similarly with "motherfucking").
posted by Frobenius Twist at 12:16 PM on August 9, 2011


So Steve Albini is pretty much turning into Prince Philip.

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by unSane at 12:16 PM on August 9, 2011


It's just assholes all the way down.
posted by kmz at 12:17 PM on August 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oops this post on Chicagoist...
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:17 PM on August 9, 2011


Albini thinks your favorite band sucks were boorish dickheads on a shuttle ride he happened to be on.

And, yeah, it is likely he thinks your favorite band sucks, too.


there are some epic "sucks/doesn't suck" threads on electrical audio
posted by Ironmouth at 12:18 PM on August 9, 2011


and yes, obviously I didn't notice this post's title before quoting what I did...sorry
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:18 PM on August 9, 2011


Assuming for the sake of this comment that everything Albini describes happened exactly the way he says it did...record companies should pay a guy to stand behind assholes like these and whisper "All glory is fleeting."
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:19 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


If that happens, I will personally volunteer to throw a skull labeled "MEMENTO MORI" through Steve Albini's window every week.
posted by griphus at 12:24 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


He should have put up one of those wall of sounds.
posted by Babblesort at 12:26 PM on August 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


I hope there was a McDonald's at the airport. I know I get cranky too when I'm hungry.
posted by longsleeves at 12:29 PM on August 9, 2011


Assuming for the sake of this comment that everything Albini describes happened exactly the way he says it did..

Well, he is a champion of the documentary method.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:29 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Young people subjected to sudden fame and money often don't handle it well. And cranky old white guys often don't handle young black men in a state of exuberance well. So let's just call this a wash and move on, eh?
posted by Bookhouse at 12:30 PM on August 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: Where being an asshole about being an asshole is somehow relevant.
posted by Chuffy at 12:31 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I wonder if he'd be interested in my new band S'up? We play douchetronica.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:32 PM on August 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


I hope this prompts somebody to produce some OFWGKTA/Big Black mashups.
posted by box at 12:32 PM on August 9, 2011


niggering?

I was bugged by that too, until the the next line when he said they were "motherfucking" things as well.

Its a bit of an outdated manner of speech, but he's saying they were throwing around the word "nigger" alot.

Like if you called me "motherfucker" you'd be "motherfuckering" me.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:33 PM on August 9, 2011


Didnt you fools watch Deadwood?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:33 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to bet they were "Nigga'ing" not "Niggering" - there's a difference.
posted by Chuffy at 12:35 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


stop the presses, steve albini doesn't like something
posted by p3on at 12:36 PM on August 9, 2011


Steve Albini gets a pass from me for quite a lot just for having the guts to come out and say this. The more I hear about Tyler, The Creator, on the other hand, the more I want to speed the day when he's scrabbling for a spot on the inevitable The Surreal Life revival.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:36 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really don't see the relevance of this encounter. Nothing really happened.
Before and after, it was the same Albini we all know.
Before and after, it was the same Odd Future Crew we all know.

Before and after, I want to hang out with neither of them.
posted by Theta States at 12:36 PM on August 9, 2011


"record companies should pay a guy to stand behind assholes like these and whisper "All glory is fleeting.""

That would make things worse.
posted by longsleeves at 12:41 PM on August 9, 2011


Before and after, it was the same Albini we all know.
Before and after, it was the same Odd Future Crew we all know.


I had never heard of Odd Future Crew, and now I have.

Thanks?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:41 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Card Cheat: record companies should pay a guy to stand behind assholes like these and whisper "All glory is fleeting."

Record companies? Hah, they live for fleeting glory, knowing full and well there's some other glory-hound following behind.

Anyway, saying OFWGKTA is "no stranger to controversy" sounds like you're trying to water them down. They ARE controversy. They're Horror Core. Oh, sorry, they're soundtrack music, my mistake; then they're lofi shock-rap.


Halloween Jack: The more I hear about Tyler, The Creator, on the other hand, the more I want to speed the day when he's scrabbling for a spot on the inevitable The Surreal Life revival.

That, I would watch. Odd Future vs members of the cast from the 3rd season of The Bachelor vs that kid who won a singing show a few years back.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:42 PM on August 9, 2011


Sys Rq: I had never heard of Odd Future Crew, and now I have.

Thanks?


This is (at least) Odd Future's fourth FPP. Now you have more to read (or ignore). You're welcome.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:43 PM on August 9, 2011


The only way to win is to not play.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:48 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know a hell of alot about them, except for Earl Sweatshirt being the scion of a famous poet and being whisked off to Samoa by his mom, I like Yonkers though, but they seemed maybe a little goofy, but not really assholes, in this Interview with Nardwuar. By comparison, you would think Lil B would come off pretty nutty, but he comes off pretty well.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:48 PM on August 9, 2011


They ARE controversy. They're Horror Core. Oh, sorry, they're soundtrack music, my mistake; then they're lofi shock-rap.

They're engaged-in-teenage-rebellion-phase-rap
posted by Hoopo at 1:06 PM on August 9, 2011


They sound like major assholes, but as others have said, that's nothing we didn't already know about them. I actually watched the video for Yonkers the first time last week (first thing I've ever heard from anyone associated with Odd Future). I'm not prepared to give them an asshole pass based solely on the strength of one great song, but... man. It hit me in the gut the same way Nine Inch Nails singles used to when I was younger, for a lot of the same reasons (self-pitying, sexually transgressive, childishly violent, deadly serious). Even the beat sounds vaguely NIN-ish. It's good.
posted by kryptondog at 1:13 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


And cranky old white guys often don't handle young black men in a state of exuberance well.

You say that as if the conduct Albini described is to be expected (and acceptable) just because of the race and age of the people acting that way. I don't think that's actually the case.

Who are these people? And why do you think I care about them?

They are people you care about enough to click through to the comment section of the thread. I think you care about them because you clicked through and commented, rather than ignoring and moving on.
posted by The World Famous at 1:14 PM on August 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Record companies should pay a guy to stand behind assholes like these and whisper "All glory is fleeting."

ET IN ARCADIA EGO MOTHERFUCKER
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:15 PM on August 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Before I knew anything about the group (I read Albini's note first), I was picturing some rock band and was like 'omg what a bunch of little bastards how are they famous dang metafilter is gon straight tear them up'--then I realized they were little black kids, which changes everything apparently.
posted by resurrexit at 1:19 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


But they are HIPSTER black kids, so what now, metafilter?

Bwahahahahahahahah!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:24 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


You say that as if the conduct Albini described is to be expected (and acceptable) just because of the race and age of the people acting that way. I don't think that's actually the case.

I say that as if the first word he used to describe their actions was "niggering," (and yes, from the context it becomes clear what he meant, but what an awful choice of words) followed by a stereotypical description of young black men behaving badly. They swear! They smoke pot! They're loud!
posted by Bookhouse at 1:31 PM on August 9, 2011


[Couple comments removed, reading something else is generally a better answer to not knowing what a post is about than complaining about it in-thread.]
posted by cortex at 1:33 PM on August 9, 2011


I actually watched the video for Yonkers the first time last week

That was my first exposure to those guys too. I get a distinct Def Jux circa ten years ago vibe from Odd Future, but maybe it's just me.
posted by Hoopo at 1:34 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


ET IN ARCADIA EGO MOTHERFUCKER

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA NIGGA
posted by falameufilho at 1:40 PM on August 9, 2011


*sigh for Def Jux of ten years ago*
posted by neuromodulator at 1:40 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I say that as if the first word he used to describe their actions was "niggering," (and yes, from the context it becomes clear what he meant, but what an awful choice of words) followed by a stereotypical description of young black men behaving badly. They swear! They smoke pot! They're loud!

Huh. See, I had no idea who they were and I read Albini's bit first, and I had no idea that they were black or young. In fact, I assumed initially that they were a bunch of racist white punks. I've known plenty of people in bands of various races and ethnicities and acting like an asshole is something that has always seemed to transcend those lines.

Swearing, smoking pot, and being loud are not, as far as I know, stereotypical descriptions of black men behaving badly any more than they are descriptions of white (or any other) men (or women) behaving badly.

To some extent, this is all a tempest in a teapot because "hey! There's a bunch of assholes in a band!" is such a common complaint that it's not newsworthy. I would expect it to be far more newsworthy to read about how genuinely nice some musical group is, like if they helped people with their luggage or something.
posted by The World Famous at 1:41 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would expect it to be far more newsworthy to read about how genuinely nice some musical group is, like if they helped people with their luggage or something.

For what it's worth, I used to work in a mall on the south shore of Massachusetts and the guys from Aerosmith would come in sometimes. I never met the singer but Joe the guitarist was an incredibly cool guy and just the nicest dude you'd ever want to meet.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:42 PM on August 9, 2011


Most musicians I've known, famously cantankerous or not, are very pleasant.

As I never tire of pointing out, Mark E Smith gave me a hug once.

Also, I will say that Sloan are a lovely bunch of fellas.
posted by unSane at 1:49 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I remember seeing a picture of Albini walking toward the camera somewhere next to Lady Gaga and thinking 'hunh, that's not somebody I'd want to mess with if there was any other choice.'

Also, I can't help thinking of them as Odd Furniture Crew, for some reason.
posted by jamjam at 1:50 PM on August 9, 2011


It's weird to me, imagining Aesop Rock being a veteran of Olden Times. 'Cos didn't Bazkooka Tooth just come out like in...ah, shit.

SO OLD. * rummages through fridge for another can of Ensure *
posted by everichon at 1:51 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, I will say that Sloan are a lovely bunch of fellas.

Man, Sloan is great. I wonder why it is they never seem to be included among the "best Canadian bands" discussions. For me it's between them and Blue Rodeo, cuz the Tragically Hip were never really the band for me.

Sorry for the derail.
posted by Hoopo at 1:58 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


They were on our 'greatest Canadian rock' setlist that we played on Canada Day. Along with Rodeo and the Hip, but the Sloan song (If it Feels Good, Do it) was deffo our fave,

Saw them in Meaford with about 300 people a couple of weeks ago -- awesome.
posted by unSane at 2:01 PM on August 9, 2011


Halloween Jack: "Steve Albini gets a pass from me for quite a lot just for having the guts to come out and say this. The more I hear about Tyler, The Creator, on the other hand, the more I want to speed the day when he's scrabbling for a spot on the inevitable The Surreal Life revival."

Seconded. That's a fantastic essay, and should be required reading for anyone in a band.

Thanks for posting it, by the way. I just sent it to a bunch of people who really, really need to know it.
posted by zarq at 2:06 PM on August 9, 2011


To some extent, this is all a tempest in a teapot because "hey! There's a bunch of assholes in a band!" is such a common complaint that it's not newsworthy.

Yeah, I suppose that to some extent there's not a lot actually happening here, and I could probably have framed it better than saying "this happens," as though some nasty shit went down. Really, all that went down is Albini writing one of his signature essays.

More generally, I thought this was interesting for a number of reasons:

(1) Albini is an important figure in rock music who represents a certain form of indie-rock establishment, while also at the same time representing the antithesis of the mainstream music establishment (and also is someone whose music and production I like a lot);

(2) OFWGKTA is also, like it or not, an important part of contemporary youth culture. Whether they'll end up being influential or just a momentary thing is up in the air, although I personally think it'll be the former. They also represent a clear anti-establishment stance. (I like some of their music too, although I feel conflicted about it).

(3) Albini's and OFWG's anti-establishment tendencies intersect in some ways and are total opposites in other ways. This is very interesting, in my opinion! Albini is, for example, the man behind the band Rapeman, and he sometimes pushes buttons in a way not dissimilar to the way that OFWG does. Albini actually touches on this in the essay, in an indirect fashion. He even defends Odd Future's music. I don't agree with everything Albini says in this essay, but as with almost everything he writes, I find it to be worthwhile reading.

Anyhow, if you're not a music/pop-culture nerd, this probably seems kind of wtf? to you, but I found it extremely interesting.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 2:09 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's interesting how basically everybody who didn't know who Odd Future was (myself included) assumed the band was white and had a similar reaction to Albini's rant - "jesus streetfighting christ, what a bunch of douchebags". Meanwhile, people who knew who they were talked about how "cranky old white guys often don't handle young black men in a state of exuberance well".
posted by falameufilho at 2:10 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


zarq: "That's a fantastic essay, and should be required reading for anyone in a band."

I am not in the music business but I wouldn't be surprised if that essay is now completely outdated. I think I first read it in the late 90's, which is to say before I downloaded my first illegal MP3. That business went through some hardcore changes since then (not necessarily to the benefit of musicians, but still).
posted by falameufilho at 2:13 PM on August 9, 2011


Of course Steve Albini doesn't like OFWGKTA. Of course he doesn't.

It's weird to think that at one point (high school) Steve Albini was a minor hero of mine. Very minor. But through reputation alone, there was something about him that commanded respect. Now, though, everything about him just seems like it's from another time --- the music itself has changed, of course, but so has the way music is recorded, produced, released, discovered, bought and sold. Attitudes to music have changed, approaches to music have changed, the very concept of music has changed, but Steve Albini is still railing against the system and kind of snarking his way to rock and roll purity.

I don't mean this as a compliment. In the past 20 years, rock and roll has been completely replaced as the dominant cultural driving force, and its dearly held notions of "purity" and "authenticity" (read: "guitars" and "not wearing costumes on stage") have been exposed as the arbitrary bullshit they were; in his own way --- with a permanent sneer and in a nasal whine --- Albini fought hard for these values, and now they've been abandoned by music culture. That is, when they're not being ironically mocked outright.

Albini, of course, was and remains a producer of remarkable talent (I have a few friends who went down to Chicago to record with him, and the stories they tell...) and Big Black remain a landmark group for their ability to make amazing music that redefined the entire post-punk genre, while simultaneously being almost transcendentally unpleasant. Ultimately, it's no crime for talented musicians to fall behind current trends as they age.

In Albini's case, however, the combination of vitriol and wildly antiquated idealism just sounds like a man angrily out of touch with the modern world. He sounds like your mildly senile, very racist grandfather pounding on the table during a strained family dinner. There was never anything endearing about Albini's unpleasantness, and now his anger just seems pathetic.

I'm not unaware of the irony of defending Odd Future by attacking Albini like this, because Odd Future rap about anger and unpleasantness almost exclusively. But there's at least a kind of glee to it --- you can tell that they're enjoying themselves, at least, and probably don't mean it --- where with Albini there's just bitter, miserable snark, snark, snark, snark, snark. I wasn't listening to Big Black in the 80s, so maybe when he was singing about child rape then it was all cool and everything and people treated it like they do Odd Future, but now he just needs to stop it.

I can muster a bit of pity for him; he is a man who has spent his life learning how to get the perfect snare sound, living in a music world that now uses electronic drum pads. People are excited by synthetic textures now, by music juxtapositions, by process and by artifice. Nobody is too worked up about rawness or immediacy or by "lo-fi" production, and these are his stock in trade. And what once might have sounded righteous or indignant now just sounds feeble and bitter.

But I like drum pads and synthetic textures. I like novelty in music. I like music that sounds clean and precise, that sounds like it was made by professionals and I like music that sounds like it was made by excited amateurs. I like dancing and dressing up and flash. I am happy to leave rock and roll behind. I have long grown tired of music that sounds like it was made by a few angry men in a basement, feeding back their guitars because feedback = REAL, man. That's all we've had for years and years and years. I'm tired of the austerity and idealogical purity that the Steve Albini's of the world angrily insist on. They are always looking back, and every year they have to look a little farther.

(As a personal aside, I don't want to dismiss his work too lightly or to be a dick about it. The Jesus Lizard and the Pixies and all those bands were major influences in my life. But time has moved on and music has moved on and it's moving on to some amazing places; I wrote all of this kind of aimed at Steve Albini, but also at the people out there who are going to complain about OFWGKTA and fucking, I don't know, chillwave or whatever, and how it's all bullshit because it's not real and there's nobody playing real instruments and it's not PURE and AUTHENTIC like only indie rock from 20 years ago (or even worse, current music that SOUNDS like indie rock from 20 years ago.) Steve Albini seems like a kind of mascot to these people and unfortunately took the brunt of my contempt.)
posted by Tiresias at 2:18 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, people who knew who they were talked about how "cranky old white guys often don't handle young black men in a state of exuberance well".

I know who they are, and, if Albini's account is even kind of correct, they were fuckheads on the shuttle.
posted by everichon at 2:20 PM on August 9, 2011


(If it Feels Good, Do it)

Worst Sloan song ever. Best Sloan song ever!
posted by Sys Rq at 2:21 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anyone mention the Steve Albini Proto AMA from 07 on the 2+2 forums?
posted by Ad hominem at 2:24 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah I knew they were black. But I also knew they were skaters, and skaters are kinda dicks.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:25 PM on August 9, 2011


If nothing else "state of exuberance" is my new euphemism for "stoned."
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:25 PM on August 9, 2011


Worst Sloan song ever.

Aw, c'mon.
posted by unSane at 2:29 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Card Cheat: "If nothing else "state of exuberance" is my new euphemism for "stoned.""

I tried to think of a young white man in a "state of exuberance" and all I can think about is this.
posted by falameufilho at 2:33 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


OFWGKTA pretty much represent the musical personification of what's going on in London right now. Whether you think that's a good thing or bad thing is another matter.
posted by unSane at 2:34 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tiresias, I don't see how some young folks acting like jerks in any way has anything to do with the state of music. You sound like you've been waiting to get that rant off your chest for a while. According to Albini's report, they acted like fuckheads. If not digging that makes him old and outdated, then I am old and outdated to, and I like it that way.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:36 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


and probably don't mean it

So, wait, is it better if they're a cartoon of a racist cartoon, or a just a racist cartoon? I've lost track.
posted by unSane at 2:37 PM on August 9, 2011


In fact, I assumed initially that they were a bunch of racist white punks.

Now that you know they're black, can you see how using the word "niggering" was a bit off?

Swearing, smoking pot, and being loud are not, as far as I know, stereotypical descriptions of black men behaving badly

I promise you that they are, particularly being loud. Anyway, I agree about tempests and teapots, so anyway ...
posted by Bookhouse at 2:38 PM on August 9, 2011


Of course Steve Albini doesn't like OFWGKTA. Of course he doesn't.

It's weird to think that at one point (high school) Steve Albini was a minor hero of mine. Very minor. But through reputation alone, there was something about him that commanded respect. Now, though, everything about him just seems like it's from another time --- the music itself has changed, of course, but so has the way music is recorded, produced, released, discovered, bought and sold. Attitudes to music have changed, approaches to music have changed, the very concept of music has changed, but Steve Albini is still railing against the system and kind of snarking his way to rock and roll purity.


Tieresias, did you read the post? He doesn't care about the music, he just thinks they were assholes. And as a card-carrying asshole himself, I'm sure he recognises the genus.

Someone asked him what he thought about this post propagatin' and he said this, which I quite liked:

Don't care. Obviously I care about discussions on this board [Electrical Audio] more than elsewhere, because I spend much less time elsewhere, but like most internet things, what wants to happen happens and there's no point in even forming an opinion about it.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:38 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


* ahem *

MetaFilter: What Wants To Happen Happens And There's No Point In Even Forming An Apinion About It
posted by everichon at 2:41 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ah, from further down:

I don't want to paint all rap or rappers with any kind of brush. I'm self-aware enough to know that I'm not in its audience and don't pretend to be, but I don't think people involved in it are any more stupid than other artists, and some of them have proven to be brilliant in one area or another. I don't think Odd Future or their music are stupid. They're probably pretty smart. Smart goes hand-in-hand with cocky, and they're exceptionally cocky.

I just think they're assholes.

posted by Sebmojo at 2:41 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aw, c'mon.

Touché.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:41 PM on August 9, 2011


MY ONLY OPINION IS THAT I AM VERY MUCH "FOR" AN EDIT WINDOW
posted by everichon at 2:42 PM on August 9, 2011


Thanks, Tiresias. Every time someone dances on the corpse of rock'n'roll it lets me know that it must not be quite dead yet.

I haven't listened to Odd Future. I did google them and discovered that they're all teenagers or in their early 20s. So bunch of kids suddenly getting money and attention have started acting like assholes! Shocking!

It seems like Albini's unstated complaint is that these kids aren't acting like the right kind of asshole.

Whatever, Steve.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:43 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nobody is too worked up about rawness or immediacy or by "lo-fi" production

Yeah, Albini's production is always "lo-fi". What a one-trick, one-track guy he is!
posted by kenko at 2:47 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now that you know they're black, can you see how using the word "niggering" was a bit off?

I thought it was off the first time around. That doesn't mean I magically decided the way they allegedly behaved was totally cool.

Swearing, smoking pot, and being loud are not, as far as I know, stereotypical descriptions of black men behaving badly

I promise you that they are, particularly being loud.


Come on! You cut off half of my sentence in order to come up with that response. I said:

Swearing, smoking pot, and being loud are not, as far as I know, stereotypical descriptions of black men behaving badly any more than they are descriptions of white (or any other) men (or women) behaving badly.

They could just as easily have been a band of tracksuit-wearing jerks from the North of England or Jersey Shore wannabes with that description.

Anyhow, if you're not a music/pop-culture nerd, this probably seems kind of wtf? to you, but I found it extremely interesting.

I am a music/pop-culture nerd, and I did find it extremely interesting. Over the past few years, though, I've begun to find myself immersed more in the artist/musician end of music nerdery and less in the (for lack of a better word) spectator end of it, and I've started to view these sorts of outside interpretations of artists' actual lives, opinions, and motivations as sort of impossible, if that makes sense.
posted by The World Famous at 2:51 PM on August 9, 2011


No one buy Steve Albini the Odd Future book for Christmas.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 2:51 PM on August 9, 2011


The difference between Odd Future and/or and the other early 20s kids getting money and attention is not their race, but it's their acclaim comes from lots of talk about rape and faggots. Which basically makes them the 4chan of the Pitchfork scene.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:51 PM on August 9, 2011


It seems like Albini's unstated complaint is that these kids aren't acting like the right kind of asshole.

Whatever, Steve.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:43 PM on August 9 [+] [!]


I... what? His unstated complaint? Aren't his stated complaints enough to be going on with?

If they were young brash punk lo-fi kids doing the same stuff d'you think he'd be all like 'heh, young scalliwags, come over here and call me a motherfucker fer old times sakes and I'll give yiz a shiny nickel'?

My instinct? He would not.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:56 PM on August 9, 2011


I support Steve Albini on this. If I had to be in an enclosed space with some douches like that I'd be hating it too.
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:59 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now that you know they're black, can you see how using the word "niggering" was a bit off?

I thought it was off the first time around. That doesn't mean I magically decided the way they allegedly behaved was totally cool.


Who thinks the way they behaved was totally cool? I'm thinking no one. It sounds like they were annoying.

Come on! You cut off half of my sentence in order to come up with that response. I said:

I didn't mean to edit your meaning, I just disagree with what you're saying. I just think that loud braggadocio and swearing are more specifically stereotypes of young black male than other groups. (I don't love those cites, by the way).
posted by Bookhouse at 3:10 PM on August 9, 2011


I guess I just don't see how someone's unfortunate conformity to a negative stereotype (however broad or narrow that stereotype may be) has any bearing on the question of whether or not Steve Albini is justified in being annoyed by the behavior.
posted by The World Famous at 3:18 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I should derail my own FPP, but somehow I wasn't aware of the epic thread that Ad hominem linked to above where Albini answers a whole bunch of questions from users on a poker forum, and oh my god it is amazing. Sample:

Quote: "I thought the Bob Dylan and Rolling Stones remasters sound great on regular systems. Maybe SACD would be better."

Albini: No, I'm pretty sure they're still going to have Dylan and the Stones on them.

posted by Frobenius Twist at 3:19 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


OFWGKTA pretty much represent the musical personification of what's going on in London right now.

OFWGKTA pretty much represent the musical personification of what's going on when a kid phones into a call-in radio show to shout swears. What's going on in London is something completely different.
posted by Hoopo at 3:20 PM on August 9, 2011


If they were young brash punk lo-fi kids doing the same stuff d'you think he'd be all like 'heh, young scalliwags, come over here and call me a motherfucker fer old times sakes and I'll give yiz a shiny nickel'?

Yes. I do think that.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:22 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


If that happens, I will personally volunteer to throw a skull labeled "MEMENTO MORI" through Steve Albini's window every week.

Holy smokes, don't even wait - you can volunteer to do that at my house because that would be AWESOME.

[SCENE: DINNER PARTY AT FATHERDAGON'S, EARLY EVENING IN THE LIBRARY]

FatherDagon: ...and so, we find ourselves in the interesting disconnect where goth and industrial music is still being made in fervent and wild new variations, but the musicians refuse the terms 'goth' and 'industrial', and the oldschool goths and rivetheads refuse to listen to anything less than ten years old. It's a tough time for --

[SKULL LABELED MEMENTO MORI COMES CRASHING THROUGH THE WINDOW, UPSETTING THE MINIBAR AND KNOCKING CLAY PIPES AKIMBO. POSSIBLE RECORD SCRATCH SOUND AS EVERYONE TURNS TO LOOK.]

Guest: Gracious, WHAT just happened?

FatherDagon: Oh, I've got a guy for that. Keeps things lively, you know!

[PARTY RESUMES, BUTLER IS DIRECTED TO PLACE NEW SKULL ON THE PILE OF SKULLS IN THE CORNER.]
posted by FatherDagon at 3:37 PM on August 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Is that Bernard Butler, or Geezer?
posted by unSane at 4:08 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't live in Albini's head, so I don't know whether race was an issue for him. I do know that this scans with just about every OF story I've ever read. Tyler really does seem like an asshole, and I feel comfortable saying that because I think it's pretty clear Earl's the fucking genius here. (Or, well...not there.) That said, arrogance among the young and over-privileged isn't new; rock and rap stars turning into id-driven fuckheads as soon as they feel halfway allowed to do it is a story old as time, and basically just the artsier version of what Joseph Campbell might call the Journey of the Asshole Jock.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:10 PM on August 9, 2011


somehow I wasn't aware of the epic thread that Ad hominem linked to above where Albini answers a whole bunch of questions from users on a poker forum, and oh my god it is amazing.

that was like the best day of my life especially after a bunch of mefites came to the forums and we all made fun of you for asking serious dork questions.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:11 PM on August 9, 2011


If they were young brash punk lo-fi kids doing the same stuff d'you think he'd be all like 'heh, young scalliwags, come over here and call me a motherfucker fer old times sakes and I'll give yiz a shiny nickel'?

posted by Sebmojo at 2:56 PM on August 9 [+] [!]

Yes. I do think that.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:22 PM on August 9 [+] [!]


[citation needed]
posted by Sebmojo at 4:17 PM on August 9, 2011


Perfect; thanks Steve. I suggest taking the name "Odd Future Wolf Band Crew" and coining it to mean "tasteless lowlife wannabe so-called "musicians" who act out their accidental fame, stupidity, and ignorance in public". Perhaps an acronym? OFWBC (Offoobic - said with a north London accent). At least that will be something for their fans to remember them by after their pathetic "music" is buried and lost. That shouldn't take too long.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:40 PM on August 9, 2011


the question of whether or not Steve Albini is justified in being annoyed by the behavior.

Annoyance requires no justification; the manner in which Albini chose to publicly air his beef renders him a middle-aged white fart in my opinion.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:57 PM on August 9, 2011


I wrote all of this kind of aimed at Steve Albini, but also at the people out there who are going to complain about OFWGKTA and fucking, I don't know, chillwave or whatever, and how it's all bullshit because it's not real and there's nobody playing real instruments and it's not PURE and AUTHENTIC like only indie rock from 20 years ago (or even worse, current music that SOUNDS like indie rock from 20 years ago.)

as opposed to what?

*listens to "orange juice" and "swag me out"*

musically, this sounds pretty old to me, not to mention rather hackish - not digging it

i don't dig what i've heard of steve albini's music either, if that makes you feel better

guitars, or perfectly layered drum samples, or what have you, it's not what it is that counts, it's what you do with it
posted by pyramid termite at 6:21 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, Vibrissae, long time no see!

So, how've you been?

Still hate rap?

Hey, that's great.
posted by box at 6:48 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Still hate rap?

not really, just "loser rap", you know, OFWBC rap.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:26 AM on August 10, 2011


You don't have to hate rap to dislike OFWBC (although it obviously helps) any more than you have to hate punk to dislike Skrewdriver.
posted by unSane at 5:00 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oooh, nice godwin!
posted by FatherDagon at 7:57 AM on August 10, 2011


Tiresias, it's a little odd to laud Albini for Big Black and then to suggest he'd be upset about synthetic drums.

I've listened to a little Odd Future and haven't been impressed, but I'm hardly the person you'd want to go to for opinions on hip hop later than, say, 1992. Of course I'm offended, but the Beastie Boys used to be horrendous dicks too, and now look at them.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:49 AM on August 10, 2011


Yeah, that little rant from Tiresias is as ignorant about Albini as s/he claims Albini is about rap.
posted by unSane at 8:52 AM on August 10, 2011


I've gotten bored of Odd Future over the past few months and have my criticisms of them, but Albini's overreacting in a predictable older person 'get off my lawn' way, with a tinge of racism thrown in. Does he remember being young and drunk and high and hanging out with his best friends in a new place, making each other laugh and constantly one-upping each other over how far they can take things? They're just young, dumb, fucked-up punks, the same as you see on any street corner. I'm sure I've acted worse than these kids and I'm not an asshole.
posted by naju at 9:28 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


No need to bring identity into it; if you acted worse than these kids, you acted like an asshole. We've all been loud an obnoxious to someone at some point, but Jesus Christ I would have thought these people were being atrocious douchemuffins at 19, so "old" has nothing to do with it whatsoever. They were being unpleasant to people around them, not just hanging out and having a good time.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:36 AM on August 10, 2011


So we're to the OFWGKTA backlash now? Fair enough. Goblin isn't any less of a good record though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:49 AM on August 10, 2011


Frank Ocean--he's the OF person it's marginally okay to like!
posted by box at 9:54 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


No need to bring identity into it; if you acted worse than these kids, you acted like an asshole...

Granted, but remember, Albini's the one taking this one slice of their life he happened to witness and extrapolating their entire identities from it. They could be entirely different, kind people when sober at a family backyard barbecue. They could be quiet, insightful students of literature in the classroom. He'd never know. All he has is this shuttle. If I could count the number of times I've seen drunk, usually behaved people acting obnoxious on public transportation...
posted by naju at 10:09 AM on August 10, 2011


I'm sure I've acted worse than these kids and I'm not an asshole.

I'm not sure what you're saying there. You don't think the way that they (and you, apparently) acted was bad? You don't think the word "asshole" properly applies to people acting that way?

Assuming for the moment that Albini's account of the events is accurate, and that you do not think the conduct in question constitutes "acting like an asshole," then how much worse do you think their conduct would have had to be in order for the word "asshole" to be appropriately applied?

I hate to make this a linguistic discussion about the word "asshole," but it seems like either you are of the opinion that this conduct is totally fine or that you just don't know what "asshole" means.
posted by The World Famous at 11:12 AM on August 10, 2011


I don't know, I might even be slightly trollish here (I can't tell), I just have this instinctive problem with his mediated, biased description of how they acted which is supposed to convince me that they are shitty human beings. I could even see it being an over-the-top comedy routine they're putting on mostly for the benefit of themselves, with a joking winking aspect to their body language and the way they're using their words. They're not smashing anything up or getting fighty in people's faces. My only problem is them using the words "faggots" and "bitches" but did I use those words when I was an insensitive and clueless teenager, sure. Was it right, no, was it assholish, sure, but I'm not convinced that OF are awful horrible people based on Steve's judgmental little anecdote.

Anyway, I probably am just an asshole, so ignore me :)
posted by naju at 11:50 AM on August 10, 2011


I don't think this has been linked yet; things got more interesting. Odd Future responds. Tyler the Creator responds. Albini responds.
posted by naju at 7:17 PM on August 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


The Album Leaf was recording the entire conversation and has posted it here.
posted by afx114 at 1:31 PM on August 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


So... that was pretty tame.
posted by naju at 2:36 PM on August 11, 2011


I don't think this has been linked yet; things got more interesting. Odd Future responds. Tyler the Creator responds. Albini responds.

Odd Future not knowing who Albini is is a nice counterpoint to MeFi's big thread about not knowing Odd Future.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:25 PM on August 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was in a small green room with the members of Big Black when they were at the same stage in their career as Odd Future whatzit are today, and they were stunningly obnoxious. I wished this exact experience on them, then.
posted by Scram at 3:25 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


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