Producer Steve Albini is a rare bird. At the height of Nirvana's popularity, Albini helmed the production of the band's third LP, In Utero, which at the time was easily the most anticipated album of the early nineties. One would think this one project alone would have kept Albini — or anyone, really — set for life. But strangely enough, that's not how Albini rolls.
In 2014, in the debut episode of Dave Grohl's Sonic Highways — Albini revealed that he charges a flat fee for his production services — instead of taking a few percentage points of the sales. Principled as this may be, it meant that for In Utero — still the highest-profiled album that Albini has ever worked on — the producer bagged a meager $10,000 for his services. Albini went on to explain that he subsidizes his studio and most of his living expenses not through production, but by playing poker.
This weekend, it seems that Albini hit the jackpot, bringing home nearly $200,000 at the World Series of Poker. After his triumph, he told event organizers, "Everything in my life comes in pieces, in parts. Poker is one part of my life. So when I'm playing poker, I try to commit to it. I try to take it seriously. I try to make sure I devote the attention to it that it deserves as an occupation. But it's only part of my year. I only play tournaments at the World Series of Poker. I play cash games informally in Chicago. It's a part of my livelihood, but it's not my profession." [via Louder]
As for music, Albini remains active as a producer, working recently with My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero for a series of solo albums. About Albini, Iero told The Aquarian Weekly in 2019, "He forces you to become the producer. Both the burden and the eventual confidence falls upon you. It’s the idea that no one knows your music better than you. There is the inevitable question in the studio, and you look over to another person, who looks to another person, who looks to Steve. And he will give you nothing. He will say, 'I don’t know. What do you think?' It can be frustrating, but it is what you need. I needed someone at the helm who was a genius and was able to capture whatever I threw out there."