5 Fun Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Steve Albini

Chicago legend Steve Albini has been in the news again lately — essentially because he decided to take a swing at podcast mogul Joe Rogan and the crass media platform Barstool Sports. Quoted in a Consequence of Sound piece, Albini referred to Rogan, Barstool, and “anti-woke comics” as “trash garbage” and stated that he wanted them all to fail. “Into the chipper with all of it,” he said.

This was just the latest in a career’s worth of reminders that Steve Albini doesn’t pull his punches. And for us, it was a nice push to look once more at the fascinating life this one-of-a-kind producer has led. In doing so, we wound up coming up with a number of fun facts a lot of music fans may not know about Steve Albini.

1 – He’s Remained Pretty Active

Okay, you might know this if you’re tapped into the music scene. But if not, chances are you primarily associate Albini with the likes of Nirvana, Cheap Trick, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. These remain some of the biggest names Albini has crossed paths with, but the last few years have shown him to be pretty active on the local rock and punk scenes.

We covered area rockers The Safes and their Albini-engineered release back in 2018. And a year before that, Chicago group (and Lucky Boys Confusion offshoot) AM Taxi excitedly hyped some Albini collaborations as well. So in case you think of him as a producer of the past, you may want to keep your ears open for more modern work!

2 – He Makes His Own Weird Coffee

In addition to helping to craft wonderful music, Steve Albini makes himself a bizarre coffee drink so unique it got a whole write-up at 14 East. It’s described as “a tall glass of a coffee-like beverage with a noticeably massive portion of foam resting on top,” and it’s called a “fluffy coffee” according to Albini himself.

Albini claims he and his fellow engineers invented the drink, which is a double shot of espresso with “lots of steamed milk and maple syrup.” There is also cinnamon that is somehow pre-mixed into the espresso, resulting in what sounds like it’s actually an original coffee drink. Frankly it sounds delicious, and we envy Steve the three a day he supposedly drinks (though that sounds like quite the caffeine hit).

3 – He Won a World Series of Poker Event — With a Pair

Steve Albini is by no means the only major figure in music to be involved in competitive poker. But there aren’t many who can match his 2018 triumph at the World Series of Poker. There, Albini entered a $1,500 Seven Card Stud event, and wound up defeating more than 300 players to take a six-figure prize. Best of all is that he sealed the deal with nothing more than a pair — a hand that occurs almost 50% of the time according to Poker.org. Granted it was a relatively high pair (10s), and Albini had all but wrapped up the game. But it’s always fun to see a major prize won with a weak hand, as opposed to simply a lucky draw of great cards.

4 – Albini’s Wife is an Active Film Producer

While Albini still spends his time making music, his wife — Heather Whinna — is a filmmaker. Whinna has made a career both producing and directing films, and produced a short dark comedy titled Brought To You By Satan just last year. It may not be quite as high-profile as some of Albini’s work, but it’s interesting to know that they are both professional creators.

5 – He Eats From His Own Garden

Albini may not be able to grow anything quite as interesting as his “fluffy coffee,” but it’s still worth noting that he apparently does grow and eat food from his own garden. An entire article at Grub Street about the engineer’s “freaky” carrots revealed that he actually tends to quite a bit of food, and uses it to cook up his own meals at home. Needless to say, Albini can probably afford to eat out or buy fresh produce whenever he likes, so we take this as further evidence that the guy just enjoys making stuff.

He’s an interesting figure to be sure, and one we suspect is far from finished making an impact on the Chicago music scene.

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