Big Black - Songs About Fucking

Big Black were born in 1982 in Evanston, Illinois. Formed by Northwestern University Sophomore student, Steve Albini, their mission was to take punk/hardcore further than it had ever been taken before. Debut ep, "Lungs", featured Albini alone with just a gtr & a drum machine for company. Adding Santiago Durango on gtr & Jeff Pezzati on bass, the band issued two further ep's - "Bulldozer" (1983) & "Racer X" (1985) - before dropping the bomb, in the shape of single "Il Duce", in 1986.

David Riley (aka - Lovering, ex- Savage Reliefs & later of Pixies) replaced Pezzati in the same year & the band issued their influential debut lp, "Atomizer", a solid gone genre busting hardcore classic. Big Black had the last word in vignettes of US small town alienation & despair. The personal nature of their politics would set the tone for grunge & echo the commitment & passion of the UK 76 first wavers.

Replacing a university bound Durango with Mervin Belli, the band set about making their definitive statement knowing in their heart of hearts that it would be pretty much the last thing they had to say. "Songs About Fucking" was duly about as far as Big Black were going to take it. Their last UK show was recorded for posterity as the "Pigpile" lp.

After 5 years, at the apex of their rising star, Big Black knocked it on the head. Never represented by management of any form & the last to take sound advice from anyone connected to the industry, Big Black cut their own furrow & left a legacy of near perfection; power, cynicism & a sense of humour blacker than their name.

At their last gig in Seattle in 1987 Big Black smashed up all their stuff, they couldn't have chosen a more fitting finale. Steve Albini caused further outrage with the appallingly named Rapeman, before making his name as a producer of choice for the likes of Pixies, Nirvana & PJ Harvey. He still makes excellent records today under the monicker, Shellac, whose superb "1000 Hrts" was one of the best albums of 2000.

Nick Kuntz


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