You’d think this Amanda Palmer-Steve Albini beef would just die a quiet death, wouldn’t you? Not just yet, if either of the two subjects have anything to say about it. (And they do! In fact, it seems they have A LOT to say!) To recap: First, Palmer solicited her fans to perform with her in exchange for beer and hugs. Then, Albini called her an “idiot” for making such a request. Then Albini apologized to Palmer for the way in which “the Internet” twisted his words, making it sound like he called Palmer an idiot. (In defense of the Internet, he did call her an idiot. Twice.) Then Palmer published a nearly 3,000-word letter in which she attempted to justify her request. Now, Palmer has addressed Albini directly — both his initial dig and its follow-up — and Albini has doubled down (heck yes that’s a deliberate poker reference!) on both fronts.
In an interview with Australian website Moshcam, Palmer said, “I adore Steve Albini and I’m a huge fan of his work, and I know he is a grumpy fuck.”
Palmer also said that Albini’s “apology wasn’t exactly an apology … I think his apology amounted to, ‘Amanda Palmer isn’t an idiot, she’s just a dick.’ I don’t need to accept his apology and I don’t need to accept his insult. I just need to accept his Steve Albini-ness.”
Albini, meanwhile, did an interview with UK blog the Stool Pigeon, where he further expanded on his non-apology. Said the Engineer:
On the part of the fans, I totally understand and sympathize with this impulse [to want to play with an object of their fandom regardless of compensation]. That’s starkly different from a millionaire asking people to do things for free, under the guise that she is giving them something by indulging them. It’s cheapness repainted as generosity and it’s gross. Using people in this way, exploiting their good nature for one’s own benefit, is a cancer that taints many enterprises and it always reflects poorly on the exploiter. It’s one of the things I hated most about the old-school record business, the practice of fucking with people who loved music so much they would put up with endless greed and abuse just to be a part of it. A new music business paradigm, if it is worth anything, should strive to be free of exploitation and be honest about its motives … Nobody’s an idiot, some ways of conducting business are just uglier and more exploitative than others.
So, not an idiot, but: cancer, exploiter, gross. That’s some serious Steve Albini-ness for ya.