Steve Albini

A member of the '80s cult band Big Black and later one of the most visible producers in the alternative rock underground, Steve Albini came to reflect better than anyone else the defining values of college rock -- a fierce sense of independence and complete refusal to be affected by major labels or album sales. As a young man, Albini wrote for fanzines between listening to Cheap Trick and funk bands like the Ohio Players. In 1982, he formed the first edition of Big Black -- himself -- to record an EP, Lungs. Gaining members as the group went on, Albini and Big Black became one of the hottest underground bands in the U.S., with industrial-strength art funk in the mold of Public Image Limited and Gang of Four, married to a rather bleak -- though by no means humorless -- dystopia of American culture.