Let's get one thing straight: If you think Steve Albini is your average rock 'n' roll heartthrob, you couldn't be more wrong. While Albini could easily coast on his dark, brooding good looks and charisma, he instead chooses to downplay his raw sexuality and focus strictly on his work. Not only is this former Northwestern co-ed an accomplished musician, but he's also a sought-after producer, engineer, and musician, having played in Big Black, Shellac, and Rapeman and turned the knobs for such acts as Bush, Nirvana, and Page/Plant. But take one look into Albini's penetrating brown eyes and you won't care if he's mopping floors at the local 7/11: This guy is a hunk and a half! But there's more to this Chicago-based cutie than raw sexuality and dashing good looks, as The Onion A.V. Club For Men learned after talking to the famed man of leisure about what exactly happens after the doors are locked and the lights go out. For the sake of authenticity, the questions that follow were drawn from interviews in actual men's magazines such as Bikini, Maxim, and FHM. The questions are real. The answers are real. And the whole thing has been edited for maximum sauciness. Enjoy!
The Onion: You've probably been asked this many times, but how strong is your sex drive?
Steve Albini: I would have to say average.
SA: Yeah, with periods of below average. When I was younger, there were periods of rabid enthusiasm.
O: Would you describe yourself as being wild?
SA: Uh, no. I think that, in just about every regard, I'm normal to dull.
O: What do you do when you're feeling very naughty?
SA: God, I don't know. I can't remember the last time I felt really naughty. I'm going to say jack off. That's about it. I'm trying to picture what a very naughty… Yeah. I mean, bear in mind that most of my life is spent in the confines of one building where I live and work. I suppose I cause mischief.
O: What sort of mischief?
SA: When I was a lot younger, I would occasionally make prank phone calls to celebrities.
O: What's the most outrageous thing you've ever done?
SA: I don't know. Damn, I feel like I'm not rising to the occasion here, because on the whole, my life has been fairly dull.
O: Feel free to be as kittenish or coquettish as you want to be. We'd ideally like to give people a look inside the boudoir of Steve Albini.
SA: What's the most outrageous thing I've ever done? Let's just say I don't think I've done it yet. The most outrageous thing is yet to come.
O: What's the best way to ask you out?
SA: I'm trying to think if a woman has ever successfully asked me out.
O: I'm guessing talking to you. That would probably be a good start.
SA: Yeah. Making an introduction, saying hello. That's probably about it. That's all it would take, usually.
O: When was the last time you went skinny-dipping?
SA: I don't think I've been skinny-dipping as an adult.
O: You can reach back into your teenage years.
SA: I'm going to say I was a teenager. I'm going to say I was high. And I'm going to say it was in a group situation, but I can't be any more specific than that. I honestly… I remember having skinny-dipped occasionally, but I don't remember having done it in recent memory.
O: What are you like when you're drunk?
SA: I've been told I get surly. There's a particular emphatic gesture that people make where they get a little too close to somebody and tap the subject of the inquisition on the sternum with an index finger. I've been told I do that. This is all news to me, 'cause I wasn't actually there at the time, but I've been told that I also make ribald propositions to women. Is ribald the appropriate adjective?
O: Yes, we like the word ribald.
SA: I've been told that I proposition when drunk: most recently my girlfriend, though it seems odd that I would proposition her. But I don't drink much. I think I've had a total of two or three evenings in the last 20 years where I've been what you would call drunk. I stopped drinking almost immediately after I had ready access to liquor, when I got to college. It almost immediately lost its appeal for me. I didn't really enjoy the ride, as they say on the Greyhound commercials. I just wanted to get lit up and get the fireworks underway.
O: And engage in some bawdy shenanigans?
SA: I honestly don't recall most of the things that happened when I was drunk as a teenager, but I'm told that I used to offend even my very close friends. I realized after a while that I didn't like feeling drunk. I didn't like the taste of alcohol. There was just no point in it. There are people who have a moral problem with drinking or a control problem, or they feel like it displays some weakness to drink. I'm not like that at all. I actually encourage my friends to drink. I enjoy being in the company of people who are drinking because they're much more carefree with their attitudes. They let their guard down, and they're more fun to be around most of the time. I like to go out drinking with my friends. I just don't like to drink.
O: What should a woman do to get your attention?
SA: I've sort of sublimated my animalistic sex drive, but I've been in love with the same woman for eight years now. My eye doesn't rove as much as I suppose it might on a purely biological level. I've trained myself away from that. But, you know, you can't help noticing an amazing ass. Pretty naked ladies will always get my attention. Revealingly dressed good-looking women will always get my attention, at least for a moment.
O: Is there a part of your anatomy you'd like to change?
SA: Let me think… I don't pay too much attention to it. I wouldn't mind being taller. That would be cool.
O: How tall are you?
SA: If I stand up absolutely straight, I'm six feet tall. But I don't think I've ever stood up absolutely straight in my life.
O: You're a very sexy six feet tall, though, right?
SA: Oh, my God. You're starting to lay a little creep on me. I wouldn't mind being taller, because when I'm in the company of people who are absurdly tall, there's something about them that I can't help admiring. When people are absurdly tall, they command everyone's attention when they walk into a room. Nobody's ever dismissive of somebody for being too tall.
O: What part of your anatomy gives you the most trouble?
SA: I've got a slightly deformed right leg. I was in a car accident when I was 18, so my right leg was rebuilt. There's a big piece of steel in there, and my right foot sticks off to the side slightly. Occasionally, when the weather changes, it hurts like old people. But I'm going to say my back, because I sort of hunch awkwardly. I never stand up straight, and occasionally I do find myself having to stand up straight or pick something up, and I get this sort of exploding sound coming from my back, which seems worse than normal back-cracking sounds. Although it hasn't crippled me yet, I have this intuition that it will someday cripple me.
O: Steve, I'm going to be honest with you: That was not the most titillating answer.
SA: Am I supposed to be titillating? If what you're wondering about is my cock and balls, I have absolutely no trouble with my cock and balls. I'm fine with them.
O: There we go. What's the worst pick-up line a woman's ever used on you?
SA: When I was susceptible to pick-up lines, none of them were bad. Pretty much anything… For guys, all women have to do is turn the lights on and kick the door open, and we're there.
O: What's the wildest thing that's ever happened to you recently with a woman?
SA: [Pauses.] I stuck my cock in her? Would that be saucy enough for you?
O: What's your favorite body part on a woman?
SA: Um, there's a tendon that goes between the thigh and the beaver on a young lady. That particular area has always been of great appeal to me.
O: Is seduction important to you?
SA: No, not at all. It doesn't mean a thing. The whole, "Here, I got you this because I was thinking about you, blah, blah, blah," that sort of stuff… I think guys, as a rule, are fundamentally bad at that. Whenever we are accidentally good at it, it's only because we're mimicking something that somebody told us we should try. I have a friend, John, who is renowned for being a fantastic romancer, and he's trained himself to think along those lines and anticipate what would be a good move for a guy in a romantic fashion. I can't help but think that at least part of it is an intellectual exercise on his part, like, "I wonder if I can out-think this whole half of the species." Me, I'm bad at it. I've made a few attempts, and occasionally I just end up insulting somebody.
O: What turns you on?
SA: Um, I'm going to say pretty naked ladies. And I don't think I'm speaking for myself alone here. I think good-looking naked ladies turn on the majority of men.
O: Are you into sex toys?
SA: No. The other way around.
O: Describe your ideal woman.
SA: She's smarter than me and pushier than me, but not in a selfish manner. That's sort of what it boils down to. That's pretty much it. I like 'em smart and pushy.
O: How important is kissing?
SA: I don't know. It's about average important. How's that?
O: Are you a member of the Mile High Club?
SA: Does jacking off or being jacked off count?
SA: Then, hell, yeah. I'm a frequent flier.
O: How do you feel about women pleasuring themselves while gazing at your image?
SA: God, if that has ever happened, I feel like a million bucks is how I feel.
O: I anticipate that happening a lot after this story runs.
SA: God. I cannot imagine the circumstances where that would ever come about. But if anyone ever, anywhere in the world, has ever done that, my hat is off to you, woman.