Steady Diet of Nothing

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Steady Diet of Nothing
Fugazi - Steady Diet of Nothing cover.jpg
Studio album by Fugazi
Released July 1991
Recorded January–February 1991 at Inner Ear Studios, Arlington, Virginia
Genre Post-hardcore, alternative rock, experimental rock
Length 36:20
Label Dischord
Producer Fugazi
Fugazi chronology
Repeater
(1990)
Steady Diet of Nothing
(1991)
In on the Kill Taker
(1993)

Steady Diet of Nothing is the second full-length studio album by American post-hardcore band Fugazi, released in July, 1991. The title is an allusion to a quote by the late American stand-up comedian Bill Hicks.[1]

Although well received and popular at the time of its release, Steady Diet is often overlooked by many music journalists when writing about Fugazi's career, but remains a favorite among fans of the band.[2][3]

Recording[edit]

Steady Diet of Nothing was recorded during January and February 1991 at Inner Ear Studios and is notable for being the group's first self-produced release. As a result of not having an outside producer besides engineer Don Zientara, the album's recording and mixing sessions were tough on the band. Guy Picciotto said of making the record, "[it] was a tough record for us to make. It was our first attempt at producing and mixing by ourselves, and we didn’t feel like we had a really good handle, technically, on what we wanted to do. And we were also pretty fried from a shitload of back-to-back touring. I appreciate Steady Diet for a lot of things, but there was a flatness to both the performances and the sound that was weird to us." Singer/guitarist Ian MacKaye explained, "It was like we were walking on eggshells, trying not to offend each other. No one would say, "Turn your guitar down," or, "Turn the drums down." So we ended up getting a democratic mix, and a lot of times democratic mixes equal bad mixes. And I feel Steady Diet is a classic example of us being very conservative, although a lot of people think it's our best record."[3]

Music & lyrics[edit]

The lyrical content of Steady Diet is more overtly political than any other record Fugazi has released. This is most evident on "Dear Justice Letter" which was inspired by Supreme Court liberal stalwart William J. Brennan, who had recently retired. While obviously emotional, the language of the "letter" is more than a little obscure. Brennan's politics and defense of individual rights were largely quite in tune with Fugazi's so "Dear...", on one level, can be read as a rant against abandonment of duty to the liberal block of the Supreme Court. "Here comes the kiss off.."

The band addressed the subject of personal freedom on "Reclamation" and Ian also dedicated "KYEO" to Rodney King during the 'Steady Diet' tour.[4]

Musically the album is far more sparse than the band's other works, with the conservative, dry production serving to highlight the rhythm section of bassist Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty. "Long Division" and its melodic inter-weaving bass and guitar lines was the band's first foray into pop melodies, while "Latin Roots" recalled the band's earlier dub-influenced stylings, with Canty laying down a Stewart Copeland-influenced drum beat.[2]

Release[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[6]
Robert Christgau (neither)[7]
Spin 9/10 stars[8]
MusicHound 3/5 stars[8]
Martin C. Strong 7/10[8]
Stylus (very favorable)[9]

Six months before the release, Dischord had pre-orders of over 160,000 for the album [10]

LostAtSea and Nude as the News ranked it the 84th and 18th greatest album of the nineties respectively.[8]

Track listing[edit]

(Lead vocals in parentheses)

  1. "Exit Only" – 3:11 (Picciotto)
  2. "Reclamation" – 3:21 (MacKaye)
  3. "Nice New Outfit" – 3:26 (Picciotto)
  4. "Stacks" – 3:08 (MacKaye)
  5. "Latin Roots" – 3:13 (Picciotto)
  6. "Steady Diet" – 3:42
  7. "Long Division" – 2:12 (MacKaye)
  8. "Runaway Return" – 3:58 (Picciotto)
  9. "Polish" – 3:38 (MacKaye)
  10. "Dear Justice Letter" – 3:27 (Picciotto)
  11. "KYEO" – 2:58 (MacKaye)

Personnel[edit]

Technical personnel[edit]

  • Don Zientara - Engineer
  • Lucy Capehart - Photography
  • Adam Cohen - Photography
  • John Falls - Photography

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashvillecream/archives/2011/08/31/twenty-other-great-albums-that-arent-nevermind-20-years-later-part-i
  2. ^ a b Lee, Cosmo. "Stylus Magazine: Fugazi - Steady Diet of Nothing". On Second Thought Fugazi - Steady Diet of Nothing. Retrieved May 5, 2011.  line feed character in |work= at position 18 (help)
  3. ^ a b ^ a b c d Perlah, Jeff. "The Independent". Guitar World. March 2002.
  4. ^ *Andersen, Mark; Mark Jenkins (2001). Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital. New York: Akashic Books. ISBN 1-888451-44-0.  p. 304, 305
  5. ^ Kellman, Andy. "allmusic ((( Steady Diet of Nothing > Review )))". Allmusic. Retrieved March 17, 2010. 
  6. ^ Brackett, Nathan. "Fugazi". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. November 2004. pg. 315, cited March 17, 2010
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Fugazi". robertchristgau.com, Retrieved on March 17, 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ *Andersen, Mark; Mark Jenkins (2001). Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital. New York: Akashic Books. ISBN 1-888451-44-0.  p. 304