Here Comes The Kiss Off: Steady Diet Of Nothing Turns 30

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Fugazi – Steady Diet Of Nothing

Released July 1st, 1991 on Dischord Records

Produced by Fugazi

Steady Diet Of Nothing occupies a difficult bridge in Fugazi’s narrative. On the left is their early stuff, 13 Songs and Repeater – albums that changed the landscape of underground music and made them and the D.C. scene known around the world. On the right is In On The Kill Taker through to 2001’s closing opus The Argument, an amazingly fertile and creative period that culminates in one of the most important post-punk records ever made. Their second album stands in the middle, a neither/nor sort of record. At the time it was highly anticipated; Dischord sold 160,000 pre-sales of the record in the run-up to its release. It is neither as bracing and immediate as their early work or as varied and textured as their later work. It was the band’s first attempt at producing themselves, and the recording sessions came about after a lengthy tour that left them drained and unwilling to confront each other about each other’s positions in the mix. With that in mind, though, the songs come out sounding good, especially for the time and the budget. It is a fan favourite, at any rate. The band doesn’t think much of it and critics tend to downplay its place in Fugazi history, but the crowd loves it. It also predates Nevermind by two months, and the audience for alt-rock generated in the wave of that atom bomb all but guaranteed that Fugazi would start charting. They did, starting with their next album, but attributing the band’s later success to the rising tide of grunge does Steady Diet Of Nothing a disservice. People were clearly listening, and finding something compelling to listen to.

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