Steve Albini is known for two things: producing some of your favorite albums of all-time and generally being kind of a jerk. But apparently, the producer makes some effort to even the scales at the end of the year. For the last 20 years, Albini has spent his Christmas morning delivering gifts to needy families throughout Chicago, often with the help of famous friends like Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Portlandia‘s Fred Armisen.
In an essay for the Huffington Post, Albini explained how he started this yearly tradition and why he keeps it going. He says the idea after his wife looked into a stack of letters to Santa and found, in Albini’s words, “people let down by the remnants of a social safety net, without families or abandoned by their families, people suffering sickness, poverty and abuse. People so far out on a limb that they swallowed what pride they had left, took pen in hand and wrote down everything that had failed them.”
Albini and his wife continued the tradition on their own until 2002, when they began putting on a 24-hour improv marathon at Second City to help fund the gift-giving campaign. The famed producer notes that Tweedy has frequently taken part in the marathon and helped with gift delivery alongside his family, and added that Armisen serves a useful role during the delivery as a translator for families that only speak Spanish.
“I haven’t had a conventional Christmas morning in almost 20 years,” Albini says. “I haven’t missed it.”
(via Huffington Post)