In the pantheon of famous internet cats, few stand as tall as Lil Bub. The perma-kitten with saucer-sized eyes and a tongue perpetually flopping from her mouth became a social media star in the 2010s, and she remains a cherished favorite two years after her death in 2019 at age eight.
Now, a new limited-edition coffee table book, Lil Bub: The Earth Years, will celebrate Bub’s legacy and impact. Bub’s owner, Mike Bridavsky, compiled the book, which will boast photos and biographical commentary alongside quotes from Whoopi Goldberg, Jack Black, El-P, Andrew W.K. Thurston Moore, and Kimya Dawson. Jackson Galaxy, the cat behavior and wellness expert and the host of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell, wrote the intro.
Also among the contributors is legendary producer Steve Albini. During her life, Bub became a fixture in the music world — she even released an album in 2015 — largely because Bridavsky was a recording engineer who once worked for Albini at Electrical Audio studios (Albini also featured in an episode of Lil Bub’s webseries, Lil Bub’s Big Show, in 2013). In the book’s foreword, which is excerpted below, Albini writes glowingly about both Bridavsky and Bub, and zeroes in on what he loved most about the feline in poignantly musical terms.
“Of all the remarkable things about Bub, the medical miracles she manifested, the charitable nature she induced in others, the worldwide love and appreciation, the staggering sums she raised for animal welfare, the parties, the TV shows, the fame and adoration of movie stars and celebrities, the literal empire of business… I still think her purr was the best part,” Albini writes. “It was outsize, like a rhythm section, and along with her spectrum of odd little mews and yaps, it formed a kind of language, one she used to craft an alien poetry, all verbs and nouns being synonyms for ‘love.’”
Lil Bub: The Earth Years is available to preorder and will be released on April 23rd (limited to 3,000 copies). The book will also come with a special seven-inch record, Transmissions From Space, featuring two new pieces “composed by Lil Bub herself, from her intergalactic afterlife” (per a release). There will also be a deluxe edition (limited to 500 copies and shipping mid-May), which will be packaged inside a silver-embossed slipcase, come with a seven-inch vinyl picture disc, a commemorative coin, and an additional 80-page book of Bub-inspired artwork titled, Transmissions From Earth: Original Art Inspired by Bub. Thirty percent of the book’s proceeds will benefit Lil Bub’s Big Fund, which helps animals with special needs.
Steve Albini’s Foreword for Lil Bub: The Earth Years
I knew Mike Bridavsky long before there was a BUB. Mike came to work at Electrical Audio, the studio I own in Chicago, as a bright, driven, energetic kid, straight from school and early life, eager to absorb knowledge and lend a hand. Getting to know him was one of the many joys of working at the studio, and it was clear that he would eventually take what he knew, what he learned, and what he could figure out, and make his own way in the studio scene. Everyone here admired his ambition and eagerness. And when he opened his own studio, Russian Recording, we all swelled with pride a little bit.
Aside from his enthusiasm and quick mind, the thing most apparent about Mike was his kindness. He was never too busy to help someone with any of the housekeeping or other drudgery, never apart or aloof, never not the first to lend a hand to the bands, the staff, or our friends. Mike felt like family instantly.
All of which is also very much how it felt getting to know Lil BUB. First from her charming little videos, then meeting her in person, she exuded the same warmth, the same apparent kindness, the same eagerness and energy. BUB’s disarming appearance, her bright, impish eyes and goofy face, her wobbly gait, and tiny size all contributed to a predisposition to love her to bits. How could anyone not? But as charmed as I was knowing BUB from afar, meeting her was still startling.
Her whole demeanor was love. She was curious and playful. She loved interacting with people, loved being held, being rubbed, loved every bit of the attention we loved to lavish on her. Her fur was supernaturally soft and inviting, and her grin and lolling tongue instantly lightened the mood of every room. That love moved people and eventually mountains as she became a bona fide celebrity and traveled the world, every inch accompanied by Mike, her dude, keeping her safe.
Of all the remarkable things about BUB, the medical miracles she manifested, the charitable nature she induced in others, the worldwide love and appreciation, the staggering sums she raised for animal welfare, the parties, the TV shows, the fame and adoration of movie stars and celebrities, the literal empire of business…I still think her purr was the best part. It was outsize, like a rhythm section, and along with her spectrum of odd little mews and yaps, it formed a kind of language, one she used to craft an alien poetry, all verbs and nouns being synonyms for “love.”
I used the word “alien,” and it’s fitting that Mike described BUB as a literal space alien; she was that different from other earth cats. That difference, of course, included congenital fragility, part of the oddity she embodied along with her charm, her unique beauty, and her outsize purr. There was a kind of knowing about it from Mike from the beginning. He didn’t know how long she would be with us, so he did his level best to make sure she was loved and appreciated every minute. In every instance, Mike put BUB’s well-being and comfort ahead of any other concern, and I cannot imagine a better person to have been responsible for the care and guard of a creature so strange, so fragile, and so wonderful.
To love someone and be loved in return, that is the greatest thing. Mike, Lil BUB, and all of us who knew them have enjoyed precisely that greatness. BUB was and remains a truly great cat.
GOOD JOB BUB.
Excerpt of Lil BUB: The Earth Years included with permission. © 2021 Melodic Virtue.
From Rolling Stone US