Rick Rubin and the Columbia Records TurnAround

Rick RubinCheck out this great article on Rick Rubin in the NY Times.  Rick is simply an amazing producer with an incredibly gifted pair of ears on his head.  Think artists such as L.L Cool J, Red Hot Chile Peppers, Johnny Cash's later stuff, Neil Diamond...the list goes on and on.

Man, what I wouldn't give to spend 10 minutes with Rick to just listen to some music with him and hear what he hears.  Better yet, how cool would it be to play a song I (or you) wrote......and have him tell you exactly what sucks and what doesn't, and how to turn it into a timeless masterpiece.  Pretty awesome.

A few words:

"Everything I do," Rubin told me earlier, "whether it's producing, or signing an artist, always starts with the songs. When I'm listening, I'm looking for a balance that you could see in anything. Whether it's a great painting or a building or a sunset. There's just a natural human element to a great song that feels immediately satisfying. I like the song to create a mood."

The article also goes into the generally ailing music industry, discussing how music sales have surpassed music art at most labels, and what Rick is doing at Columbia to change all that.  Good stuff.  (Thanks Taylor)

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A little long, but that's a great read. I've always thought Rick Rubin would be an interesting guy to work with, and I tend to like a lot of his stuff, even when I thought I wouldn't (see: that single the Dixie Chicks had last year). He got to work with one of my music idols, Joe Strummer, toward the end of Joe's life, and gets production credits on a great cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" on Strummer's last album with his last band, the Mescaleros.

One of my huge favorite Rubin projects is "Hurt" by Johnny Cash. That track is simply awesome.

This is a quote from Trent Reznor, who wrote "Hurt":

"We were in the studio, getting ready to work -- and I popped it in," Reznor says. "By the end I was really on the verge of tears. I'm working with Zach de la Rocha, and I told him to take a look. At the end of it, there was just dead silence. There was, like, this moist clearing of our throats and then, 'Uh, OK, let's get some coffee.''

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