Monday, May 10, 2010

Rick Rubin: In The Studio

If I can comeback to this life as anyone it would probably be none other than legendary music producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin. Ok, maybe not physically, but definitely mentally! See, lately I've been reading his book 'In The Studio' and it's quite amazing to see what this man has achieved in his lifetime without even having a single idea what it is to work a studio mixing board. His only job as a producer, in his own words, is to "find out whats good about [a band] and help bring it out". His production discography is a who's who in the music industry and after being honored seven Grammy's, his talents are very much sought after to this day. This book chronicles his meteoric rise, from his early days as DJ Double R in the early 80's, founding and running Def Jam Records alongside Russell Simmons from an NYU dorm room, discovering and producing the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J, to his transition in the early 90's into a successful independent record executive, signing and producing the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, System Of A Down, Tom Petty, Neil Diamond, Slayer, Weezer, Danzig, among others, to his role as the most influential producer of all time (currently as the co-head of Columbia Records), and his continued successes with rock/metal supergroups Audioslave, Linkin Park, Slipknot and most recently Metallica.

When Rick was with Def Jam, he was the only (and first) white person associated with hip-hop, which was quite unusual for that time. But after releasing rap music's first number one album "Licensed to Ill" by the Beastie Boys, his work started to gain credibility and respect from all circles and angles. Rick also started his own label Def American, later known as American Recordings, to cover other genres he was experimenting with. Most of the original, real hip-hop & rap music died back in the late 80's to early 90's and Rick wanted to work with rock & heavy metal acts but Russell did not want to release that type of sound and was striving to keep Def Jam strictly hip-hop. Rick was really interested in other forms of music and formed Def American to release artists such as Danzig, Slayer, System Of A Down, The Jesus & Mary Chain and various others, with much success. With all these accomplishments it makes you wonder how one single person can make so many moves.

Whats interesting is the way Rick goes about working with his artists. If he doesn't have a feel for potential in the music firsthand, he will look the other way. He also likes to connect with his clients on a real personal level, "I have to really like them as people first and foremost". However, once he agrees to record an album with a band or artist his accommodations are unlike any other. Rick has various recording studios throughout Los Angeles which he lets his clients take over for the duration of the recording to make it more suitable and comforting for them. And by recording studios I mean huge estates such as the famous "Mansion" which is supposedly haunted and was where classic albums such as Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" and Linkin Park's "Minutes to Midnight" were produced. His projects are definitely unique in every aspect, from start to finish.

We should all know by now that when ever you see the seal of approval that is "Produced By: Rick Rubin" to never, ever pass it up. If your a true music fan you will definitely find this book a good read. I'm sure you can find a good copy on eBay, if not get it here. Check out some shots below, starting with the infamous Mansion.