When you hear the name Rick Rubin, you instantly think about greatness and something similar to a music god if there is such a thing. You see, Frederick Jay "Rick" Rubin if you don't know is an American record producer and in his past was also the co-president of Columbia Records, so he knows a thing or two about music, artists and most importantly how to work with these musicians and bands with large egos, and still make it work all the way to the top of the charts.
His first introduction to the world of music was when he was a student at Long Beach High School, as he befriended Steve Freeman who at that time was the audiovisual department director of the school. Freeman gave Rubin a few guitar lessons and helped him form a punk band by the name "The Pricks".
There was not much success there; with the biggest claim to fame was when they got thrown off the stage at CBGB after playing only 2 songs. The reason for this was because of a brawl that started with the heckling audience. The interesting fact you probably didn't know about this incident and here you can start to see Rubin's creative mind at work, was that these hecklers were actually friends of the band and they were instructed to instigate a confrontation in order to get the show canceled, all this to create a buzz and let people talk about the band.
Rubin wasn't very popular among other musicians at school because he lacked the musical ability (other than the few chords he knew to play with the guitar), but that wouldn't stop him from making it big later on in the world of music, especially as a producer.
An Accomplished Record Producer and Music's Biggest Fan
The reason Rubin was so successful and still is goes to the fact that he worked with passion and great love to all this projects. He was not only a professional but he loved what he was doing and always pushed the musicians to higher limits in their music and creations.
Rubin was led by the principals of common sense, guiding the bands and musicians to be the best they can be but also to keep it about the music. If the album later on gets commercial success, in his view that's a bonus, but not the main goal, and that is why everyone wanted to work with him because they knew the albums will not only succeed, but become masterpieces.
Rick Rubin does not read music, he does not operate any recording console and he spends more time with the artist pre-production than in the recording studio. He has a specific approach to each and every individual and does not work according to a built template, and that is why he was able to work and succeed with artists and bands from all music genres, from Sheryl Crowe to Tom Petty and all the way to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica (compare ticket prices to Metallica concerts), Black Sabbath and even LL Cool J and many more.
Rick Rubin was so accomplished and respected in the music world, that even Metallica decided to part ways with Bob Rock, their long-time producer and that after working together for 15 years, in order to make something else, take a new way with their material. In 2006, Metallica announced in their website that they start to work on a new album (which will become Death Magnetic) with a new producer and I quote: "...this up and coming producer guy named Rick something-or other...", and of-course Rubin helped Metallica produce another successful album which took a new direction with the band.
Rubin is not interested in making an album just so it will have some radio hits, he drives the musicians to write music because they are firstly writers and for the love they have for music. You can't argue with him because it appears his mind-set and the direction he gives to the artists the works with yields great success, and Rubin's success is marked in almost all music genres; this includes rock, pop, soul, hip-hop, country and metal. Rubin knows all music and he takes the music to higher levels.
The Personal Records Just Keep On Coming
Rubin was nominated many times and also won 7 Grammy Awards including Producer of the Year several times for his work with bands and musicians like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Justin Timberlake, Tom Petty, the Dixie Chicks, Neil Diamond, Metallica, and even the late Johnny Cash.
Rick Rubin's Grammy Awards
Album of the Year - "Taking the Long Way" by the Dixie Chicks in 2007
Producer of the Year – in 2007
Record of the Year - "Not Ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks in 2007
Best Rock Album – "Stadium Arcadium" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2007
Best Country Album – "Unchained" by Johnny Cash in 1998
Country Music Associated Award for Album of the Year – in 2003
Country Music Associated Award for Single of the Year – in 2003
It's All About the Artist
When you listen to albums of other record producers, you can spot that specific sound and touch of the producer, a signature of his work, but that is not the case when it comes to Rick Rubin.
Rubin says it's all about the artist. He is there to make the artist put the best of himself in this album, think about the music, about the sound, about the message in the album and he tries to do it without leaving his own mark on the album and that what makes Rubin one of the best and greatest record producers of all-time, that is what allowed him to work and succeed in all music genres we described earlier, because there is no "Rubin sound", there is only the artist and Rubin is behind the curtain, somewhere in the back, not in the spotlights and doing the blessed job of producing a masterpiece.
"I always assumed I'd have a regular job, and music would be my hobby." (Rick Rubin)
I guess the biggest part of Rubin's success was music being his hobby, his true love, and when he dedicated himself to that hobby, it became a successful job for him as well, only he didn't treat it that way and continued to see it as a hobby he loved and enjoyed so much.
The First Production That Started It All
Rubin produced his first single while still in New York University. It was called "It's Yours" by T-La Rock and Jazzy Jay and even then he acted more as a fan than a professional producer.
In 1985 he made his second production which was called "I Need a Beat" by 16-year old rapper then LL Cool J. It turned out of be a big hit and in this great success, cut for $700 it sold over 100,000 copies.
This success also sparked more work for Rubin as he began working with the Beastie Boys, producing their first rap single called "Rock Hard." Later on he was producing albums for Run D.M.C. and other big names in the music world.
The List Goes on and on
Here is just a small list of the Rubin's works and productions over the years:
1980s - 28 productions among them:
"I Need a Beat" – LL Cool J (1984)
Rock Hard – Beastie Boys (1985)
Raising Hell - Run D.M.C. (1986)
Reign in Blood – Slayer (1986)
Masters of Reality – Masters of Reality (1988)
1990s - 67 productions among them:
Blood Sugar Sex Magik – Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991)
Greatest Hits – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1993)
American Recordings – Johnny Cash (1994)
Further Down the Spiral – Nine Inch Nails (1995)
Ballbreaker – AC/DC (1995)
Demo Tape 3 – System of a Down (1997)
2000s – 77 productions among them:
Renegades – Rage Against the Machine (2000)
Living in the Present Future – Eagle-Eye Cherry (2000)
O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits – Aerosmith (2002) (Compare ticket prices to Aerosmith concerts)
Results May Vary – Limp Bizkit (2003)
Make Believe – Weezer (2005)
12 Songs – Neil Diamond (2005)
FutureSex/LoveSounds – Justin Timberlake (2006)
U218 Singles – U2 (2006)
Minute to Midnight – Linkin Park (2007)
Death Magnetic – Metallica (2008)
I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers (2009)
2010s – 25 productions so far among them:
Illuminations – Josh Groban (2010)
Born Free – Kid Rock (2010)
21 – Adele (2011)
La Futura – ZZ Top (2012)
Paradise – Lana Del Rey (2012)
13 – Black Sabbath (2013)
The Marshall Mathers LP 2 – Eminem (2013)
Artpop – Lady Gaga (2013) (Compare ticket prices to Lady Gaga concerts)
X – Ed Sheeran (2014)
That Girl – Jennifer Nettles (2014)
Rick Rubin will continue to produce great albums and masterpiece music, as we are blessed to have him in the music industry, enjoy his special work and remember that things that are made from love are bound to succeed and stay forever. So, if you're thinking about starting a band or want to be successful and have a successful album or two – Work with Rick Rubin, or at least try to get a hold of him because it looks like he's pretty busy, probably producing yet another album as we speak...
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