Rick Rubin’s Bland-Item Guessing Game

Feb 12th, 2007 // 6 Comments

rubinbeach.jpgYesterday’s Los Angeles Times profile of Rick Rubin covered a lot of bearded-one basics–he meditates, he hangs out near the shore, he meditates–while throwing out this semi-tantalizing tidbit:

Asked about disappointments in the studio, he mentions a veteran British superstar whose band continues to fill stadiums around the world. Rubin knew the Englishman was used to calling the shots, and he only agreed to produce the solo album after being assured that the artist would keep writing until he and Rubin agreed they had enough good songs for an album.

Early in the process, however, the singer played a song for Rubin and waited for a reaction. Rubin said he liked it, but thought the rocker could do better. “Well, his face fell,” Rubin recalls. “It was probably the first time someone criticized his work in 30 years. I could tell at that point it was going to be an ego-driven project, not a music-driven project.”

You can eliminate Ray Stevens from the list of suspects, since he grew up in Georgia. A thorough glance-over at Rubin’s discography, however, indicates that a certain wandering spirit was the one getting all frowny–though we’re pretty sure that particular suspect’s face hasn’t actually changed expressions since 1972.

A balance of rattle and om [LATimes.com]

  1. Keith Phipps

    He was a little more candid in our interview with him (http://www.avclub.com/content/node/23353):

    AV Club: You also worked with Mick Jagger. What was that process like?

    RR: It was probably one of the more difficult works, because I think he very much wanted to make a Mick Jagger solo record that was not like the Stones. And I think there’s just a Stonesiness around him that comes naturally. If he writes a song that sounds like it could sound like a Stones song, it wouldn’t feel good to change it just for the sake of changing it. I would say it was a little bit of a tug-of-war, that album. But it came out, in my opinion, 70 percent or 75 percent as good as it could have been, which I think is really good. When I listen to it now, I’m really proud of it. I remember there were a lot of disagreements on that one, and there aren’t usually.

  2. Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue

    Are you sure it wasn’t Ringo?

  3. Ned Raggett

    Rubin is finally transmogrifying into literal cult leader Father Yod:

  4. Chris Molanphy

    That was the most neon-bright “blind item” I’ve ever seen. Before I got to the bottom of your post I had it figured out. I’ll bet my mom could’ve guessed.

    To give Rick props, Wandering Spirit is not only, easily, Jagger’s best solo album, it’s possibly the best Stones-related album since, what? Keef’s Talk Is Cheap? It’s way better than DooDoo Lounge or Ditches to Babylon or whatever.

  5. 30f

    Later on in the article, even Hillburn outs Mick as the un-criticized Brit.

    RUBIN has produced more than 80 albums, from Mick Jagger (oops!) to Neil Diamond, generating some 150 million units sold.


  6. Pop Cesspool

    I’d rather hear Rubin riff on Lil Jon:

    “Throughout my time in hip-hop, there were people who understood hip-hop and people who didn’t,” Rubin says. “And the people who didn’t, hated it and thought the worst of it. And what those people thought hip-hop was? That’s this album.” He means this as a compliment. “It’s taking it to such an unmusical extreme that it’s fantastic.”

    The next song plays, and again, there is no chorus, no melody, no rapping even. It’s just hollering beef over a thick, harrowing groove. “Man, fuck that shit, nigga, fuck that shit/Man, fuck that shit, nigga, fuck that shit …” “See?” Rubin says as the line keeps repeating. “It’s like a mantra.”

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