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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

THE KING OF POP

Now that the former King has been exiled, it's time to recognize the true King Of Pop - Rick Rubin. I was reading in Billboard about Rick's latest project - bringing relevancy back to a former giant - Neil Diamond. Though I'm not a huge Neil Diamond fan, I am interested to hear what Rick's stripped down sound will do for this songwriting icon. It begins with Rick telling Neil that he's going to be playing guitar on his record for the first time since 1969.

Rick began his carreer working with Russel Simmons defining the sound of Hip Hop with RUN DMC, Public Enemy, and the Beastie Boys. During these early days his vision and interest had a scope way beyond any single genre. He did the 'Hell Awaits' LP for Slayer the same year as 'Liscense To Ill'.

Rick branced out further in '86 when he recorded the seminal alternative rock LP 'Electric' by the Cult. It was on this record that he first employed his ethos; Put The Pedals Down. He stripped Billy Duffy (Guitar) of all his effects, and gave the band their best record ever.

Rick continued to produce Hip Hop for RUN DMC, Public Enemy, and LL Cool J, as well as the classic Sir Mix Alot's 'Baby Got Back' in '91. That same year he began a long standing relationship with the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their gazillion selling 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik'.

It seemed Rick could do anything, and to prove it, he embarked on a four album run with the late Johnny Cash. Producing 'American Music' volumes 1-4, Rick employed most of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, whose '96 Lp 'Wildflowers', also produced by Rick, stands as thier best record to date. The Johnny Cash LP's alone would qualify Rick for Rock God status, certainly Sainthood.

While working with Icons like Cash and Diamond might make other producers seem irrelevant, he also continues to work with artists in their prime, like Weezer, and Jay Z.

The King is dead, long live the King.

Comments:
Rubin is a producer in the classic sense of the word. He really gets into the musician's heads and aims straight for the music, pushing everything else aside.

He made Neil Diamond play guitar on this record, and they met and talked for about a year before they even started working. Who does that? Who in the music business is willing to invest that kind of time before a single note has been recorded?

Neil Diamond sat on a stool and played the songs for Rubin on guitar. Just like the Beatles did for George Martin.

THAT'S the kind of stuff that made me want to be a record producer.
 
Do you think Rick will employ any 'Chop and Screw' on the Diamond LP?
 
Baby, it's all chop and screw.
 
Love is better than Electric.
 
Says you. Love has much more texture, but the urgency of the performances on Electric are amazing. It's a matter of taste, but I think MOST people would agree that Electric was the bands peak.
 
uhhh... new post anyone?
 
Can't get enough of a good thing, huh?
 
Coloursound. Anyone hear them? I love their stuff. It's Billy Duffy from The Cult with Mike Peters from The Alarm. They did only one album I think, but it's great.
 
Outside of Johnny Cash, I don't think I've ever purchased a recording by any of these artists.
 
That doesn't rule out theft.
 
I have recently found myself struggling with similar thoughts. Given Rubin's previous works, I am thinking about listening to .. gasp ... Neil Diamond! Save me!!

-- david
 
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