04 Sep Episode 13 – Make No Mistake: The Rick Rubin A/B
There are no happy accidents or lucky mistakes in Rick Rubin productions. The legendary producer knows exactly what he wants and how to get the leanest, meanest performances from each artist he works with. In our examples, he wielded a decisive guiding hand in helping bands clean up their tendencies toward the wandering and erratic, leading to honed, definitive albums that became legendary. His greatest talent, perhaps, was that he might have changed these bands significantly, but never sapped them of their purest essence.
Note I: About Rubin’s later work with Metallica and Black Sabbath, ie. “low hanging fruit”: Rubin was hired to get the band back on track after disaster (Death Magnetic, after St. Anger), or to sculpt a definitive-sounding record in a career’s late stages (Black Sabbath’s 13). Essentially a similar purpose to our featured examples, but the point is, by the mid ‘00s, Rubin was no longer plucking young metal or rock bands from relative obscurity and readying them for the big time. It’s an important point we felt wasn’t clarified very well in the episode.
Music cited, in order of appearance:
Slayer, “At Dawn They Sleep” (Hell Awaits, 1985)
Slayer, “Post Mortem” (Reign in Blood, 1986)
Samhain, “Lords of the Left Hand” (Samhain Grim sessions, 1986)
Danzig, “Possession” (Danzig, 1988)
The Cult, “Rain” (Love, 1985)
The Cult, “Love Removal Machine” (Electric, 1987)
Trouble, “Born in a Prison” (Run to the Light, 1987)
Trouble, “Black Shapes of Doom” (Trouble, 1990)
The Mars Volta, “Eunuch Provocateur” (Tremulant EP, 2002)
The Mars Volta, “Eriatarka” (De-Loused in the Comatorium, 2003)
Trouble, “The Sleeper” (Manic Frustration, 1992)
Episode 14 preview: Abstrakt Algebra, “Bug Queen” (II, unreleased 1997 album)
Radical Research is a conversation about the inner- and outer-reaches of rock and metal music. This podcast is conceived and conducted by Jeff Wagner and Hunter Ginn. Though we consume music in a variety of ways, we give particular privilege to the immersive, full-album listening experience. Likewise, we believe that tangible music formats help provide the richest, most rewarding immersions and that music, artwork, and song titles cooperate to produce a singular effect on the listener. Great music is worth more than we ever pay for it.
From 10cc to Colosseum II, Into the Pandemonium to Burning Time, Radical Research dissects the work of rock and metal’s most daring artists and albums.
This is Radical Research Podcast episode 13