“The Music Man”, A Wonderful Article on Rick Rubin

The Music Man by Lynn Hirschberg

I’m not really sure why, but I find myself often thinking about the Rick Rubin article I’m about to talk about, even though it was published last September. For some reason when I read it, I felt like I really understood what Rick Rubin was all about, and that a part of me was somewhat like him.

For those who don’t know, Rick Rubin is known mainly for being a music producer. He’s been in the music game for about 30 years now, and has helped people like The Beastie Boys, The Dixie Chicks, System of a Down, Neil Diamond, and most notably, Johnny Cash, create amazing records. But it’s the way he guides people that really intrigues me. He’s often called a guru, as he tells you exactly how to make a song sound better by just knowing what it needs. There’s no science to it, he just has a gut feeling when he hears things and he goes with it.

One of my favorite parts of the article talks about Rubin and his interests:

Rubin loves research. He’s always on a quest to find just the right thing, whether it be a book or a building. Recently, he hunted down the brand of water that claims to have the greatest level of purity (Ice Age); he pored over architectural manuals to determine what kind of hinge would have been used in 1923 (for his house); and when Johnny Cash was ailing, Rubin discovered a kinesiologist whom Cash credited with extending his life. And so on. Rubin has always been passionate, even compulsive, about his interests.

Something about that really strikes a cord with me. I feel like what really sets him a part from other producers or people in general is that he’s so passionate about things. I definitely suggest reading this article, it’s kind of a pain to read online, but I think it’s totally worth it.


April 2, 2008