You will be boiled: Rick Rubin is still the Mr. Wolf of rock

You will be boiled: Rick Rubin is still the Mr. Wolf of rock

Name: Federick Jay, simply Rick for friends. Surname: Rubin. Date of birth: March 10, 1963. Profession: problem solver. If we were to sketch a brief identikit of Rick Rubin, something like this would come out. He's the Mr. Wolf of rock, to quote the famous character from Quentin Tarantino's “Pulp fiction”: he solves situations. With oily hands he knows what to do, he knows how to fix. On the other side of the glass he works miracles: he cleans the filter by blowing a little, adjusts the idle by raising it a little, as Battisti would have sung. He intervenes and restarts machines that seemed to be a little stuck.

The last impossible mission of the guru who in the '80s accomplished the miracle of taking hip hop and trash metal – niche and polar opposite genres – bringing them to the top of the charts with “Raising hell” by Run-DMC and “Reign in blood” by SlayerThat convinced Johnny Cash to record “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails in the legendary “American Recordings” (which relaunched the career of the country icon, which had reached a standstill) and which fand the Cure's “Lovesong” becomes practically another song in Adele's version? Bringing together the Gossip and relaunch them with an album, “Real power”, which is already one of the rock revelations of the season: “It is pure in its creativity.

He's not interested in fads or a label's opinions. Try to bring out the best in you. It has this ability to make an artist give their best when they work on it. And he only works with people he believes in”, say Beth Ditto and his associates about him, who after “A joyful noise” in 2012 had practically disintegrated, before finding themselves making music together in Rubin's studio in .Kauaia small island in the Hawaiian archipelago where the producer won 8 Grammy Awards and who knows how many millions of copies sold with bestsellers by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys, Slayer, Johnny Cash, Rage Against the Machine, by Shakira and Santana, retired a few years ago.

For many it's a boilerplate (go easy on certain words!), an old school producer – it was 1981 when he put his hand professionally to a record, the eponymous one by The Pricks, a band from whose ashes Relative Degree would later be born, who in turn would created Linkin Park – fromnow obsolete approach. Already in 2014 Corey Taylor of Slipknot, who enlisted Rubin for “Vol.

3: (The Subliminal Verses),” he complained in an interview that he only spoke to him four times during the entire recording process of the album: “We were being charged horrendous amounts of money. To me, if you're going to produce something, you have to be there. I don't care who you are. .The Rick Rubin of today is a shadow of the Rick Rubin he was. He's overrated, he's overpaid and I will never work with him again”, he thundered. Geezer Butler two years ago he was no more tender when, recalling Black Sabbath's experience with Rubin for 2013's “13”, he said: “I still don't know what Rubin did”. Yet, despite the critics, her special touch continues to be highly coveted. And to work. Thanks to him if in 2021 Julian Casablancas' Strokes won a Grammy Award with their “The New Abnormal”, the one as “Best Rock Album”: the band, which had been trying – without success – to make a new album for seven years, in twenty years of career not only had never won an award at the “Oscars of music”, but he had never even earned a nomination with his five previous albums. And what about the Red Hot Chili Peppers? After “The Getaway”, dated 2016, something had stopped working in the band. At least, that's how it seemed. Naturally, he took care of restarting a machine with over 120 million copies sold worldwide.

He doesn't like celebrations, Rubin. “I know nothing about music, I have no technical skills and I can't play practically any instrument“, he said, who in the philosophical volume “The creative act: A way of being” last year he didn't even define himself as a producer, but as a “adapter”, that is, someone who “likes to be able to convey the idea and get the message across using the least amount of information possible”. He bluffs or suffers from impostor syndrome, despite a assets estimated at 250 million dollars and the signature on some of the most iconic pages of music of the last forty years, from the version of “Walk this way” by Aerosmith to the birth of the

Def Jam, a label for which Jay-Z, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Big Sea, Public Enemy have recorded over the years? “I know what I like and what I don't like. And I'm quite assertive and sure about what I feel when I listen to music. I believe one reason for my success is my ability to communicate it to artists, in a way that is useful to them“, explains.

It also confirms it Anthony Kiedisthe frontman of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who owe everything to Rubin: it was 1991 when he launched them with “Blood sugar sex magik”, then after records such as – among others – “Californication”, “By the way” and “Stadium arcadium” in 2016 the band preferred him for “The getaway” Danger Mouse, only to then call the guru back to the production cabin for the diptych “Unlimited love” and “Return of the dream canteen” in 2022. Anthony Kiedis:

His ability to hear things is what made him one of the greatest producers of all time in any musical genre. Sometimes it seems like he does very little in the studio. I've seen people stare at him and think, 'Shouldn't he get to work?' But he's there, he's at work.

It is precisely because of his ability to listen that Paul McCartney chose him to tell his story and retrace his entire career, from his beginnings with the Beatles to his solo breakthrough, in the wonderful docu-series “McCartney 3, 2, 1”, which you can catch up on Disney+: “He has more knowledge than anyone. She knows what she's talking about. In the end we ended up becoming curious about each other.” Jovanottiwho after the monumental “Lorenzo 2015 cc” literally didn't know which way to turn, before entrusting the songs of “Oh, life!” of 2017 – realizing the dream of a lifetime, so much so that he allowed himself the luxury of continuing to work with the producer also for subsequent projects – said of him: .

He has a radical vision of music, I knew it and admired it when I listened to his productions as a fan, but hearing how this affects my music is a whole different story. It's one thing to see someone else strip naked and throw themselves into the abyss, but quite another thing if it's you. (Jovanotti)

Small curiosity. Before starting a session Rubin invites artists to do at least two minutes of meditation, because the practice “eliminates distractions” and distractions “can hinder a direct connection with the creative force”. The public? “He comes last. And he doesn't know what he wants: the audience only knows what happened before”.