Side Track into Rick Rubin’s Career

Wait, I thought this was a running blog?

Well, it used to be. Mostly. Now it still is. Kind of.

The Super Awesome Year of Me has been a lot of fitness-oriented goals, but it’s has a few non-fitness goals. First was drawing. Now we’re playing guitar (well, I am. I don’t know if you are). And we’ll cap with reading.

So we’re clipping along through the month of playing 20 minutes of guitar every day. Aside from two days I had no guitar access, I’ve hit on every day but 1. It’s been a pretty good month, and only 2 more to go.

Unfortunately, with this type of month, there really isn’t much to write about. “I played guitar” doesn’t make a good post. I’m not trying to play in a bar, so there’s no real goal I can update you on. But I am thinking about music.

I was listening to a Nerdist podcast yesterday with Butch Vig. If you don’t know who Butch Vig is, he’s a badass producer and successful drummer for Garbage. He’s a Garbage drummer. I’m sorry. I can’t help myself sometimes.

But Butch Vig has had a stellar producing career. He produced Nirvana’s first major album, a litany of grunge-era albums, some latter-day Green Day and Foo Fighter records, and the two major label Against Me! releases. It’s a pretty stellar career.

And it pales to Rick Rubin’s producing credits. I actually originally thought of this post thinking I would cover Vig and Rubin, but Rubin sits in his own realm. He’s produced for Jay Z and Johnny Cash. Knowing that, I still got surprised on one of the albums I found out he produced. Yeah, he’s legit.

So we’re going to dive into Rubin’s producing career. And if I ever get a record deal, know that Rubin’s at the top of my list.

Without further ado, let’s give a brief overview of Rubin’s producing career. We begin with his career in the early Def Jam days. We’re talking about Beastie Boys, Run-DMC (though they weren’t on Def Jam), and LL Cool J.

He later transitions out of Def Jam and has records with Public Enemy, Slayer, and The Black Crowes. Then you’ve got Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

And this is when things take a turn. He starts with Johnny Cash on the American Recordings series that helped reboot Cash’s career after his release from Columbia. At this point, he’s working with pretty much whomever he wants. He throws in Lucinda Williams and Sheryl Crow. You’ve got Melanie C (yep, the Spice Girl). Rage Against the Machine. Mars Volta. Slipknot. Weezer. Tom Petty. Audioslave. Shakira. Dixie Chicks. Kanye West. Coheed and Cambria. Vanessa Carlton.

The Avett Brothers. Oh yeah, this is where he caught my attention after a few years. I knew he produced Jay Z’s 99 Problems and Cash’s recordings, but I was otherwise unaware of what he was doing. And then I picked up I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers. Fantastic record. And then he did their next 3 albums too, including this year’s release.

In the Avett Brothers timeframe, he’s also produced for Adele, Lana Del Rey, Linkin Park, Josh Groban, Jake Bugg, Lady Gaga, and Ed Sheeran.

This is just ridiculous. I skipped over bands. I SKIPPED OVER BANDS!

Can you imagine having this prolific of a career? And a lot of these are fairly seminal records. Dude’s not even close to done yet. Not everyone liked working with him, but he gets a lot of repeat customers. And that’s the hallmark of a successful producer.

This was a rambling post. Oh well. Next month, I need 25g of fiber every day, so I’m sure I’ll have lot of stories of oatmeal, fruit, and quinoa. No Rick Rubin.

-Q

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