The Methods to Rubin's Madness
Whenever he agrees to produce an album, Rubin scrutinizes the songs before going into the studio. Rubin works slowly, it can take him years to finish an album. "A lot of that is because of the songs," Rubin explained. "I try to get the artist to feel like they are writing songs for the ages rather than songs for an album. As they write, they come over and play the songs for me. For some reason, most people will write 10 songs and think, That's enough for a record, I'm done. When they play the songs for me, invariably the last two songs they've written are the best. I'll then say, 'You have two songs, go back and write eight more.' "
His responses are instant, specific and constructively definitive. In the early Metallica sessions, Rubin has been exacting about different drum sounds. "Lars" Ulrich, the drummer "will play two things for me, and I'll say, 'This one is great and that one is terrible,' " Rubin recalled. "Lars will say: 'How do you know? They both sound good to me.' Well, I just know. The right sound reaches its hand out and finds its way. So much of what I do is just being present and listening for that right sound." [Good that Rick is on the case now instead of Bob Crock so we won't get Lars bashing pots and pans this go around!]
- Metal Underground story
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