When Rick Rubin ruined a “perfect record”

Rick Rubin

The majority of mega-producers in the music industry would not have had the same upbringing as Rick Rubin. When he was younger, he wasn’t spending all of his time playing with 808s, reading theory, or tapping all over the piano. His greatest achievement as a punk musician was to play with the Pricks for two songs at the CBGB before they were forced to end the show due to fights with fans.

He states that “there’s a tremendous power in using the least amount of information to get a point across”. He said it when discussing how feel-based music should be. Those like Johnny Cash, Black Sabbath, Lucinda Williams, and Public Enemy have benefited greatly from this straightforward principle. With the bearded bard of production behind the mixing desk instinctively orchestrating things.

As it happens, limitations can often be a creative boon, pushing you to focus on the details and refine your work rather than getting lost in the sea of options. But what occurs when you achieve flawlessness in every last detail and maintain simplicity?

That’s what happened when the band eventually got the original Queen masters back from their previous record company after a dispute, and Rubin was given the task of remixing them.

According to Rubin, “They reached out to different people that they thought could do something interesting.” He had to take advantage of the chance because he was a huge fan of the band. But he struggled with a classic. “I recall thinking, ‘Whoa.'” “We Will Rock You” is truly an amazing record. Remixes have always felt strange to me,” he said to Rolling Stone. “Remixes seemed to be diluting the qualities of the record that we spent so much time and energy creating. I initially thought that at the time.

Therefore, he believed that if someone worked for perfection, the only creative reason to do so would be to work away in the opposite direction, imperfection the 1977 Queen hit. “Well, I couldn’t possibly improve upon theirs. As is, it’s ideal. Thus, the plan was to take a different approach and aim to ruin it rather than try to make it great,” he concluded.

It wasn’t like he was degrading the original in any way. After all, it already existed in all its glory. Rather, he was attempting to enhance its artistic quality by finding a unique solution to an unsolvable creative conundrum. He, therefore, went into the multi-tracks and layered in the solo from “Tie Your Mother Down,” which he played backward, in place of the “surreal” jam at the end.

For that reason, I accepted the credit for it as “Ruined by Rick Rubin.” What more bizarre, surreal choices could I make to emphasize that we shouldn’t be remixing classic songs? was my thought at the time. Its message was, “Do not do this”.

As crazy as it may sound, there aren’t many songs in his catalog that better highlight his production prowess. Composing songs can be challenging enough on its own, but as an artist, you may become overly attached to them. For this reason, when you hire a producer, you want them to approach the job from a broad perspective, much like an interior designer approaches a house after constructing it. They ought to inquire, “What more can we do with this space to heighten the artistry”? This time, he didn’t alter the “perfect” “We Will Rock You”; instead, he merely constructed an odditorium in its honor.

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