Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Guru

There’s a fascinating article on Rick Rubin, who in my opinion is the best producer in the history of music, in yesterday’s NY Times.

Rick Rubin

He’s now taken over the reigns at Columbia Records with the sole purpose of saving the label. A tall order but if anyone’s gonna do it, it’s him. He thinks subscription service is where it’ll go. I don’t know about that.

He basically told Columbia he’s never going to have an office or a phone line or wear a suit. He told them they needed to move out of both the NY and LA offices because those were the old offices. He demanded they do away with plastic jewel cases in lieu of a greener option. And his operation will continue to run out of his Hollywood Hills mansion.

But the most interesting thing he said is that he’s trying to help them to understand they’re selling art, not image or hype or whatever. Art. Good music. And songs. Most importantly songs. Songs that are welcomed by ears. More than that, albums of those songs that are welcomed by ears. Not one offs.

From the early days of Def Jam in his NYU dorm room where he made LL Cool J and the Beasties to his brilliant Chili Peppers work to his Johnny Cash work to his work now with Weezer and Neil Diamond, the guy simply helps good musicians make great music. Timeless music, really. He just knows what he likes and merely steers artists toward that.

And then there’s this, his philosophy on producing music:

“I've always liked doing the stuff that I like. I have no training, no technical skill — it's only this ability to listen and try to coach the artist to be the best they can from the perspective of a fan.”

I like to think when it comes to advertising, that’s my approach too. I’m a fan. I watch tv and the internet, listen to the radio, read magazines, etc., and I buy stuff. Therefore I feel completely qualified to make this stuff. Obligated, really. Oh yeah, and I’m a professional writer. Convenient, right?

So when I sit down to work a little magic for a product or service I just think, “what would I want to see?” In fact, I used to have a sign in my office that said, “make something you’d wanna see.” And that’s pretty much my guiding principle and one I think this business could use a lot more of. And it usually works since I don’t work on old people stuff or feminine hygiene products. Thank god.


Blogger minus five said...

i hope he gets through to the suits. rick rubin is a badass. thanks for posting the article.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Skipper said...

Thanks for posting. $20 says Columbia is work alike than different 2 years for now, however. I'll check back.

12:47 AM  

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