Rubin Helped Spice Up The Chili Peppers On Several Albums
Plenty of fellow musicians will be on hand on May 5, the date of a memorial concert in honor of Adam Schlesinger exactly a year after his death from COVID-19. Members of the Monkees, REM, and Squeeze will perform, but there will be two noticeable absences from the cast.
Even though the trio Muse formed the same year as Schelsinger's quartet Fountains of Wayne, the two bands never collaborated. They are, however, tied through a song written by Schelsinger and FOW co-founder Chris Collingwood, a minor hit called “Richie and Ruben.”
Some early interpretations alleged the song was not really about tow questionable small business partners, but instead a commentary on a popular producer. That take came about mainly because of the band Muse, who the year before the song was recorded criticized the record producer on National TV.
“I would like to thank Rick Rubin for teaching us how not to produce,” Muse front man Matt Bellamy after accepting the 2010 award for UK Single of the Year.
Rubin had been a successful producer throughout the Eighties, specializing in hip hop. He in the following decade undertook the task of producing artists from other genres, and he has even twice snagged Grammy Awards for Rock Album of the Year.
As the quote from Muse indicates, there has been criticism of Rubin as well, which led some people to believe he was actually the target in Schlesinger's track “Richie and Ruben.” The first lines of the chorus would certainly lend credence to that interpretation.
“Richie and Ruben don't know what they're doing,” the song goes. “Don't give 'em a dime, they'll blow through your dough just like they blew through mine.”
Regardless of whether or not the song hints at Rick Rubin, many rock artists have been very satisfied with the producer's work. In fact, two bands have earned Grammy Awards for Rock Album of the Year, the latter of which was given out in 2020.
Here are the ten best rock albums produced by Rick Rubin.
1. Stadium Arcadium by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
This flawless record, featuring tracks like “Dani California” and “Tell Me Baby,” netted the Best Rock Album Grammy in 2007.
2. The New Abnormal by the Strokes
Julian Casablancas and his slick guitar band enlisted the help of Rubin for their 2020 offering, which resulted in the 2020 Grammy for Rock Album of the Year.
3. Wildflowers by Tom Petty
In 1996 Rubin oversaw this record by the late rocker, an effort that earned a nomination for Rock Album of the Year.
4. Make Believe by Weezer
That 2005 Grammy nomination for this album is very real, thanks to the huge success of “Beverly Hills.”
5. Free Life by Dan Wilson
Nearly a decade after climbing the charts with “Closing Time,” Semisonic's front man called on Rubin to oversee his first solo effort.
6. Seeing Things by Jakob Dylan
After leading the electric rock outfit the Wallflowers, Bob's son explored his acoustic side through Rubin on this first solo album in 2008.
7. Shangri La by Jake Bugg
2013 saw Rubin especially focused on rock albums, starting with this sophomore effort of the indie singer-songwriter.
8. 13 by Black Sabbath
Eschewing bad luck, the heavy metal pioneers turned controls over to Rubin for their 2013 release.
9. Rainy Day Music by The Jayhawks
Rubin actually ventured out into alt country rock with this album, which Gary Louris and mates brought out in 2003.
10. Ballbreaker by ACDC
One of his first shots at something other than hip-hop, Rubin helped ACDC hone their hard rock sound on this 1995 album.