The Avett Brothers' Guide to Rick Rubin Albums

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Hive Five: Our Daily Listicle of Musical Musings

The Avett Brothers make for an unlikely pair of superstars. There may be a fair amount of musicians with deep North Carolina accents and a love of picking banjos who could find themselves onstage playing “Maggie’s Farm” with Bob Dylan at the Grammys, but the Venn Diagram of those artists who also star in Gap commercials probably only includes Scott and Seth Avett. But given the brothers’ penchant for eclecticism, it makes sense that they’d turn to Rick Rubin to produce their last two albums, including their recent effort The Carpenter. The guy who everybody from Adele to Jay-Z to the Dixie Chicks to Slayer to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has brought the best out of has more than proven that he’s capable of creating masterpieces with anybody. Just before their performance at ACL last weekend, Hive caught up with Scott and Seth to find out which Rick Rubin albums had changed their lives.

1. The first four Danzig albums

Scott: All four of those were huge for us. I was in high school during that time, so me and a group of guys who would illegally skate through the towns that we lived around, we would basically listen to Metallica, Jane’s Addiction, Violent Femmes, and Danzig. Danzig was the one I really gravitated towards, because not only was he edgy and hardcore, like all those guys, but he had this melody, and this ability to gracefully deliver. That was a little different than some of the abrasiveness of other things that we loved.

Seth: It was sort of a new take on evil in blues. You can very easily find evil in blues as far as blues goes back, but it had a new spin on evil within blues, which was very exciting for a young guy.

2. Beastie BoysLicense To Ill

Scott: I remember being in sixth grade, holding that cassette tape. Somebody was passing it through. What an iconic cover. That airplane. So awesome.

3. Johnny CashAmerican Recordings

Seth: The one that had “Delia’s Gone” on it. And that – [sings] “Drive on, it don’t mean nothin’ / children love me but they don’t understand” – I love that record top to bottom. I’m not as versed with the others, but I know that one top to bottom.

Scott: “Tennessee Stud” is on that one. That was huge for us.

4. Red Hot Chili PepppersBlood Sugar Sex Magik

Seth: I had some of the most dangerous experiences in vehicles, and speeding, while listening to Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Hands-down. It was such a driving record for me and my friends in high school. Living in the country, unlike if you lived in New York City, where you could get yourself in trouble with a person one-on-one, for us, it was a lot of vehicle interaction. So you get on a dirt road, pushing it to 70 miles per hour ... I’ve got videotape of us, just Blood Sugar Sex Magik playing, and us just doing 70 or 80 down a dirt road, just barreling down there.

Scott: It’s so funny to think about it, though. It translated to Cabarrus County, North Carolina, straight out of California. Right to us. Right to here [points at his heart]. All these records break down all genre barriers.

5. System of a DownToxicity

Scott: And let me mention this one, speaking of breaking down genre barriers. System of a Down’s Toxicity! Such a surprising heavy record, such an intelligent record. All about breaking down all kinds of rules.

The Carpenter is out now on American Recordings/Republic Records.