Rick Rubin never having won the Producer of the Year Grammy was the musical equivalent of Martin Scorsese never having won the best-director Oscar. And on Sunday, two weeks before Scorsese is expected to finally get his prize, Rubin was at last honored — and then honored again and again and again.
In the end, Rubin walked away (not literally — he did not attend) with five Grammys: for Producer of the Year; Album of the Year and Country Album of the Year for the Dixie Chicks' Taking the Long Way; Record of the Year for the Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice"; and Best Rock Album for Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium (see "Timberlake Rocks; Blige Weeps; Chicks, Chilis Clean Up At Grammys").
And, while we're counting, he was also a part of five other Grammy-winning projects: Song of the Year and Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal for the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice"; Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal and Best Rock Song for Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California"; and Best Metal Performance for Slayer's "Eyes of the Insane."
"It feels so good to know our work touched listeners," Rubin said in a statement. "During the process, we are making our own favorite music. [These awards are] confirmation that what is true and real in the emotion of music is contagious."
The Grammys undoubtedly add an exclamation mark to a very successful 2006 for Rubin. But it's understandable that he called the year "not unusually special" in an interview with MTV News (see "Rick Rubin Calls His Year 'Not Unusually Special'; Grammy Nods Tell Another Story") — particularly if you look at what 2007 has in store for him.
As always, Rubin is working with a variety of artists and hoping to give new life to a couple of them along the way. Here's a rundown:
Linkin Park: "They really are reinventing themselves," Rubin said of the band, mixing now for a summer release. "It doesn't sound like rap-rock. There's very strong songwriting. I've heard guys in the band say that it transcends everything they've done before, like it puts them in a whole different light in their minds, and they really like that. It's very melodic. It's a progressive record."
Metallica: "I saw [the warts-and-all Metallica documentary 'Some Kind of Monster'], and it made me really nervous," Rubin said. "Then we started working, and it's the opposite direction of that. They're really productive, really communicative — it seems like they really like being in the room together. It's a great process. They say they're more excited than they have been in a long time about making music. We're going to start recording in March. I asked them not to reinvent themselves so much as to make a defining album, like the purest of what Metallica is. That's the aim, so we'll see what happens."
Weezer: "Rivers [Cuomo] just gave me some demos, the first round for this album," Rubin said. "I'm trying to get my head clear to really just dive in."
U2: "We've talked about doing some more, but they're on tour," said Rubin, who produced two tracks for the band's recent hits compilation, U218 Singles, including the Green Day collaboration "The Saints Are Coming." "Hopefully we'll get to do some more together."
Dan Wilson of Semisonic: "The album's done and hopefully will be out this summer," Rubin said. "It's mind-blowing. It's my favorite album. He's just great."
The (International) Noise Conspiracy: "I heard one set of demos that were really good, and I'm waiting for the next batch," the producer said.
Rubin's long-in-the-works compilation of peace songs: "It has not yet come to pass, but hopefully it will," Rubin said (see "Audioslave, Chili Peppers Play For Peace On Rick Rubin Compilation"). "It felt more meaningful to me at the beginning of the [Iraq] war, when it felt like there was a lot of pro-war sentiment. As it's changed, and more and more people are realizing [the war is] a bad idea, it feels like we're preaching to the converted now. At the time, we felt like we'd be leading the charge. At this point, it feels less pressing, which I think is a great thing."
For more on Rick Rubin, check out the feature "What's Up With That Bearded Guy in the '99 Problems' Video?"
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