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Rick Rubin Paperback – 10 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: ECW PRESS; Original edition (10 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550228757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550228755
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. McNeil on 3 Sep 2010
Format: Paperback
The book is about Rick Rubin.........apparently. Don't get me wrong I learnt some things I didn't know, but you learn about the path of Rick in the first chapter and then you're pretty much done for that, then first chapter about producing a record you learn his theory. Then from there on in it's the same theory with a different artist, and with very little emphasis on Rubin but more on every artist he worked with and their journey's. There is EXTREMELY little technical info, so if you wanted to know about microphones and pre-amps etc you won't. You'll find out what guitar Tom Morello plays, shock horror, same one he always does.

Further more those explanations from the artists are all taken from multiple interviews not done by the author that basically repeat themselves through about 6 different sources over the course of the 220 odd pages. The swiftness of each chapter on each project makes it readable pretty quickly, so I stuck with it. I learnt about a lot of records, but still know very little about Rick Rubin, but it seems possible if this book is correct in what it says there is very little to know about the man.

Buy it at you're own will, don't expect to know about how he created records technically, but if you just want to read about the bands and records he's worked on then go for it, but even that walks a thin line towards gratification
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kiss73 on 5 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being the first to write an in-depth book on the legendary producer Rick Rubin, you would have thought the author would have grabbed the opportunity to provide a definitive book.

The result:- you will learn much more reading Wikipedia...and it's free. This is an incredibly lazy excuse for a book with little or no depth. The chapters on certain major artists/albums are embarrassingly short with no details. In short - save your money!!!

All in all this does not give much confidence for the forthcoming Motorhead "In the Studio" book by the same author, although I believe in that book at least the author made the effort to interview somebody.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Hagiography constructed from existing interviews 19 Aug 2009
By hyperbolium - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Author Jake Brown seems to have synthesized this book almost entirely from other people's interviews with Rubin, his mentors and partners, and the broad range of musicians with whom he's worked. The only new interview Brown lists in his extensive bibliography is with Rubin's early protégé George Drakoulias. The bulk of the book is a series of quotes artfully selected and stitched together from newspapers, music magazines and websites. Brown's research is extensive, and organized into coherently themed chapters the material paints a broad-brush portrait of Rubin. But with only one original interview, Brown adds few new insights to the record.

Brown neither interviewed Rubin, nor actually watched him work, nor - other than Drakoulias - appears to have spoken with anyone who worked with Rubin. The quotes are all presented at face value, with no dissenting or contrasting opinions, and by sampling from other people's interviews, Brown robs himself of the opportunity to interact with the sources and ask specific follow-up questions. He cleverly synthesizes conversational back-and-forth between principals (e.g., Rubin and Johnny Cash) by weaving together quotes from multiple sources, but in the end it's a simulation rather than real-life interplay, and though a nice writing trick, it's not satisfying.

The existing materials that Brown could find, or his own personal interests, color the depth and breadth of the book's coverage. Individual chapters on Public Enemy, Mick Jagger and the Dixie Chicks are short and shallow, while multiple chapters on the Red Hot Chili Peppers wander away from Rubin into fetishistic, over-long explorations of guitarist John Frusciante's equipment. There are a few obvious typos, such as the use of "peak" in place of "pique," and at least one ill-chosen presumption: the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster is mentioned without explaining why it would have made Rubin nervous - those who've never seen the film are left in the dark.

Readers are left to synthesize the larger themes from Brown's reporting. Rubin emerges from the quotes as a transformative figure that brought rap to the mainstream, revitalized rock production, resuscitated moribund and damaged musical careers, and pried mature artists from their ruts. The diligence of his pre-production, particularly his focus on selecting and preparing material, is shown to free musicians to be emotional performers in the studio rather than technical craftsmen. Rubin himself is only rarely glimpsed in the studio, a by-product of both his working method and Brown's method as a writer, but he's pictured as listening intently and nudging (or jolting) artists with his ideas.

Drawing views from multiple sources might give readers a chance to triangulate on Rubin, but the vantage points are often too similar to create real dimension. The sampling of quotes doesn't bring the author, and thus the reader, close enough to really feel Rubin's character. The numerous in-line citations, laudable for their accuracy in accreditation, leave the reader feeling one step removed from the book's subject. The breadth of Brown's research shows a deep passion for Rubin's work (particularly with the Red Hot Chili Peppers) that would have paid greater dividends via first-person access to the producer. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Not even finished and I love this book 19 Aug 2009
By D. Gluckman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've never written a review on Amazon before, but this book has compelled me to do so. I had no idea Rubin produced so many records for so many different artists. I think we all know his hip-hop and metal roots, starting Def Jam, etc., so it was really cool to read about his production with Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, even the Dixie Chicks.

What turned me on to this book was the notion that I'd get an insider's look into how Rubin produces, what the vibe was like in the studio, and how he approached each artist. I got what I wanted. Great read, all around. As my title says, I'm not even finished with the book and I love it.

Another reviewer remarked that the author strung together quotes from various magazines, newspapers, etc., and that's true. Rubin isn't interviewed, and while that would've been an amazing touch, I don't necessarily know if he needed to be interviewed. The book chronicles Rubin's history as a producer; sure it'd be great to hear from the man himself, but the bands, engineers, and everyone else who's quoted in the book do a pretty good job of describing Rubin's work ethic, and how he simply listens to a song and decides on the spot what it needs to be improved.

If you're looking for a glimpse into Rick Rubin's work/career... this book should be right up your alley. I should note that I'm a 24 year old male (for demographic purposes, you know). And just a quick comment... it's probably true that I'm a fan of several artists Rubin's worked with, so that definitely helped with such a positive review of the book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
So-So 12 April 2012
By Nolander - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book contains no interviews or quotes from Rick Rubin. It's pretty much just a summary of his work. It's not very in-depth regarding his recording process, which is what I was hoping for. It more just catalogues the producer's career. The same information can be found for free on Wikipedia.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Two Views of the Rock: Rick Rubin and Brian Eno 12 Mar 2010
By BlogOnBooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the course of observing the rock based recordings of the late 20th Century, two names keep surfacing when it comes to exemplary album production. Brian Eno and Rick Rubin. Between the two of them, they have been responsible for some of the biggest and best selling albums of the rock era. Eno with his work on bands like U2, Coldplay and the Talking Heads, and Rubin with everyone from the Beastie Boys to the Red Hot Chili Peppers; Tom Petty to Metallica.

Yet, as much as they are icons of rock production, the similarities seem to end there.

In his book, `On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno', author David Sheppard chronicles both the life and the oeuvre of the enigmatic Mr. Eno; from his early upbringing in Suffolk, England to his days in an English provincial art school, to his joining a barely formed Roxy Music (where he is first credited with performing `treatments'), a decade-long solo career, on through his many cerebral and aesthetic projects (`Oblique Strategies` being one of the most famous), several highly regarded avant-garde musical collaborations (first with Robert Fripp, then with David Byrne), a long series of ambient-based albums ultimately leading to his high-profile production work with David Bowie, Devo, U2, Coldplay and others.

Brown's chronology, `Rick Rubin: In the Studio,' while similar in development (sans the musician part) began in the dorms of NYU where his DefJam Records first took off, to his early years exploring hardcore rock and street based hip-hop, collecting a list of associates ranging from the aforementioned Beastie Boys, to RUN DMC, Slayer and more. Eventually, Rubin formed his own label (parting ways with co-Def Jam owner, Russell Simmons), moved to California and formed Def American (later just `American') Recordings. Rubin's stature continued to rise, and whilst not being much of a musician nor an engineer, he ended up helming records from the likes of the Chili Peppers, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, the Dixie Chicks, Neil Diamond, Linkin Park and others.

The two books have much in common with and are as diverse as their respective subjects. While Sheppard's book is both detailed and an intelligent rendering of the events in and surrounding it's subject, Brown's book is more tactical and directly relating to each of the recordings involved. Sheppard's work is much more fluid and articulate in describing the ever-weaving career path (including numerous non-music endeavors - like his ambient wallscape `77 Million Paintings`) while Brown largely sticks to the nitty-gritty of the details of the making of each record outlined. (Brown's is rightly subtitled as part of his `In the Studio' series.) Sheppard seems to have spent much more time with the principals in Eno's life's work, while much of Brown's book is, unfortunately, based largely on an assemblage of reworked press quotes.

In all, both books shed a light on the sometimes hidden-from-view process of the recording studio. Sheppard's Eno tome comes across as a much more painstaking and revealing work, while a similar type of in-depth, wide-ranging examination of Rubin's career is still yet to be written. - Tim Devine
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
press clippings 16 Aug 2013
By David Rosen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this is just pulled together from press clipping and such. little insight and a bit boring. surprising because rubin is such a fascinating character. some good historical background and little else.
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