There is no doubt that Rick Rubin is one of the greatest music producers of all-time in genres ranging from thrash metal to rap, which is why news of the release of Rick Rubin: In The Studio by Jake Brown won my immediate attention. However, upon opening my paperback copy, the enthusiasm dwindled to immediate boredom; within the first two pages of chapter one it became apparent that this was going to be an exhausting battle to the finish.
It is not that Jake Brown is not a well-researched biographer or that he failed to provide accurate accounts of the production behind Rubin’s legendary albums such as Reign In Blood and Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The problem is that this book fails to tell the stories well — fostering little excitement which then prevents the reader from turning the page. Instead, it reads like a never ending series of quotes that you could Google or Wiki at anytime; like I said before, “exhausting.”
More than a majority of the content comes from various magazine articles and Rolling Stone interviews throughout Rubin’s career. Unfortunately, these sources rarely dig deep enough when it comes to compiling a biographical powerhouse. The flow of this biography is quite the opposite of how Mötley Crüe’s The Dirt reads or David McCullough’s 1776 for that matter. How can one compare the American Revolution and the production of Death Magnetic? Well, a great story teller will put the reader inside the studio with the band, behind the sound board, and in the midst of the decision making processes, much like McCullough throws the reader right on the battlefields of New York.
If you are an extraterrestrial visiting from 100 parsecs or more, then you will enjoy learning about the fundamentals to Rick Rubin’s minimalistic style and gain a satisfactory overview of his classic albums. Otherwise, as an avid fan of rock music, you probably already read many of the magazine articles that compose the content of Rick Rubin: In The Studio –Meds