The Cash Phase Rubin worked with Johnny Cash for 10 years and produced five of his albums.
Videos of Songs Produced by Rick Rubin.
Rubin, wearing his usual uniform of loose khaki pants and billowing white T-shirt, his sunglasses in his pocket, his feet bare, fingers a string of lapis lazuli Buddhist prayer beads, believed to bring wisdom to the wearer. Since Rubin's beard and hair nearly cover his face, his voice, which is soft and reassuring, becomes that much more vivid. He seems to be one with the room, which is lined in floor-to-ceiling books, most of which are of a spiritual nature, whether about Buddhism, the Bible or New Age quests for enlightenment. The library and the house are filled with religious iconography mixed with mementos from the world of pop. A massive brass Buddha is flanked by equally enormous speakers; vintage cardboard cutouts of John, Paul, George and Ringo circa "Help!" are placed around a multiarmed statue of Vishnu. On a low table, there are crystals and an old RadioShack cassette recorder that Rubin uses to listen to demo tapes; a framed photo of Jim Morrison stares at a crystal ball. In Rubin's world, music and spirituality collide.
In high school, around 1980, Rubin started listening to a mix of heavy metal and punk rock. (He recalls buying the Germs' record "GI" and "Back in Black" by AC/DC on the same day.) "I saw the Ramones play every week," he said. "I was the only punk in my high school." Rubin paused. "I've always been an outsider. When I did magic, I was the only kid. When I worked with Johnny Cash, I was completely out of place in Nashville. And when I started Def Jam, I was the only white guy in the hip-hop world."