Who's next on the resurrection list for Rick Rubin? | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Who's next on the resurrection list for Rick Rubin? 

Touch me, I'm sick

After playing in punk bands during the early '80s, Rick Rubin founded Def Jam with Russell Simmons and helped launch the careers of Slayer, Run DMC, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys.

But he's most recently made his reputation rehabilitating. Over the years, Rubin's demonstrated a predilection for breathing new life into bands, particularly those whose best days occurred in the '80s, like Red Hot Chili Peppers, AC/DC and potentially U2, who Rubin has worked with recently. He jump-started Johnny Cash's career with the stripped down sound of 1994's American Recordings. Rubin's Metallica album comes out next week, and if anyone can help them recover face after the sad pretension and unintentional hilarity of 2004's documentary Some Kind of Monster, it's Rubin.

But the dude can't polish a turd. See Limp Bizkit's Results May Vary for proof. In addition to his upcoming work with The Avett Brothers and Velvet Revolver, Rubin will revisit those bearded Texans of ZZ Top next year. Bad idea? Probably.

In honor of ZZ Top's upcoming Triangle appearance, we're passing along the five worst (best?) candidates for a Rubin-esque overhaul.

CHEAP TRICK

QUALFIED? They're like AC/DC without the leather—frequently clever songs packed in hooks and hard rock heft—but reduced to touring with the rotted husks of Journey and Heart.

WHY? At its finest, Cheap Trick cranks out top-shelf, fist-pumping, parking lot rock with the same irreverent sensibility as License to Ill. The band deserves a renaissance at least as much bearded, guitar-spinning blues minstrels ZZ Top.

POTENTIAL COVER: A raunchy, balls-out version of Fountain of Wayne's "Stacy's Mom," with a reprise of "I Want You to Want Me" in the break.

HUEY LEWIS

QUALIFIED? Sold at least 7 million (!) copies of Sports since '83, and participated in "We Are the World."

WHY? The time is ripe, with Garth Brooks covering "Working for a Living" and the 58-year-old Lewis edging into old age, with gray adding a patina of respectability to a guy who looks less like a rocker than Bob Saget. We say put a band behind him that knows Music from Big Pink and recast him as an Americana folk singer.

POTENTIAL COVER: A dusty, bluegrass take on Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman."

RAKIM

QUALIFIED? Half of hip-hop's legendary duo Eric B & Rakim, he's been pretty much MIA for years after his solo career got lost in the flash of gats and bling. He hasn't released an album in almost a decade, despite promising a third solo joint for several years.

WHY? Rubin cut his teeth on old-school rap, but has barely recorded a half-dozen hip-hop tracks (notably Jay-Z's "99 Problems") in the two decades since Run DMC's Tougher than Leather, making this a double-pronged comeback.

POTENTIAL COVER: A chopped & screwed version of Bad Company's "Feel Like Making Love."

DAVID ALLAN COE

QUALIFIED? Coe's an original outlaw with bad boy backstory to rival Cash. Across his 50-year career, he's penned No.1 hits ("Take This Job and Shove It") and dirty-minded paeans ("Pick'em, Lick'em, Stick'em"), recorded with Pantera's Dimebag Darrell and Kid Rock, partied with Shel Silverstein, and survived a run-in with the IRS.

WHY? Chopper-riding redneck rebel, and hard rocker to boot, Coe's dying for a producer capable of channeling his hell-raising spirit, while balancing it with tender, ass-wizened cowboy ache. Given Coe's background, self-evident talent and need for re-evaluation, it's surprising Rubin hasn't called him since Cash's passing.

POTENTIAL COVER: A rollicking Bakersfield country version of Ministry's "So What."

ASHLEE SIMPSON

QUALIFIED? Hell no, but industry executives must think she's cute.

WHY? If only so Pete Wentz won't be so embarrassed: Simpson's latest, Bittersweet World, cycles through producers and styles like a teen movie shopping montage, without producing anything memorable or successful. She doesn't have Shakira's hips, but perhaps she could make a go at blue-eyed soul. While she's no more suited to soul than singing, both can be punched up in the mix.

POTENTIAL COVER: A string-laden, full choir version of "Blame It on The Rain."

ZZ Top plays Walnut Creek Amphitheater with Brooks & Dunn and Rodney Atkins Saturday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Feature



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

It was Jay-z.

by Fuji Flynn on Little Brother breaks up (Music Feature)

Sharp 9 is the premier jazz listening room in the Triangle, in the state, in the Southeast. A hidden gem.

by Mark J. O'Donnell on Durham’s Sharp 9 Gallery Keeps the Triangle’s Jazz Scene on Point (Music Feature)

am local jazz pianist. that C7 is a sweet instrument. can confirm.

by ewhirsh on Durham’s Sharp 9 Gallery Keeps the Triangle’s Jazz Scene on Point (Music Feature)

I saw them in 2006 with Andrew and they were still HOT!

by Thomoz on Hell Is Hot: How Squirrel Nut Zippers Accidentally Sold a Million Records (Music Feature)

Great article, thorough and well-researched. Plus oral histories are a cool way to tell a first-hand authentic story. Too bad …

by aburtch on Hell Is Hot: How Squirrel Nut Zippers Accidentally Sold a Million Records (Music Feature)

Comments

It was Jay-z.

by Fuji Flynn on Little Brother breaks up (Music Feature)

Sharp 9 is the premier jazz listening room in the Triangle, in the state, in the Southeast. A hidden gem.

by Mark J. O'Donnell on Durham’s Sharp 9 Gallery Keeps the Triangle’s Jazz Scene on Point (Music Feature)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation