Anthony Kiedis Interviews Rick Rubin for Interview Magazine
The first thing one tends to notice about Rick Rubin is his beard, which is long, full, unruly, and impressive, and more gray now than its original brown. Rubin has had the beard since he was a college kid from Lido Beach, Long Island, playing in an art-rock band called Hose—which is to say, for the better part of the last three decades. And aside from his own spiritual leanings—of which there are many, some of them musical, some of them Buddhist, some of them vaguely New Age-y—it lends him a certain reassuringly mystical quality, so that even if he doesn’t have all of the answers, he at least looks like he might. It all goes a very small way toward explaining why, as a producer of music and maker of records, Rubin has very often been referred to as a guru, an artist whisperer who likes to meditate and play with prayer beads and ask unanswerable questions, when, in actuality, he approaches his work and his purpose more like a searcher than a sage. Rubin’s isn’t a beard of torment, like John Lennon’s, or a beard of excess, like Jim Morrison’s, but rather the beard of a man on a journey—which, if you’re an artist lost in the creative wilderness, is precisely the kind of wizened stranger you want asking you what you’re looking for and offering suggestions as to where you might go to find it.