Geezer Butler Still Doesn’t Know What Producer Rick Rubin Did on Black Sabbath’s ’13’ Album
In 2013, Black Sabbath released 13, their first new album with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978. It was produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, though, nearly a decade later, bassist Geezer Butler still isn't sure what Rubin did to help and called the direction he provided "ridiculous."
Rubin, who has produced iconic albums by Slayer, Beastie Boys, The Black Crowes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Danzig, Nine Inch Nails and so many more, is known for his unorthodox approach to producing, which tends to be rather hands-off.
"Some of it I liked, some of it I didn't like particularly," Butler said of Rubin's involvement on 13 in an interview with Sirius XM's Eddie Trunk (transcribed by Blabbermouth). "It was a weird experience," he continued, "especially with being told to forget that you're a heavy metal band. That was the first thing [Rick] said to us. He played us our very first album, and he said, 'Cast your mind back to then when there was no such thing as heavy metal or anything like that, and pretend it's the follow-up album to that,' which is a ridiculous thing to think."
Trunk interjected and noted that other artists Rubin has worked with in the past have been left underwhelmed with the producer's tactics, to which Butler replied, "I still don't know what he did. It's, like, 'Yeah, that's good.' 'No, don't do that.' And you go, 'Why?' [And he'd say], 'Just don't do it.'"
The bassist wasn't the only member of Sabbath who was irked by the whole process.
"I think Ozzy one day went nuts 'cause he'd done, like, 10 different vocals, and Rick kept saying, 'Yeah, that's great, but do another one.' And Ozzy was, like, 'If it's great, why am I doing another one?' He just lost it. And that's the way it was," Butler, who will turn 73 in July, offered.
"Tony [Iommi] wasn't happy with some of the stuff he was trying to make him play," he added, "He was making Tony get 1968 amps — as if that's gonna make it sound like back in 1968. It's mad. But it's good for publicity and it's good for the record company. If you've got Rick Rubin involved, then it must be good, kind of thing."
Despite not being fond of the recording sessions, Black Sabbath couldn't argue with the commercial results — 13 reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S. and topped the charts in several other countries as well.
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