Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor shattered some sacred viewpoints on music superproducer Rick Rubin, who has helmed landmark albums from the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, Metallica and many others, at a recent stop on his current "An Evening With Corey Taylor" tour.
The concerts, which feature Taylor doing both spoken-word and acoustic performances, also includes a question-and-answer session with the audience. At his November 18 stop in Dallas, Texas, a member of the crowd inquired about the frontman's experiences working with Rubin on Slipknot's 2004 album, Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses), and according to Blabbermouth, that's when things got very interesting.
"That's a dangerous, dangerous question," Taylor reportedly said. "Now, there are some people who would love for me to just be [politically correct] and toe the party line, which is, basically, [to say] 'You know, working with Rick Rubin was a very enriching experience. He is truly a great mind. . .' Let me give you the fucking truth of it. Rick Rubin showed up for 45 minutes a week. Yeah. Rick Rubin would then, during that 45 minutes, lay on a couch, have a mic brought in next to his face so he wouldn't have to fucking move. I swear to God. And then he would be, like, 'Play it for me.' The engineer would play it. And he had shades on the whole time. Never mind the fact that there is no sun in the room — it's all dark. You just look like an asshole at that point."
The singer went on to turn up the heat on the criticism: "He would just stroke his huge beard and try and get as much food out of it as he could. And he would go, 'Play it again.' And then he'd be, like, 'Stop! Do that over.' And he had an assistant who was seven feet tall. He had that disease where you can't grow hair on your body, so he was just bald. He looked like Mr. Clean's neurotic cousin. But he basically ran Rick Rubin's life — like, he was just fucking on it, on it, on it, on it. About half way through our precious 45 minutes, he would bring in this plate of shit. I assume it was food. It was bluish green. It smelled like someone had just plunged a fucking toilet somewhere. And he would eat it as fast as he could — just get it in there, all over himself. Which is, when you're working, so wonderful to look at . . . I will say this: I respect what Rick Rubin has done, I respect the work that he has done in the past to get to where he is now. But… this is a huge but… this is a J.Lo-sized 'but...' I will say this: The Rick Rubin of today is a thin, thin, thin shadow of the Rick Rubin that he was. He is overrated, he is overpaid, and I will never work with him again as long as I fucking live."
Pretty strong words for a man many consider to be a gem in the musical crown of our generation. It's worth noting that Slipknot drummer Shawn Crahan had a different perspective on the experience, according to a 2008 interview with Revolver magazine about Vol. 3, "Listen to that fucking record. It's spiritual. Rick Rubin's the oracle. He sat us down with each other. I heard things from the other members I don't care to repeat. I gained a couple of friends. I might have created a couple of enemies. We all agreed we were going to get on a plateau of communication and that's what we did."
In the same article, guitarist Jim Root was quoted as saying about Rubin: "Rick was really attentive to what we needed as a band. He knew I was going through major anxiety. I got a knock on my bedroom door one day, and his assistant came up and he had this herbal drop that you put on your tongue to mellow out. A lot of the guys in the band say Rick was unavailable. And yeah, he takes on a lot of projects at one time, but he also does things that are beneficial. He would listen to what we'd done, then have us retrack things that needed work. He's kind of like Big Brother up on the hill. Even though he wasn't there physically every day, he was. That's my favorite record we've done."
Corey himself shared some less than glowing thoughts about the experience in an old Revolver interview, explaining: "I wouldn't know what it's like to work with Rick Rubin. I only saw him about four times. Rick Rubin is a nice man. He's done a lot of good for a lot of people. He didn't do anything for me. I'm not happy with the vocals on that record. There were a lot of takes that I thought were much better than the ones they fuckin' used and I wasn't asked about a lot of shit. It sounds amazing; the songs are great. But we were being charged horrendous amounts of money. And for me, if you're going to produce something, you're fucking there. I don't care who you are."