Rick Rubin got Black Sabbath to return to its roots. He crashed Kanye’s new album in 15 days. From Def Jam to Adele, the hit-maker gets intimate about his last 30 years—and how he’s about to make history.
It is a good day to be Rick Rubin. For starters, Rubin, the cofounder of Def Jam Recordings and perhaps the most prominent record producer of the last 30 years, is working in Malibu, which isn’t a bad place to slave away. He’s in the midst of a session at the legendary Shangri-La Studios—the bucolic, residential recording complex set up by the Band in 1976 as “a clubhouse where we and our friends could record albums and cross-pollinate one another’s music,” according to the late drummer Levon Helm. Bob Dylan once lived in a tent in the rose garden; his tour bus is still parked in the backyard. The Band filmed much of The Last Waltz with Martin Scorsese here. Eric Clapton recorded here, too. So did Van Morrison.