Rubin knows he’s hard work says Gibbons
ZZ Top mainman Billy Gibbons is glad the band took the risk of working with controversial producer Rick Rubin – despite the ups and downs of the experience.
He’s previously admitted the band became bewildered over the amount of time it took to complete upcoming album La Futura.
Now he describes the process as pushing him “to the brink of frustration” and adds that, despite having been in production for four years, the band only got to hear the finished work weeks ahead of its release.
Rubin, who’s currently working with Black Sabbath and is scheduled to man the desk for Metallica, has been slated by Corey Taylor, Muse and Graham Nash among others, with the Crosby, Still and Nash man accusing him of ruining their album project and Slipknot frontman Taylor saying: “He is overrated, he is overpaid, and I will never work with him again as long as I fucking live.”
But Gibbons tells Music Radar: “Rick was gracious enough to give us fair warning right at the beginning. He said: ‘I’ve been at this a while, but it hasn’t always worked out for me.’
“He was upfront. He said if we were finding stones in the pathway, we should be men enough to address it. I took that sincerely. In setting up such a generous two-way street, we avoided the pitfalls that have plagued him with certain artists in the past.”
Rubin’s approach was to have all three members of the band in the studio together, and sessions included an entire series of studio shifts in which nothing was recorded. Later, when they’d amassed 20 CDs worth of rough ideas, the producer sent the band away to think over what they’d done and “see if we’re getting somewhere.”
“Rick wanted us to work hard,” Gibbons says, “But he placed an emphasis on us being casual and having a good time. I found out that one of his high cards is patience: he was in no hurry to run the risk of having something half-baked.
“His attitude was, ‘It’s going to take as long as it takes until it’s right.’”
The title “La Futura” even came from Rubin. “He said to me one day, ‘I’ve loved everything you’d done, including those Mexican titles you incorporated,’” Gibbons recalls. “I said, ‘Rick, you’ve brought us into the future.’ He said, ‘How would you say ‘the future’ in Tex-Mex?’ I said, ‘La futura,’ and there it was.”
ZZ Top’s long-awaited follow-up to 2003′s Mescalero is due for release on September 11.