This is Why Velvet Revolver Fired Producer Rick Rubin

  • Axl Rosenberg

Once upon a time, Velvet Revolver’s sophomore offering, Libertad, was supposed to be produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, whose credits surely do not need to be listed here. That didn’t end up happening, though, and the resulting release, produced by the also-quite-famous Brendan O’Brien, is considered by many fans (although not this one) to be a disappointment.

So whatever happened to working with Rubin? In a new interview with Appetite for Distortion, VR rhythm guitarist Dave Kushner finally reveals why the Reign in Blood producer ultimately didn’t end up doing Libertad: money.

“I just don’t think we were ready to make a record [when we made Libertad]. When we did that one, we started with Rick Rubin. He has a very laid back way of making records.

“You just write a bunch of shit, you record it, he listens to it and he goes, ‘Oh, that thing’s good – why don’t you work on that some more?’ When he thinks you’re ready, he’ll say, ‘Alright, let’s make a record.’ But we were getting really impatient.”

Kushner’s description of the way Rubin works lines up with everyone else’s description of the way Rubin works; he’s basically a guru who pops in every now and then and gives the band notes, and people listen to him because, well, he’s produced a ton of hit records. This particular approach to producing seems to be a “love it or hate it” kinda thing; we’ve heard different artists, sometimes within the same band, praise and condemn Rubin’s approach.

But that doesn’t seem to have been the real breaking point for Velvet Revolver. Kushner continues:

“At the time, he charged at two different tiers for new bands and established bands. Because we were a new band in our minds, we thought we would get the cheaper rate, and we got the more expensive rate. Scott flipped out – he was like, ‘Fuck that! I’ll fucking call Brendan O’Brien right now!’ He literally called Brendan, and Brendan was available in like a week and was like, ‘Alright, I’ll come out.’

“That’s literally how we switched producers, and the band agreed to it, because we were getting impatient too. We were like, ‘Alright, Brendan’s great too. Let’s do it.’

“I think that we just weren’t ready, I don’t think the songs were there. I think there’s some great songs on there, but there’s no ‘Slither.’ ‘The Last Fight’ could have been like ‘Fall to Pieces,’ but there was no big hit song.

“I didn’t like the first single being ‘She Builds Quick Machines.’ I was never a huge fan of that song, I fought for ‘Get Out the Door’ to be the first single, it was just a catchier tune.

“I don’t know, it just seemed like we Frankensteined a lot of the songs together during the production process.

“We just weren’t ready.”

Now that seems kinda bonkers to me. It’s hard to imagine any universe in which Velvet Revolver could sincerely justify calling themselves “a new band.” Four-fifths of the group’s line-up were already mega-stars, and their debut album, Contraband, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, and sold four million copies worldwide. New band Rick Rubin’s ass.

Of course, this is all entirely irrelevant now — between the death of Scott Weiland and the Guns N’ Roses reunion, I doubt Velvet Revolver will ever do anything again anyway. But it’s still interesting to hear about this kind of behind-the-scenes drama.

Also interesting: Dave Kushner is alive!!! I was wondering whatever happened to that dude. Remember how Slash misspelled his name as “Dave Kirshner” repeatedly in his autobiography? Does that not just make you wanna weep for the poor fella?

[via Metal Injection]

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