RICK RUBIN, THE CULT's Ian Astbury Talk Electric - "Do You Want To Play Pussy English Music – Or Do You Want To Rock"

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Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 13:23:12 EST

Matt Diehl from Rolling Stone caught up with legendary producer Rick Rubin (METALLICA, SLAYER) and THE CULT frontman Ian Astbury to talk about the band's game-changing Electric album from 1987. Here are a few excerpts from the chat:

How did you guys first get together?

Astbury: "The Cult had just signed with Sire Records, and we came to New York to do a photo shoot for Rolling Stone. We'd started recording with (producer) Steve Brown, but as soon as I heard Rick's work, I was like, 'Stop everything – let's go to New York and find this guy!' Were you still living in a dorm room?"

Rubin: "Yeah, I was still in the NYU dorms!"

Astbury: "When we first met, I was a 23-year-old crazy kid. The next thing I knew, you're showing me a VHS tape of Blue Cheer doing "Summertime Blues," going, 'Do you want to play pussy English music – or do you want to rock?'"

Rubin: (Laughs) "I remember that conversation. I loved Ian's voice, but the music had this meandering, New wave-y softness. I wanted to feel it more. That was Electric's goal: to connect with that rock energy."

Astbury: "We'd already been through the post-punk/postmodern scene since 1981, so it was time to transition. We were going back and discovering all the music we weren't supposed to be listening to – everything pre-1976, early Led Zeppelin records, the Doors and Blue Cheer."

Rubin: "Same thing happened to me. So much of punk, hip-hop and the Eighties New York underground dance scene rejected the whole rock-star thing. When we came back around to LED ZEPPELIN, AC/DC and BLACK SABBATH, it was a revelation."

Astbury: "When I first heard what Rick was doing with the Beastie Boys, I was blown away by how raw and naked it was. Those productions had no agenda other than "to rock," as you used to say!"

Rubin: (Laughs) "All the music I listened to growing up was rock. My goal with hip-hop was to bring more of that aesthetic to it. Electric was my first non-rap record – my first rock record! Everything I'd made up to then was created in the studio with machines and scratching, pretty much doing all the music myself. Electric was my first collaborative effort with a band. It ended up being more exciting. For the majority of time since, I've made more of those kinds of records."

Read more at Rolling Stone.