SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR frontman Corey Taylor says that he wants to make amends with Grammy-winning producer Rick Rubin after bashing him as "overrated" and "overpaid,' and saying he would never work with Rubin again "as long as I fucking live."
During the question-and-answer portion of his 2011 solo show, "An Evening With Corey Taylor", which featured both musical and spoken-word performances, Taylor was asked about working with Rubin on SLIPKNOT's 2004 album, "Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)". He replied in part: "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… 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… 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."
A few weeks later, Taylor told The Pulse Of Radio that he didn't regret what he said about Rubin at all. "It's an honest answer to a perfectly reasonable question," he explained. "That was my take on it. Now if you asked somebody like Clown [Shawn 'Clown' Crahan, SLIPKNOT percussionist] about the Rick Rubin experience, you'd get a totally different answer. But it is what it is. It's my opinion. At the end of the day it's not scripture. I'm gonna say what I'm gonna say — I don't think enough people do. And if it gets me in trouble, it gets me in trouble. If it doesn't, it doesn't. But I'm just gonna keep walking it."
But earlier today, during an interview with Apple Music's Beats 1 radio DJ Zane Lowe, Taylor walked back his comments about Rubin, saying (hear audio below): "I'm gonna be honest: I think it was more on my end than it was on him. Because he works his way, and he always has. I was not used to working that way. You know, I was a young guy, I was also freshly sober, and being a singer and being sober, 'I need your attention, Rick! I need it!' You know? So that was me just being young, unsure of myself, needing the guidance… which i got from [engineer] Greg Fidelman. All of Rick's engineers are essentially his surrogates, so you know that when you're working with him, you should feel like you're working with Rick, because he's got so many different things going on. For me though, being selfish, being a singer... Like I said, I was unsure. I was, basically, an open wound at that point that just needed to heal and I didn't have anybody there to kind of help me. So I blamed him a lot — in retrospect, probably more than I really should have. And, you know, I feel bad about it, and hopefully someday I'll be able to make some amends with him."
Rubin has worked with numerous artists over the years, including AC/DC, the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, Johnny Cash, SLAYER, METALLICA and many more.
Taylor told The Pulse Of Radio at the time that "Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)" was released that working with Rubin took some getting used to. "It was definitely frustrating at first, because Rick is kind of renowned for taking his time and, you know, we definitely took our time on this one, with six and a half months," he said. He sat us down, he's like, 'Do you realize that you can be just as extreme with a whisper as you can with a scream? The heavy stuff, you're obviously very good at, but at the same time, we're gonna break outside of this box.'"
SLIPKNOT guitarist Jim Root told Revolver magazine in 2008: "Rick was really attentive to what we needed as a band.... 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."
In that same interview, Taylor said: "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 . . . if you're going to produce something, you're fucking there. I don't care who you are."
In a 2015 interview with Noisey, Taylor described "Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)" as his "second least favorite" SLIPKNOT album, and recalled how "Rubin famously told me I needed to change the chorus to [the song] 'Before I Forget', because he said it wasn't a strong chorus, and I told him that's just not going to happen. I agreed with him on a couple of occasions, but when it came to that song, I knew it was powerful enough that the chorus would carry it. And then we won a Grammy for it, so y'know. It was very strange, it was a very strange thing. Plus, a lot of things going on behind the scenes with us as far as management went that people don't even know. We were in such disarray, it's amazing it came out in seven months."