The lead story in this week's music section is goddamn hilarious. Dave Hernandez, founding bassist and guitarist in the Shins and current member of Little Cuts and the Intelligence, tells honest, funny, embarrassing stories about awkward encounters he's had with Rick Rubin, Ian MacKaye, and David Lovering.
RIck "draped in a white yogi toga wrap" Rubin
The directions to Rubin's place in the Hollywood Hills led our bulky Ford Econoline, filled with sandwich wrappers and dirty socks, up a dangerously steep and curvy one-lane gravel road. Tightly manicured hedges brushed against the oversize van. The further we climbed, the harder it was to imagine what would happen if someone was coming the other way. We finally came to an elaborate wrought-iron gate that looked like it belonged in The Great Gatsby. A voice came through the intercom, and the gate swung open.
After positioning the van between a Bentley and a perfectly restored vintage Triumph, we exited. There was a distinct Disneyland feel to the surroundings—the eerie feeling that everything from cracks in the walls to the air itself had been meticulously engineered. I wanted to run away screaming.
We entered the house just in time to pass Trent Reznor walking away briskly in a black hoodie. Rubin's assistant (who resembled a horny Anton LaVey) guided us through the taxidermy horror show that was the main hall (dead exotic animals completely surrounding us) to the sitting room where we sat in uncomfortable chairs waiting for Rubin. I made sure Phil and I were sitting right next to each other. He was my spirit animal. My giggling, unable-to-stop-fucking-with-me spirit animal.
Rubin entered, and we rose to greet him like he was the pope. He was draped in a white yogi toga robe wrap sort of thing. Huge head, huge beard, huge face... and absolutely the quietest talker ever. He sat like a Buddha and conversed with James Mercer on a number of topics, at one point asking James to scat (James politely turned him down). He told us he needed us to hear his current project and had his assistant turn the stereo on full blast, playing what Phil explained to me was the band Semisonic. We sat in silence watching Rubin rock back and forth, fingering his prayer beads and grinning at us while the ENTIRE ALBUM played from front to back at a deafening level. At some point, I realized I'd made Phil hold my hand. It was all too much.