475. Rick Rubin: Tuning Into the Creative Cosmos & the Art of Awakening

Rick Rubin

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Rick Rubin, iconic record executive and producer, shares his perspective on the creative process; how to let the subconscious lead, manage the ego in artistic expression, the important role of meditation in his life and the purpose behind his new book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being.

Rick Rubin is an American record producer and the co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, Rubin was the co-founder of Def Jam Records and also established American Recordings. With the Beastie Boys and Run–D.M.C., Rubin helped popularize hip hop music. MTV called him "The most important producer of the last 20 years." In 2007, Rubin was listed among Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Today's guest, for many, requires no introduction. Rick Rubin is an American record executive and producer with one of the best beards in the business. He's the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, founder of American Recordings, and former co-president of Columbia Records. 

He’s worked with a laundry list of hugely successful bands and artists from various genres, including The Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Metallica, The Cult, Weezer, Rage Against the Machine, Johnny Cash to name a few. He has a podcast on the craft of music called Broken Record, and an epic, brand new podcast called Tetragrammaton. This year, he also released his first book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being.

Rick's perspective on life and creativity is truly inspiring and instructive. We recorded this episode at Rick's house in Malibu. It was a blast catching up and distilling his wisdom on life, creativity, and of course, music. We get into all sorts of fun in this episode, including Rick's experience practicing transcendental meditation from a young age, why it took eight years to complete his new book, and why he wasn't interested in writing a book about his career in music. 

Let's get our creative juices flowing with the wisdom of Rick Rubin. Enjoy the ride and as always, share it with some friends.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

00:06:09 — Rick Rubin’s Approach to Vitality & Iconic Role in Music

  • Rick’s health regimen lately and latest approach to vitality
  • The Source Family Starman Meditation
  • Documentary: The Source Family
  • Podcast: Tetragrammaton
  • Podcast: The Broken Record 
  • Giving flowers to The Stooges and Iggy Pop
  • Rick’s role in producing the Electric album by The Cult

00:22:16 — The Purpose Behind Rick’s Book: The Creative Act

00:45:02 — The Essence of Art: Tapping into the Subconscious & Removing Ego

  • Rick’s unique writing process 
  • Tapping into the subconscious for ideas 
  • The role of the ego and intellect in creative projects 
  • Byron Katie: thework.com 
  • How art can easily become overproduced 
  • The sensitivity of artists and prevalence of addiction

01:08:47 — Cultivating a Creative Way of Being & Reframing Self-Doubt

  • The invitation for us all to be creators
  • The impact of meditation on Rick’s life
  • How to reframe self-doubt
  • Marshall Rosenberg's work with a non-violent communication: cnvc.org
  • Rick’s experience working with Johnny Cash and other timeless artists
  • Rick Rubin’s biggest influence in music

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

Rick Rubin: [00:00:00]Whatever happens when you're creating things is about something much biggerthan any of the people involved. It is a spiritual act. It is magic. It's notgreat because we're great. We may be persistent until it's great, but we can'tmake it great.

Luke Storey: [00:00:25]Hey, family, it's your host Luke here from lukestorey.com. This is Episode 475featuring Rick Rubin. Get your hot show notes, links, and transcripts atlukestorey.com/creativity. Now, before we dive in, I want to invite you to joinme and Dr. Christiane Northrup on Friday, June 2nd for a webinar aboutfinancial sovereignty. 

Because over the pastcouple of years, three specifically, I've become increasingly skeptical aboutthe security of our financial systems and more and more interested in investingin gold and silver, so Dr. Northrup and I decided to team up and provide someinfo on how we can all learn to improve our financial security in these rapidlyand wildly changing times. 

Now, this June 2ndwebinar is invite-only, so here's your invitation. Just visitlukestorey.com/goldandsilver or click that link in your show notes to register.And I'll provide some more info for this at the end of the episode. That'slukestorey.com/goldandsilver.

Okay. About today'sguest, who for many requires no introduction. It's likely that anyone here inthis episode has also heard the music he's produced throughout his prolificcareer. Rick Rubin is an American record executive and record producer with oneof the best beards in the business. And if you're watching this video, you canattest to that fact.

He's the co-founderalongside former Life Stylist guest Russell Simmons of Def Jam Recordings,founder of American Recordings, and former co-president of Columbia Records.Rick helped popularize hip hop by producing records for acts such as theBeastie Boys, Geto Boys, Run-DMC, Public Enemy, and LL Cool J. Rick's resume isjust staggering. I checked it out on Wikipedia and tried to make a bio fromthat to present on the show, and there was literally just too much. So I'mgoing to hit some highlights here.

In addition to all thehip-hop stuff he's done, he's produced records for artists from a variety ofother genres, predominantly heavy metal, including Danzig, Metallica, andSlayer. Alternative rock like The Cult, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes,and Weezer. Hard rock bands like Audioslave and Aerosmith. Nu metal acts likeLinkin Park, Rage Against the Machine, and System of a Down, and even countryartists, including Johnny Cash and The Chicks. 

Additionally, he alsoproduced one of my all-time favorite albums, Wildflowers by Tom Petty and thehighly underrated Mick Jagger solo album, Wandering Spirit. In 2007, Rick wascalled the most important producer of the last 20 years by MTV and was named onTime's list of the 100 Most Influential people in the world. So we're lucky tohave him. He regularly gives out sage wisdom on creativity on his Instagram,and has a podcast on the craft of music, of which I am a huge fan called BrokenRecord.

And just this year hereleased his first book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, which forms much ofthe basis of this conversation. Additionally, he's also got an incredible andbrand-new podcast called Tetragrammaton, and I've listened to every singleepisode so far. It is just an epic show. If you want to check that out, Ihighly recommend the recent two-part series with Dr. Jack Kruse and AndrewHuberman. It is mind-blowing stuff. If you want to get in on updates for thenew podcast, you can sign up at tetragrammaton.com. That's also linked in theshow notes. 

So we recorded this episodeat Rick's house in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean, sitting in theCalifornia sun, and hadn't seen him since I left California, so it was a blastcatching up with Rick and distilling his wisdom on life, creativity, and ofcourse, music. We get into all sorts of fun in this episode, including, but notlimited to the following topics.

Rick's experiencepracticing transcendental meditation from a young age, and the various othertechniques he's adopted over the years; how he dealt with two of his homesburning down, and the biohacks he applied to recover from the fire he narrowlyescaped; Rick's new book, and why it took eight years to complete to itsperfection, and why he wasn't interested in writing a book about his career inmusic, and his beliefs around how Spirit speaks to us through art.

Why Rick believeseveryone is a creator of something; self-doubt versus doubt in the work, andremembering that one piece of art doesn't define you as an artist; the processof refining a creative work; managing the ego in artistic expression; thecritical role of presence and creativity; patience, and how impatience is anargument with reality; and how awareness of the context allows for the contentto flow.

Addiction in the musicindustry, and why artists tend to be more sensitive; using nonviolentcommunication in creative collaboration; and how he helped transform the albumElectric by The Cult; the story of Keith Richards dreaming the riff tosatisfaction; and various musings on some of our favorite music, and so muchmore.

This recording wasactually a couple of years in the making, and I got to say it was well worththe wait. Rick's perspective on life and creativity is truly inspiring andinstructive. So with that, let's get our creative juices flowing with thewisdom of Rick Rubin. Enjoy the ride, and as always, share it with somefriends. All right, here we go, Rick Rubin. We're sitting out on the cliffs inMalibu, California, soaking up some of that sunshine. It's great to see you.

Rick Rubin: [00:06:05]Great to see you.

Luke Storey: [00:06:05]So I am ecstatic having the opportunity to have this conversation. It's been along time coming. And it's funny because we've chatted about it before, andwe're in different cities, you're moving around all the time. I leftCalifornia. And then you wrote this incredible book, and I am not 1% blowingsmoke. A, I didn't even know you were working on it for all these years becauseyou're so lowkey. I never have any idea what you're doing. You're producing allthese albums and writing books, and I'm like, oh, cool. 

So you sent me thebook, and I'm in a creative process right now with a book of my own, and it'sbeen so helpful. I mean, just-- yeah, so I can't wait to dig into that. But Inoticed something when we were in your house, I went into the bathroom and youhad all the blue light taped over with red, and I was like-- I rarely go intosomeone's house and find that they've adopted that habit. What's been yourhealth regimen lately? You got the sauna and the cold plunge. And I know youjust did an interview with Jack Kruse, and we haven't talked about that stuffin a while. What's your latest approach to vitality?

Rick Rubin: [00:07:17]I think it's pretty much more the same. I'm trying to think if anything new hasgotten added in, but all the classics, sauna, ice, red light, don't take a tonof supplements. I take some, but not a ton. I do long barefoot walks on thebeach every morning. That's my main athletic activity these days.

Luke Storey: [00:07:46]Yeah, that sounds about right.

Rick Rubin: [00:07:47]I'm doing this Tai Chi ruler exercise that I like a lot that I learned fromPaul Chek. That's really nice. Yeah. I do the Source Family starman meditationevery day.

Luke Storey: [00:08:04]Are you serious?

Rick Rubin: [00:08:05]I do.

Luke Storey: [00:08:06]What's that consist of?

Rick Rubin: [00:08:07]It's you stand in the Vitruvian Man position with your left hand up and yourright hand down, and you do breath of fire for 108 breaths. And then do a bigbreath in, exhale. You put your fingers in the moon points in these littlespaces and imagine the energy leaving your body into the ground. You do threeof those, and then I usually pray. And then I go back into the starman positionand concentrate on the energy of the sun and the grounding working through mybody. 

And something about thearms being in the arm position creates this cross at the heart. And almostfeels like the positive and negative charge. I don't know that that's actuallyhow it works, but it feels like something happens in this process, and I likethe way it feels.

Luke Storey: [00:09:22]That's cool. Does that have anything to do with the Source Family?

Rick Rubin: [00:09:26]Yeah.

Luke Storey: [00:09:27]Oh, this is their thing?

Rick Rubin: [00:09:28]Father Yod, the cult leader who started the Source Family, that's hismeditation.

Luke Storey: [00:09:33]Incredible documentary, by the way. We'll put it in the show notes atlukestorey.com/luke. That was one of the coolest old school LA--

Rick Rubin: [00:09:41]Yeah. I feel like the documentary was good, but it wasn't great, and we'rehoping to make a great one.

Luke Storey: [00:09:46]Really?

Rick Rubin: [00:09:47]Yeah.

Luke Storey: [00:09:47]Wow.

Rick Rubin: [00:09:48]And also that documentary was made before-- the way to see documentaries hasbecome so mainstreamed that it's a little seen documentary. So it's anopportunity to shine more light on this beautiful story.

Luke Storey: [00:10:03]That's very cool. I remember when I first moved to LA in '89, they still hadthe Source restaurant up on Sunset, and that was one of the only places youcould get vegetarian food.

Rick Rubin: [00:10:13]Yeah. I used to eat there. I didn't eat there regularly, but I lived close byand would go there sometimes, and I just liked the ambiance and the feelingthere.

Luke Storey: [00:10:21]Yeah. Then it became a tequila swigging taco place or something. I was like,well, that's a departure. So you learned to meditate when you were quite youngdoing TM. Were you at 14 or young teen?

Rick Rubin: [00:10:35]Yeah, 14.

Luke Storey: [00:10:35]How did that come to be?

Rick Rubin: [00:10:37]Something that the doctor suggested, and it changed my life.

Luke Storey: [00:10:43]And is that something--

Rick Rubin: [00:10:44]Very lucky that it happened.

Luke Storey: [00:10:46]I mean, every kid needs that. We'd have a different world if that was happening.Is the TM, specifically that technique, something that you continued to dabblewith or have some regularity?

Rick Rubin: [00:10:58]It is. I've done TM on and off since I was 14, usually for years at a time, andthen I take breaks where I learn something new. I did years of vipassana anddifferent practices, but typically in the same the idea that there'll be amorning session and an afternoon session or evening before dinner session. Andnow the Tai Chi is in the evening session where that used to be second TM. butthere's always something going on.

Luke Storey: [00:11:30]Have you ever worked with Joe Dispenza guided meditations?

Rick Rubin: [00:11:34]I have. Actually just interviewed Joe Dispenza for the new Tetragramatonpodcast.

Luke Storey: [00:11:41]No way. Give your new podcast a shout out. And do you know when you're going tolaunch it yet?

Rick Rubin: [00:11:44]It may be as soon as tomorrow, but maybe not.

Luke Storey: [00:11:47]Oh, cool. Okay. So likely by the time this comes out.

Rick Rubin: [00:11:50]I imagine.

Luke Storey: [00:11:51]Yeah. Joe's incredible guy.

Rick Rubin: [00:11:53]Yeah, he's great.

Luke Storey: [00:11:54]He's really tapped into something with the science and spirituality combo. Ifeel like it's a great, not necessarily entry point because you can go prettyfar with it, but it will bring in left and right brain dominant people, right?

Rick Rubin: [00:12:11]Yes.

Luke Storey: [00:12:12]Because you have the science to back up the woo woo and you have the woo woothat gives you the effects you're looking for. When you first were going tolaunch that podcast, Matt Maruca was going to be a host or one of the hosts,and he interviewed me for it at Shangri-La. And then for whatever reason, itdidn't come out and I was like, oh man, that was a really good moment. So Ijust put the recording out a couple of years ago on my show because we had agreat chat about addiction and all this stuff. So I'm excited it's comingback. 

And I've been alsobinging on the Broken Record podcast, which I knew that you had something to dowith it, but I didn't realize you did so many of the interviews. And they'rejust fascinating. And you're asking the questions that I would ask musicians.Because I used to play in bands and stuff, and I'm obsessed with music. Oddly,we never talk about music because we're sharing weird memes and stuff and justhave a different communication, but is that something you're going to continuewith as well?

Rick Rubin: [00:13:13]I think from now on, everything will be in under the Tetragrammaton banner, andthe whole idea of starting Tetragrammaton was to talk to people that I wouldn'ttalk to for Broken Record. But I'm sure over time I'll definitely speak tomusicians again. But I like the idea of broadening the palette because I'vedone that for the last five years. I've pretty much interviewed musicians andnow I like the idea of just talking to interesting people that I'm interestedin.

Luke Storey: [00:13:43]Yeah, what does that name mean?

Rick Rubin: [00:13:45]Tetragrammaton?

Luke Storey: [00:13:46]Yeah.

Rick Rubin: [00:13:46]Tetragrammaton is the four symbols that are the unspeakable name for the, youcan say the Godhead.

Luke Storey: [00:14:00]Really?

Rick Rubin: [00:14:01]Yeah.

Luke Storey: [00:14:01]Oh, that's cool. That's a really great name. I'm looking forward to that. Yeah.I mean, I've listened to a bunch of the interviews, but maybe my favorite wasthe three-part Iggy Pop.

Rick Rubin: [00:14:12]Yeah, that was great. He's amazing. And there's a follow up to be done, becausewhen we finished that first group, we said, okay, we're going to do this again.We almost did it again the following week, but we haven't done it yet justbecause schedules go crazy. But we'll definitely do more. There's so much totalk about with him.

Luke Storey: [00:14:33]I feel like he needs more coverage. He's more iconic than the media gives himcredit for, almost. It's like he just-- there's not a lot of Iggy Pop media outthere, and he's just such an epic artist.

Rick Rubin: [00:14:47]He's unbelievable. An original. And the fact that the Stooges were happening atthe same time in the world as the Beatles, it's unbelievable. Because theBeatles seems like forever ago, but Iggy feels current.

Luke Storey: [00:15:06]Right. Totally. Yeah. I never thought about it that way. That's reallyinteresting. Yeah. Such a future-thinking artistic endeavor. You hear thatthing, oh, they were ahead of their time. They were really ahead of their time.

Rick Rubin: [00:15:22]But I asked him about that. Why do I think of him as a modern artist and theBeatles as something from the past? And he said, "Because the Beatles werepopular right out of the box and nobody cared about us." So in a way, bynobody caring about us, the Stooges, we don't have as strong of a timestampassociated with them. They're just something that's been in the air. But theydidn't have a moment. So we think of the Beatles' moment as '64 to 1970. I thinkthey broke up.

Luke Storey: [00:15:55]Yeah, that's interesting. I guess it seems like that when someone takes thatlong to really catch on, it's like they have more of a lifespan, even thoughthere's only a few albums to speak of.

Rick Rubin: [00:16:07]Yeah. But then all the solo albums are so incredible. Just unbelievablecharacter. 

Luke Storey: [00:16:13]Yeah. Lust for Life is probably my all-time favorite work.

Rick Rubin: [00:16:17]It's beautiful.

Luke Storey: [00:16:18]When I was playing music, I was not that successful at it, which is probablywhy I don't do it anymore, but I had one session once where Hunt Sales was thedrummer and I was just-- I mean, that's the Lust for Life drummer. It was oneit was one of the coolest moments of that period.

Rick Rubin: [00:16:38]And he was the drummer in David Bowie's--

Luke Storey: [00:16:40]And Tin Machine.

Rick Rubin: [00:16:41]Yeah, Tin Machine.

Luke Storey: [00:16:43]Yeah. Well, I could talk to you about music all day long. You already have abunch of podcasts about that. And I want to talk about the creative process yououtlined in the book. But there's actually two things in music. One is back in,I'm not sure if it's '88 or '89, I was really into The Cult album Electric thatyou produced. And I didn't even realize that until, I don't know, a while ago.And then I was in LA on Melrose at Retail Slut or one of those indie recordstores and I found a bootleg of The Cult Electric's first version.

Rick Rubin: [00:17:19]Yeah. Before I worked on it.

Luke Storey: [00:17:20]Yeah. It was all echoey and it sounded like their previous album. Tons ofreverb just drenched in ambient sound. And then Electric was this really dryAC, DC, very direct, not a lot of effects, and killer tambourine really loud inthe mix, which was interesting. So I've always been curious, what role did youplay in just changing that sound so dramatically?

Rick Rubin: [00:17:45]The Cult Electric was the very first rock album I ever produced, and I wasstill living at the dorm at NYU, and we recorded it at Electric Lady, which isright down the block. It was a two-block walk from my dorm room. And I thinkit's the first album or first thing I ever recorded in a proper recordingstudio. I'd already produced some hip hop records, but in very questionablespaces. But Electric Lady is proper.

Luke Storey: [00:18:18]Very much so.

Rick Rubin: [00:18:21]And The Cult had heard hip hop records I had done and asked me to remix twosongs. In their mind, their album was already done, and they asked me to remixtwo songs for their album. And they came from London to New York, and we wentinto Electric Lady and we started remixing the songs. And I realized based onthe way the songs were recorded, I couldn't get the remix to do what I wouldwant it to do. So I asked them to replay them, and they replayed them. And thenonce we did that, the experience was good. 

And I remember suggesting,well, we should just re-record the whole album, maybe just make a differentalbum than the one that you made. And they agreed. We did. But it was notintentional. It was funny because they were on Warner Brothers Records here.They were on Beggars Banquet in the UK. We didn't really have the budget todo-- they had a budget to do the remix, and we just carried on and made a wholenew album.

Luke Storey: [00:19:31]With the remix budget?

Rick Rubin: [00:19:32]Well, I'm sure we spent much more, but I don't even know how it actuallyhappened, but it did happen. I guess the restrictions weren't in place to stopcrazy people from making crazy things.

Luke Storey: [00:19:47]Yeah, that was the soundtrack to whatever year that came out. And I wasactually listening to it the other day just to reflect on that when Iremembered you produced it, and one of the best shows I ever saw was The Culton that tour with Guns N Roses opening at the Warfield in San Francisco. Imean, as far as rock and roll shows go, one of the best ever. One of the mostmemorable.

Rick Rubin: [00:20:11]Amazing.

Luke Storey: [00:20:12]So I think most people view you as an anomaly in the creative world and in themusic world through all of these years of meditation, and yoga, and doing theTai Chi, and all of this stuff. And as is made abundantly clear in your book,you have a very mystical approach to the creative process, and it seems to beimbued with just a spiritual underpinning. And knowing you a bit and havingspent some time with you, you really seem like you truly embody the practices.you were always-- anytime I've interacted with you, you're the same person.Super chill.

And this was madeabundantly clear to me when I sent condolences for the house that had burneddown here in Malibu. And I'll never forget the reply. I mean, I was almostlike, oh, is it too soon? When someone dies, you want to just lay off. And Ithought, no, I think it's appropriate to say, man, you know, sorry for yourloss kind of thing. And you texted me back, "Wild nature, man."That's all you said. And I was like, huh. Okay. Either he's putting on a goodgame face or he's really okay with that. What was that experience like for you?

Rick Rubin: [00:21:33]Well, it's the reality of, it happened. It was out of our control. Our wholeneighborhood burned, or a lot of our neighborhood burned. In the house, youknow, all of our possessions burned. My library, so many things. And I thinkthe reality of, well, we can be really bummed, but it won't change anything.And let's look forward and let's not look back. And we went to Hawaii and had agreat time.

Luke Storey: [00:22:10]Wow. Do you ever think about any heirlooms or any possessions to which you hadattachment?

Rick Rubin: [00:22:15]Almost none. There's one. It comes up with books sometimes where I get an ideafor something, and I think about, oh, there's this book. I have to referencethis book. I have that book. It's like, oh, I don't have that book. So thathappens often. So with books, that happens often. And the only other objectthat I have any emotional connection to was there was a TV evangelist named Dr.Gene Scott who smoked a cigar, was really mean, and was a great teacher. And Iwas really a fan of him. He was a crazy-- I think of him in the same way that Iwould think of someone like Andy Kaufman.

He was a brilliantperformance artist, happened to be a TV evangelist. And I loved him. And I metsomeone who was his right-hand man. And he used to wear these funny hats, alldifferent kinds of hats. And after Dr. Gene Scott passed away, the right-handman gave me one of Dr. Gene Scott's favorite hats that he would wear on theshow. And it's a, again, it wouldn't mean anything to anyone else, but the factthat I had this thing that this person that I thought so much about, it feltlike a special object.

Luke Storey: [00:23:50]Right. I was reflecting on that experience as we stepped out here in the lawnof this other house in which we were living here in Malibu, and I thought-- becausewhen that house burned down too, I mean, I felt bad because it was just such aunique and creative house. I mean, it was like this English Tudor with thispostmodern art on it. It was just very, very cool architecture, verythoughtful, just minimal, and zen, and just a beautiful space with greatenergetic. 

So I was like, oh God,that's so irreplaceable. But I walked out here and I was like, huh, it's sointeresting. One could say, from one perspective, that was the best thing ever,because you have an ocean view now. I mean, that house had an ocean view, butit wasn't on the ocean. And here you are, and everything is well.

Rick Rubin: [00:24:40]It all works out.

Luke Storey: [00:24:42]The stranger thing, perhaps about that fire situation, which I've never knownanyone to lose a house in a fire, I get a text from you a couple of years ago,do you have any-- where I can get some methylene blue.

Rick Rubin: [00:24:55]Recent. It was within the last year.

Luke Storey: [00:24:57]Was it? Okay. So I was living in Texas a year then. Okay. I said, methyleneblue, yeah, sure, Rick. Here's the link. And you're like, no, I need it rightnow. And I didn't know exactly what was going on, but I put together a carepackage. You had a messenger come and then you said, yeah, I was in a housefire and I'm sick. And I'm like, a house fire? I mean, what was the experienceof having that happen again and be present?

Rick Rubin: [00:25:20]Terrifying. This time was scarier because we were actually in the fire. And itwas, in my case, very close to me not being here. So I'm very thankful forevery breath that I get to take, because there was a moment where I thoughtthat would not be the case.

Luke Storey: [00:25:42]Wow. It was that gnarly, huh?

Rick Rubin: [00:25:43]Absolutely.

Luke Storey: [00:25:44]So is what you were going through just detoxing from the smoke inhalation andthings.

Rick Rubin: [00:25:49]Yeah. I inhaled lots of smoke, and when I got out of the burning building, mypulse ox was 82, I think. And it just wasn't good. It was not a good situation.

Luke Storey: [00:26:07]Oh my God. And did you go through any similar letting go of attachment ormourning over that one, or was it so new that you hadn't really created it as ahome?

Rick Rubin: [00:26:22]Well, what's interesting about that was it was our new home and we were reallyexcited about it. So there was this sense of fresh start in this new place. Andwe found this beautiful home. It used to be owned by Donald Judd, incredibleartist. And it was over a 100 years old and just a magical place. So we werevery excited about living there. And then I think this was maybe the end of thefirst week that we moved in, and unexpected.

Luke Storey: [00:26:56]Oh my God. Wow.

Rick Rubin: [00:26:58]But again, gratitude. We're out. As long as we're safe and the family survives,again, it is ultimately just stuff.

Luke Storey: [00:27:12]It puts things into perspective. It reminds me of one of Ram Dass's greatstories about how he realized he had attachments to all these old photos of hisguru and all of the collectibles that he had acquired over the years. And thenhe, at one point, saw that attachment and went and threw them all away. Andthen ended up going out and digging in the trash for some of the photos. He'slike, I wasn't quite there. He got a little ahead of himself.

Rick Rubin: [00:27:36]That's really funny.

Luke Storey: [00:27:37]Yeah. He has so many great stories. That's one of them.

Rick Rubin: [00:27:42]Ram Dass was probably the first spiritual teacher that I saw speak or I feltlike, this is my guy. He was the first one where I really felt the connection.And Thich Nhat Hanh would have been the second one where I really felt likethis person speaks to me. Because there are so many-- we get to meet so manygreat, interesting people, and some of them are just not for us. It's certainfrequencies are right for certain people.

Luke Storey: [00:28:18]Have you noticed that as you go through phases of just having a different tastein music or the arts with spiritual teachings and yoga, that there might be ateacher that takes you to a certain level of understanding or development, andthen it's not that it goes flat, but you just don't resonate anymore becauseyou get it?

Rick Rubin: [00:28:38]Yeah. Once you get it-- 

Luke Storey: [00:28:40]And then you find someone else who's at a different level. Yeah. I've had thathappen a few times and felt a moment of guilt, like, oh, I should be stickingwith this. But it's like, oh, I wore it out. I got everything I could.

Rick Rubin: [00:28:53]And I don't think there are any rules about this stuff. We can see what feelsgood, and try it on, and it stays interesting as long as it stays interesting.

Luke Storey: [00:29:05]Yeah. Okay. So with the book here, which I always like to show the book in thevideos, it's called The Creative Act: A Way of Being. And as I was saying, I'mjust-- first I got the audio book even though you had sent it to me, I got theaudio book because I can digest things better that way at times.

Rick Rubin: [00:29:24]Me too.

Luke Storey: [00:29:25]Really?

Rick Rubin: [00:29:26]I prefer it.

Luke Storey: [00:29:26]Have you noticed-- I mean, you're probably not on your phone as much as I am,but I feel like social media and phones have destroyed my ability to read aphysical book. Have you noticed that?

Rick Rubin: [00:29:35]I think there's something to that. There's something to it. I also know that Idon't-- I like being able to close my eyes when I listen. And I can't do thatwhen I'm reading.

Luke Storey: [00:29:45]Yeah. That's true. Yeah.

Rick Rubin: [00:29:47]I like to sometimes-- on my long morning walks, I always am listening to eithera book on tape or a podcast.

Luke Storey: [00:29:56]Yeah. Well, I tested that theory because I was just on a retreat with my wifein central California, and there was no cell service, which I loved. There wasno cell towers around. You know me and the EMFs. But it was really interesting.And I brought your book with me. In one day, I felt like I could start to readagain. I was like, oh shit, the old me. We're back.

And so reading it hasgiven me even a deeper appreciation because the way that the book's written, itreminds me of the Dao or Zen teachings. It's like, so many short sentences.It's very minimalist. It's not wordy. When I write, I mean, I have to edit fordays to make it digestible. But because this book is written in suchsimplicity, it was a great book to reenter into the reading because I couldtake one sentence and really go slowly and go back and back and make sure thatI wasn't moving on until I had really integrated the teaching.

So it's been it's beenactually good timing for me to have something that I could dig my teeth into asI start to go, you know what, I really need to read. And you can't do that whenyou listen to audiobook. You're not going to be like, rewind, the whole time.It's too distracting.

Rick Rubin: [00:31:12]I do rewind a lot, though, I will tell you.

Luke Storey: [00:31:14]You do on audiobook?

Rick Rubin: [00:31:14]I absolutely do. And I listen a little slower than normal. I usually listen at0.9, not all the way up to one.

Luke Storey: [00:31:23]Interesting.

Rick Rubin: [00:31:24]I listen at 0.9, and I will rewind.

Luke Storey: [00:31:28]What are you currently listening to? Anything tickling your fancy right now?

Rick Rubin: [00:31:33]Let me see. I was listening-- I could tell you-- A Swim In The Pond In TheRain. It's a book about writing, and it's beautiful. I just started it. Afriend of mine recommended it, and I'm loving it.

Luke Storey: [00:31:46]What was the process of writing your book? I think you said that you had workedon it for-- no, Neil told me that it was four years in the making, but then Ithink I heard eight.

Rick Rubin: [00:31:55]It was eight years in the making.

Luke Storey: [00:31:56]Eight years?

Rick Rubin: [00:31:57]Yeah. It was eight years. Maybe Neil was involved in the last four. But it'sbeen a long, complicated project. But it is exactly what it's supposed to be.So whatever it took to get there, that's the way you get there.

Luke Storey: [00:32:19]And I've heard you say that when you started talking about wanting to do a bookof this nature, that some people felt that that wasn't a great idea.

Rick Rubin: [00:32:27]Yes. Everyone I spoke to.

Luke Storey: [00:32:30]Really?

Rick Rubin: [00:32:30]Yeah. 

Luke Storey: [00:32:31]It was unanimous?

Rick Rubin: [00:32:32]Pretty unanimous. And both from-- I met with publishers, none of whom wantedthat book. They still would have done it, but always with this idea that theycould, it seemed like they had in mind trying to convince me along the way tomake it a different book, the book that they wanted. The book that they wantedthat they believed everyone else wanted.

Luke Storey: [00:32:56]Which would be presumably a book about all these stories about your musicalendeavors.

Rick Rubin: [00:33:01]Yeah. More of a memoir or stories about the people that I've worked with. Butthat's not what the book is at all. It's not about me, and it's not directlyabout my experiences. It is about now, since working on the book. I've beenable to distill about the experiences I've had into principles that would behelpful to someone else. 

And it's a differentbook. And even with the same information that's in the book, if I told you thecircumstances that those principles came from, it would create more distancefor the reader and those principles. If I told the story as Tom Petty did this,then you think, oh, Tom Petty is a genius. Of course, he did that.

Luke Storey: [00:34:02]Right.

Rick Rubin: [00:34:03]You think about it as a sensational story about someone who's amazing. OrRun-DMC did this, or whoever it is. It changes it when an artist can look at itthis way. The way the book is written, it invites the reader to participate inthe book. It's for the reader. It's not to tell stories about other people.It's written so that the reader participates in what's happening in thisbook. 

There are things forthe reader to think about. And the book never tells you what to do. It invitesyou to think about it in a new way, or in a different way, or in a past way, orin a future way, or in a smaller way, or in a bigger way. To change yourrelationship to the things that you're doing.

Luke Storey: [00:35:02]Well, that was one interesting part about it too. It's not veryself-referential. There's very few times where you say, oh, and then I wasdoing this or that.

Rick Rubin: [00:35:11]Yeah. Almost none. I was hoping there'd be none. But the ones that are there doserve a purpose.

Luke Storey: [00:35:18]Would it have been boring or redundant to you to write the book that everyoneelse wanted?

Rick Rubin: [00:35:24]It's just not interesting to me. I had no interest in writing that book.

Luke Storey: [00:35:28]Yeah. I sense that about you. It's like you're such a renowned, iconic personin the field of music and doing all of these incredible things, but you have acertain, uh, discretion and humility about you that is rare in theentertainment industry.

Rick Rubin: [00:35:50]Well, I know it's not about me. I know that. I know it's not. And I know it'swhatever happens when you're creating things is about something much biggerthan any of the people involved. It is a spiritual act. It is magic. It's notgreat because we're great. We may be persistent until it's great, but we can'tmake it great. We can recognize it's great. And if we recognize it's great,then we can share it. And if we are working on it and we don't recognize it'sgreat, we got to keep working on it until we recognize it's great.

Luke Storey: [00:36:36]That was one thing that I really enjoyed. Have you read the book Bird by Birdby Anne Lamott? This writing your shitty first draft. It's just, get all theideas out, they suck, they're sloppy, and then it's the process of refinement.And one of my favorite parts of the book is where you talk about that processof like-- well, there's a few different formula that you lay out, but in onesense, generally, to not-- in other words, don't start to edit your work untilyou've gotten it all out. Can you speak to that a little bit? Because that'sbeen a really helpful tool for me in all things creative.

Rick Rubin: [00:37:13]Yes. I know some artists who'll start a song and then until that song isabsolutely perfect, they can't move on to another song. And sometimes thatworks out fine and it happens quickly, and then other times they're stuck fordays, weeks, months, and they're just stuck. And we don't even know if that's asong that matters in the context of things. So we don't need to make everysingle thing we make great. The things we need to make great are the ones thatwe get to share.

And we need to-- maybeneed is not the right word. We get to work on lots of different things. Andthen the ones where we have the most support from the universe become clear.There are some there can be can be working on two projects. We get to make lotsof things, and some of them we find almost complete themselves, and other ones,no matter what we do, they fight us. 

Now, we can choose tofight with them as long as we want, and we can also at some point see, well,these other five are coming so easily. This one, I think it's a good idea, butI'm not getting anywhere. Two different approaches. One would be to either getall the rest of the material that you can as far along as it can, and then comeback around to the most difficult one after you have the momentum of making alot of other things that you feel really good about, then you're not a quarterof a way into the project and get stuck.

When you're 95% througha project and you have the 5% left, it's much less daunting. It's much less--and so so much of what the book talks about is really psychological things thatwe-- ways that we undermine ourselves without knowing and ways of trickingourselves into making it easier.

Luke Storey: [00:39:37]Well, I like that idea of getting the bulk of it done and leaving the thing yougot stuck on. It feels like a leverage to me. That the momentum is a leverage.

Rick Rubin: [00:39:46]It's exactly what it is. Yeah. When you're 20% in or 25% in and you get stuck,it's like, I'm never going to be able to finish this. But when you're at 90%done and you get stuck, like, I'm almost done anyway. Do you know what I mean?You realize, maybe this part doesn't even need to be in it. You get to decidethat, and you have more confidence. You're coming from a more confident placeto address it.

Luke Storey: [00:40:18]And also less attachment to the ideas that came earlier and easier to kill yourbabies, as they call it. I find that with editing copy, it's like when I'mwriting something, I'll know, ah, this is pretty wordy, but it's got to be inthere. It's just so juicy. And then going back and realizing there was so manywords that were unnecessary. I think that's been really instrumental for myprocess of reading your book is I think there had to have been more words inhere.

Rick Rubin: [00:40:46]There were.

Luke Storey: [00:40:47]Right. Because it's written, as I said, so succinctly.

Rick Rubin: [00:40:51]My interest was having--

Luke Storey: [00:40:52]There's no fat left.

Rick Rubin: [00:40:54]No words that didn't need to be there and not one sentence that didn't need tobe there. It had to-- every sentence has a purpose. And how can we get awaywith the least amount of information making the clearest point?

Luke Storey: [00:41:09]Is this one of the reasons that it was such a long process to get this thingcompleted?

Rick Rubin: [00:41:15]No, it was a long process because I didn't know any of the material in thebook. So the first four years was really gathering the material of the book.And then once I had all the material, I realized I had no idea what the form orthe structure or the shape of the book was. But there was a part of me thatfelt like it was already done four years ago when, well, all of the conceptsare clear to me now. I know what all this material is, but it was a 1000 pagesin no order of just ideas.

From the beginning,nothing was done with any form. There was no structure from the beginning. Itwas looking at it-- sometimes I would come home from the studio, and somethinggood happened in the studio that day, and I would examine, is the thing thathappened in the studio today applicable to someone else or is it too specific?Is it a word choice that just worked, or is it some method that we used that ifyou zoom out from the specifics of it, it's a method that might be useful tosomeone else?

So it was collectingthose on a daily basis, anything that was working. And then once I had a bunchof those, I started looking back over choices made in the past and try tounderstand why they were made. Because when making the choices in the moment,there's not a concept associated with it. It's just instinct. So reverseengineering the instinct. Yes, that worked. Why did it work? Why did that work?And trying to understand it. And then once I understood it or when it waspossible to understand, is that something that's helpful to someone else?

Luke Storey: [00:43:17]It's interesting that you refer to the book as writing it for the reader, forthem to get some utility out of. But one of the things you also talk about inthe book is how important it is for artists to really create art for themselvesthat they love and let go of the attachment of how it's going to be perceivedor any monetary success, etc.

And there was a DavidBowie quote that I'll butcher, but something to the effect toward the end ofhis life, someone was interviewing him about his career and they said, "Doyou have any regrets?" And he said his only regret was playing to theaudience, doing gigs where he was like, oh, I got to put in China Girl orwhatever. He didn't really feel it, but he's like, well, that's what they want.And I found that really interesting.

Rick Rubin: [00:44:07]Yeah. Well, I don't look at the book so much as an art project. It is, but itsprimary function in from the beginning was I'm doing this to be of service toother people. And as beautiful as the language of the book could have been, ifit didn't get the reaction of somebody wanting to stop reading to go makesomething because they're inspired, then there's no use. Because I'm notinterested in flying the flag of how great anything is. It's this really has apurpose. 

And it was from thebeginning and in the lineage of the books that have made me inspired. Youmentioned the Dao. The Dao is a book that inspires me. And one of the thoughtsfrom the beginning was a book about creativity that in some ways is like theDao. It's not a version of the Dao. It doesn't follow the Dao. But the Daoinvites you to participate. It changes.

As you change. The Daochanges. Yeah. And I wanted a book that was as open and poetic as the Dao,where as you change, the book will change. It's not so specific. It's not so--and in that openness, it allows the reader to inhabit the book. And that was,again, done on purpose.

Luke Storey: [00:45:40]Yeah. So in a sense, the book was written for you because your desire was to beof service to creators.

Rick Rubin: [00:45:48]It's true. And it's a book that I wish I had. When I was 20 years old, if Iwould have had this book, I would have been dangerous.

Luke Storey: [00:45:58]I know.

Rick Rubin: [00:45:59]I wish I would have known this.

Luke Storey: [00:46:03]There's another overarching theme in the book wherein, and you alluded to thisearlier, where the art is not originating in the artist. It's in a matter ofthem being tuned into the field, to the quantum, to the cosmos, wherever youwant to call it. There's this infinite record of information and data out therefloating around, and the artist isn't so much responsible for creating itbecause it already exists. It's that tuning in. 
And it reminded me of a Keith Richards story where he talks about the riff forsatisfaction. I mean, maybe the most iconic rock and roll guitar riff ofall-time. And the story goes, according to him, that he was on tour sleeping ina hotel room, and he dreamt that riff. You know the story?

Rick Rubin: [00:46:49]No.

Luke Storey: [00:46:49]Yeah, he dreamt the riff, and they used to have those little cassette recorderslaying around. And he woke up, and hit record, and went. And fell back asleep.And then woke up and was like, oh, what was the song? And he had it recorded. Imean, who knows if he's telling the truth.

It's a great storyanyway, but it speaks to that principle that it's like these ideas are outthere. And that also to me is interesting because not only does the ego not getto take credit for a great work, but the ego doesn't beat you up for thecritiques and the disappointment of how it's received either. Because it's notreally you doing it.

Rick Rubin: [00:47:31]Exactly true.

Luke Storey: [00:47:33]Could you elaborate on your perspective on that a little bit?

Rick Rubin: [00:47:37]Yeah. There's two parts. We're antenna, and there's our subconscious. And oursubconscious is a store of everything we've experienced in our life. We may notremember it, but it's there. And when we see something that's beautiful to us,something speaks to us, there's always something behind it. We may not knowwhat it is, but it either reminds us of something that we've experienced. Itconnects to some old idea, even though it looks new when it's happening. 

And so there's thisvast store of information in our subconscious. And if we can find ways to tapinto that, which includes things like dreaming-- dreaming is subconscious, orautomatic writing, allows our subconscious to participate. Or I talk aboutdistraction in the book, where if you do something that occupies part of yourbrain enough to keep yourself busy, you can free up another part of yourcreative brain that, if you're sitting focused trying to solve a problem, canbe harder to solve. 

So if I'm tasked with solvinga problem, I won't sit and try to solve it. I'll go for a swim, and I'll holdit loosely. I'll think of it loosely, and I'll be swimming. First I might talkto myself about the problem a little bit while I'm swimming, and then very soonI forget, focusing on my breathing, focusing on-- and then 20 minutes into theswim, maybe, oh, a breakthrough comes. But it's not when I'm looking for it. Somuch of it is letting go of the intellectual. I think the making of art is notan intellectual activity. The intellect happens after.

Something happens byaccident, and we recognize it's beautiful. We might then try to understand whyit's beautiful. But the first thought isn't, it's beautiful because of this.Never. We never know why to start. The explanation is always a secondarylayover, and it may be right, and it may be wrong, the secondary layover. Andthat speaks to everything in life is that we don't really know anything. Andwhen we experience things, we'll have an immediate reaction, a possible scenario,to explain something that doesn't make sense. 

Something happens,doesn't make sense. We'll come up with some possible thin excuse for why thatmay have happened. And just as soon as we get to that point of, oh, maybe it'sthis, then we can let it go. And we do this all day long. And then later, if wewere asked about what happened, we would tell the thin excuse as what happened.We wouldn't get to, well, I don't know what happened. Some mystical thinghappened. Maybe it was this. It stops becoming, maybe it was this, as soon asyou move on, and it became, that's the story that's stamped in us. And it'smade up in the instant. 

In the moment when wehave that story, if we would say, let's come up with five other possibilities,we could do that at same time and they would all be equally valid. But if wedon't do that in the moment, one gets stamped in, and then that becomes thestory of our lives. So we live our lives through a series of made up storiesmost of which are not true.

Luke Storey: [00:52:01]Absolutely. Did you ever get into the work of Byron Katie?

Rick Rubin: [00:52:04]Absolutely. I interviewed her for the podcast.

Luke Storey: [00:52:06]You did? Oh man.

Rick Rubin: [00:52:07]Yeah, for the new podcast.

Luke Storey: [00:52:08]I interviewed her years ago for this one. I was so nervous. It was like I wasinterviewing, I don't know, a celebrity. She is a celebrity to me, but I gainedso much to what you're speaking to there from her work of, the intellect saysthis thing happened and I'm upset about it. Is that true? Yeah, it's true.Well, can you really know that it's true? Who would you be without thatthought?

I got so much out ofthat perspective that you're speaking to now because it applies to the creativeprocess, of course, but also, I observe just in day-to-day life, if I get afeeling that I can't quite identify and it's uncomfortable, I literally watchmy mind try to make meaning out of it and create a story because it's as if theintellect thinks if it can wrestle some logic around it, that the feeling willchange when it often has the tendency to actually get you caught in the trap ofit.

And the fastest waythrough it is actually just really feeling, okay, this is really uncomfortable.I don't need to know why or what it means. It's just a sensation in my bodythat I have to just move through. But it's funny because I never really appliedthat to the creative process as you've done. It's really a universal principle.

Rick Rubin: [00:53:26]It's a universal principle, and the way you can get trapped in it is, let'ssay, you don't really know what you're doing, you make something, it's reallygood. You come up with a story of what you think it was. It's made up, may notbe. And now you live your life thinking, I know how to do this. This is how Ido it. I know how to make good things. I did it that time. I know how I did itthat time. And the story you have may have nothing to do with why it's good.And you get caught in these little traps of-- it really comes down to any typeof, I'll say, arrogance. The arrogance of thinking we know what we're doing. Itgets in the way.

Luke Storey: [00:54:16]Yeah.

Rick Rubin: [00:54:18]I think this the safest place to start from is childlike naive freedom. Wedon't know anything. We hold our beliefs very softly, and see in the moment,where, what's happening in the moment? How does it make me feel? I may want toknow why, and it may be knowable, and it may not be knowable. And it doesn'tmatter. All that matters is you have this experience. 

All I know is I likethis one. And now I can mentally say, yeah, but if I do this, this, and this toit, it's going to be better. And then I decide that. And then I put this, this,and this on it, and I look at it, and I have two choices now. I can either lookat it with the eyes of, I thought it would be better with this, this, and this.Now it has this, this, and this. Check, check, check. It's done.

Or you could say I hadthis thing that I liked, and now I have this new thing. Is this new thingbetter than the thing I liked? And very often you'll find it's not better. Butmany of us don't do that. Many of us think if I put more work into it, I'd havemade it better. Has nothing to do with the amount of work you put in. Hasnothing to do with the time that you put into it. There's no equivalencybetween the more work you put in, the better it gets. Has nothing to do withit.

Luke Storey: [00:56:01]That's very often demonstrated in overproduced music. That's what I sense isgoing on. There's just too much stuff because you can tell, especially--speaking of Guns N Roses, that reminds me they had this live EP. The first cameout, I got it. I ordered it over the mail or something when I was a teenager.And then that Appetite for Destruction came out, which is very produced, but itwas done very well, and then they made a bunch of money and had this incrediblesuccess and then went and just made these albums that were just all over theplace and very indulgent. 

It's just like you leta kid loose with an easel and a bunch of paint and it's just, ah. It's just toomuch. Art sometimes gets bloated, I guess is a way that I might frame it whenthere's too much intellect in it and there's just too much overthinking andoverdoing, and you lose the essence of what it is to begin with when theessence is that feeling you described, where you're like, that's it, andlearning to trust that. 

Something else you talkabout in the book just briefly, but it was meaningful to me as someone who wasvery much captured in addiction for the first half of my life or so, you talkabout the great sensitivity that artists have in general, and you related thatto the prevalence of addiction in the arts. 

There's so many greatartists that we've lost or that are struggling with addiction. And it wasmeaningful to me because I thought, I've always viewed that super sensitivepart of myself as almost a detriment because I do feel everything so much. Butthat's perhaps also the gift that enables me to have beautiful conversationswith people that are well-achieved.

Rick Rubin: [00:57:53]That's exactly what it is, yes.

Luke Storey: [00:57:54]So what's been your-- I don't take you as someone who's ever been a drug guy,as far as I know. What's been your experience of working with brilliant artistswho are struggling with addiction?

Rick Rubin: [00:58:06]I've suffered with depression, and because of my relationship to depression, Iunderstand the feeling associated with it. And I suppose with my issues ofweight over the course of my life, I was addicted to food. So I understand it.And I think I view it from a compassionate place. And I know what it's likewhen the things that feel so overwhelming to some of us and other people, ithas no effect whatsoever.

It seems like otherpeople are numb to the things that really affect us. So I understand that. Iunderstand that feeling. I know what it's like to be viewed as crazy comparedto other people, because I just see it differently and I feel it differently.And things that other people can walk past can make me nauseous or I can'twatch many movies because it's too emotional for me.

Luke Storey: [00:59:22]Really?

Rick Rubin: [00:59:23]Absolutely.

Luke Storey: [00:59:24]Do you avoid violent and gory negative movies?

Rick Rubin: [00:59:29]Absolutely.

Luke Storey: [00:59:31]Yeah. I have a perverse relationship with that because I want to feelsomething. When it comes to like watching TV or watching movies.

Rick Rubin: [00:59:40]I want to feel anything.

Luke Storey: [00:59:41]I'll find myself watching things that I know are super toxic, and I'll evenhave bad dreams, and I know that lower consciousness is getting into my field,and I don't do it a lot, but sometimes I'm just like, I shouldn't watch this,and I do, and it's like there's this perverse attraction to it, but there'salso a price to pay because of the level of sensitivity that I hold.

Rick Rubin: [01:00:01]Yeah, I avoid those things. I can watch certain things if it's really doneeither artfully, so I think of someone like Mario Bava, Italian horror filmdirector from the 70s who makes these, it's almost like cinematic,cartoony--  it doesn't make me feel bad. Or like Quentin Tarantino's lastmovie didn't make me feel bad because it had a camp element to it, that itdidn't feel-- but I can remember the last movie that really made me feel bad,and it was a beautiful movie was Melancholia, the Lars von Trier movie. And Iwatched that, and I loved it because it was so beautiful, and I was in a badmood, I would say, for two or three months after that movie. It's so impactedme. Could not shake the feeling.

Luke Storey: [01:01:06]Well, I guess that sensitivity-- I think I heard you talk about or maybe you wrote,maybe it's in the book, you talk about how on a sunny day you feel uplifted,and on gloomy days, you feel gloomy.

Rick Rubin: [01:01:18]Absolutely.

Luke Storey: [01:01:18]I was like, oh, I noticed that about myself too moving to Texas. The weatherchanges a lot, and it'll be gloomy for a few days, and I definitely feel more,I mean, depressed might be overstating it, but definitely not as happy as asunny day.

Rick Rubin: [01:01:34]Yeah, I can really-- it can hit me fast. We were in London for 10 days and Icould not live there. I couldn't imagine it.

Luke Storey: [01:01:43]So with your level of sensitivity, at different points you had turned to food.Do you think as a way to numb or satiate that part of yourself?

Rick Rubin: [01:01:55]I probably have done that. But also I have a lot of practices that helped keepme on the straight and narrow.

Luke Storey: [01:02:06]Yeah.

Rick Rubin: [01:02:09]But I think changing my diet. Like at my lowest point, I was vegan for 22years, and I think that carb heavy diet, no animal protein didn't give me thevitality that I needed.

Luke Storey: [01:02:25]Yeah, well, you're definitely not that anymore because Dave gave me some ofthis jerky, this ribeye, whatever, this carnivore shit. I was like, this is thebest thing I've ever tasted. I immediately texted a picture to my wife, I'mlike, we got to find this.

Luke Storey: [01:02:41]Yeah, I forgot about that. That you went through the vegan phase. Many peopledo. I was a vegetarian for years and it wrecked my health, my teeth rotted out.I mean, I was a disaster.

Rick Rubin: [01:02:50]It's super bad. It was super bad for us. I know Rich Roll really does well onit.

Luke Storey: [01:02:57]Yeah, he does.

Rick Rubin: [01:02:58]That's the other thing. It's not one-size-fits-all. You have to find what'sright for you.

Luke Storey: [01:03:02]Yeah, for sure. So another one of the big themes in the book is that everyoneis a creator. I loved that. And I don't know that I'd ever thought of it inthat way because I think, oh, okay, you have a creative person. They createsome form of art in whatever medium. But the way you framed it, at least theway I interpreted that, was that it's like every person, whether it manifestsas something that can be shared, you're actually just creating your life. 

And so I thought thatwas a really interesting way to think about that, and also opens up some of thevalue of the book for people who aren't an artist in the classical sense, noteven a hobbyist, but just the way you would create a business, or a family, ora home, anything.

Rick Rubin: [01:03:51]Absolutely. That’s why the subtitle is A Way of Being. And it's funny phrasingthe creative act, a way of being. The two don't really fit together well, andthat was intentional. I remember when it came, I just thought, oh, that's socool, the subtitle doesn't really follow the title. It seems like a mistakealmost.

Luke Storey: [01:04:15]Because one is acting and one is being?

Rick Rubin: [01:04:18]I believe that's what it is. And the creative act is what I set out to write,and the way of being is what I realized it's really about. When I started, Ididn't know that that's what it was about. But it became clear that making thingsisn't about the moment that you make it. It's about living your life in a waythat when you want to make something, you have all of these tools at yourdisposal because of how you're living with awareness and paying attention allthe time. There's no time off in this occupation.

Luke Storey: [01:05:05]Right. The occupation of being.

Rick Rubin: [01:05:08]Well, of being a creative person, but then I argue that we're all creativepeople, so we're all invited to participate in life this way. And I thinkregardless if you're a business person, or whatever your role is, if you followthe principles in the book, your life will improve. You'll be a better husband,a better father, a better employee, a better boss, a better chef, a betterarchitect, whatever it is that you're doing, it doesn't really matter becauseit's really is a way to interact in the world in the highest way possible.

Luke Storey: [01:05:58]That brings to mind-- maybe one of my favorite quotes, and you're talking aboutthe principle of presence, and you say, engage in every activity with theattention you might give to flying a plane. That's so good, dude. Because itinvites us as the reader to really start to build an awareness of when we'renot there. So much of our time is spent just out of this moment. 

And the way we ascribevalue to a moment oftentimes dictates the amount of attention we give to it. Sowe go through an autopilot with those things that seem to be meaningless orless important. And then we really hunker down and focus when it's somethingthat we hold a higher value for. I thought that was a really potent lesson injust the now-ness, the value of the now.

Rick Rubin: [01:06:57]Yeah. And whatever it is that you're doing, if you commit to it as the onlything in the world, like right now I have no thoughts about any of the otherobligations I have in life. The only thing that I'm doing now is I'm here withyou, and I want us to go as deep into the information in the book as you wantto talk about, or anything else you want to talk about, but this is what we'redoing. And I'm here. Nothing else exists.

Luke Storey: [01:07:26]Yeah. Do you think that the longtime practice of meditation has given you anedge to be able to have that capacity?

Rick Rubin: [01:07:34]Absolutely. It's had the biggest impact on my life. And again, lucky. It's notanything I figured out or solved. It was purely luck that allowed it to happen,and grace that allowed it to happen.

Luke Storey: [01:07:53]Yeah, especially at that age. And also the grace and luck that you actuallytook an interest in it. Because I'm sure many people said, oh, my 14-year old,whether they're a parent or a doctor, or whatever, oh, yeah, you should learnmeditation. It's like, what? Trying to tell that to a little 14-year old fullof testosterone, and piss, and vinegar. It's like the last thing you want to dois sit and be still with yourself.

Rick Rubin: [01:08:16]But I also love the Beatles, and I knew that the Beatles meditated, and thatwas a good inspiration.

Luke Storey: [01:08:24]Yeah, that is a bit of a turn on there.

Rick Rubin: [01:08:29]And also when you're a kid and you really don't know anything, you don't knowwho you are, getting quiet, focusing on a mantra, focusing on your breath,going inside, it doesn't come naturally yet it feels really good. And it cangive you a sense of grounded confidence in who you are in a way that few otherthings could. I imagine vigorous exercise could do a similar thing. A dedicatedpractice of something physical.

Luke Storey: [01:09:09]For those nuts that like to do that, yeah.

Rick Rubin: [01:09:13]No, but I would imagine it could do a similar thing.

Luke Storey: [01:09:15]Totally. Well, speaking of Rich Roll, endurance athletes, they have that flowstate, and they get in that zone. I've just never personally accessed it inthat way. But I know, for me, the practice of meditation has been solife-saving and life-changing because I find that I'm able to carry thatpresence throughout the rest of my day. 

In the beginning, itwas like, okay, I put my 20 minutes in, then I'm just going to be insane therest of the day. And then slowly started to see, oh, I could approach this likeI'm flying an airplane. I didn't contextualize it that way at the time, but toput it in your words, I find that I have a much greater capacity to just be herewith Rick, and hang out, and have a chat directly because of the meditation. Soit's like this is a meditation right now, we just happen to be talking.

But there's still anawareness of this observer witness consciousness that's observing the phenomenonof the conversation. There's someone watching me or me watching me that'swatching you, and watching all of this transpire, which makes life much lesspainful.

Rick Rubin: [01:10:29]Absolutely. Yeah. When we can remove ourselves from the drama of life and seeit with some perspective instead of being trapped in it. There's a beautifulmeditation, where you close your eyes and you imagine expanding. You expandyour consciousness. If we were doing it now, we would expand our consciousnessto the yard that we're sitting in. And then we would expand our consciousnessto include the whole neighborhood that we're in. 

And then we wouldexpand our consciousness to the whole town that we're in, and then maybe thestate that we're in, and then maybe the continent that we're on, and then thewhole planet, and then the whole universe. And we would take our time allowingourselves to grow. And in that exercise, it helps-- I learned that exercisebecause I'm needle phobic.

Luke Storey: [01:11:48]Oh, yeah. I forgot about that.

Rick Rubin: [01:11:51]And that is one that if I need to have a blood test, for example, or somethinginvolving a needle, if I do that, and if I expand my consciousness outside ofmyself and get to the point where I feel like a cosmic being, the body becomesso small and insignificant that the needle is less of an issue.

Luke Storey: [01:12:22]You never got into the biohacks of the IVs, and peptide therapy. And all thatstuff? I think I asked you about that one where you're like, what? I'm notdoing that. Yeah. That's interesting. And blood too.

Rick Rubin: [01:12:33]Now I can get to the point now where I usually get a blood test once a year.And when I get the blood test, once the needles in, I'm okay. And then afterdrawing the blood, then I can get the Myers cocktail, the supplements put in.

Luke Storey: [01:12:52]Right. Something you also cover, which is just such a huge issue for so manycreative people is self-doubt. And the way you frame it is, one of the ways isthe inquiry of, are you doubting yourself or are you doubting the work? If Igot that right.

Rick Rubin: [01:13:13]Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:13:13]And as someone who's created all sorts of different art, I think that's been mybiggest Achilles heel.

Rick Rubin: [01:13:21]Really?

Luke Storey: [01:13:22]Well, is associating. I mean, even doing this podcast sometimes, if I'm runningbehind and there's just things are hectic and I'm not prepared, it's like, oh,am I doing this right kind of thing. But it's such a-- I think the differencefor me is, if I'm identifying myself with the work, in other words, the work isme, then I'm doubting myself and the work. But I think if I got some of whatyou were saying is that the work is not you. It's representative of you, but ifwe can identify the work as its own entity--

Rick Rubin: [01:13:58]It is. It's outside of us. It's the difference between that song that I wroteis not very good versus I can't write a song. I'm no good.  That’s thedifference. And when giving criticism, there's a difference between you're nogood and, hey, that thing that's out here, I think that could be better. 

That's a differentconversation that you could have made this thing, but we, together, are teamingup to look at this thing and say, is there anything we can do for this thing tobe better? Let's talk about it. That's very different than the thing you made,it's no good, or you're no good, or you can't do that.

Luke Storey: [01:14:49]How much is language, and your communication style, and the way you frame itpart of your success working with artists? Have you, over time, honed thecraft, as you just described, to not ruffle feathers and egos and to actuallyget the work--

Rick Rubin: [01:15:11]I am sensitive myself, so I choose words from the sensitivity that I have of,if I was hearing this information, how would I want to hear it? How would it behelpful for me to hear it? And then I share it that way.

Luke Storey: [01:15:25]Because there's such a different language in saying that piece is not goodversus I think that piece could be better. Those are worlds apart in howthey're received to a sensitive person.

Rick Rubin: [01:15:37]Absolutely.

Luke Storey: [01:15:38]Especially when it's a personal work of art where it's much harder todisassociate yourself from the art.

Rick Rubin: [01:15:45]Yes. And we can talk about the parts of it that are good. Instead of saying thebridge in this song is so good, I could say, wow, the song is so good. I wonderif the bridge is as strong as the rest of it is. I don't know if it is, and itmight not be. Who knows? Sometimes the context, and then-- have you ever readMarshall Rosenberg's work of nonviolent communication?

Luke Storey: [01:16:11]Oh, I didn't recognize the author, but I'm familiar with the concept. Yeah.

Rick Rubin: [01:16:15]Yeah. That's a really beautiful-- I don't know much about it, but what I knowabout it-- I don't feel like I can do it, but I know that whatever aspects ofit that I can do make it better. If we all learn nonviolent communication, theworld would be a peaceful place. It's amazing.

Luke Storey: [01:16:39]Well, it's like the difference of saying you should do this or you shouldn't dothat versus, hey, can I invite you to explore this thing or that, or whateverthe alternative is? But words do have such power. They're so potent. Becausethey're so tight in their energy. Every word is energy. And it can be receivedwell or not just based on reframing things just a little bit.

You reminded me of atrick I used to use when I was a fashion stylist. I'd be dressing musicians,and actors, and things, and sometimes they would want to take charge, and Ididn't feel that their choices at times were great, and they were doingthemselves a disservice. And I learned quickly that if I said, oh, that dressdoesn't look good on you, it would not go well. So I'd walk in and be like--it's like a Jedi mind trick, in the service of their best and highest good. 

I'd be like, oh my God,those shoes are incredible. I love those earrings. Hey, let's try this dress.It's really cool. It's just ways to circumvent the defensiveness of the humanego, essentially, and to be mindful of people's sensitivities, and knowing thatyou're both going after the same goal. You both want to create a moment or awork that--

Rick Rubin: [01:17:55]Yeah. We're working together for the highest good, always.

Luke Storey: [01:18:00]Oh, there's another thing along the self-doubt lines that is so helpful. Andthat is not treating the work that you're currently engaged in as you'redefining moment of your entire career or life. Can you speak to that a littlebit? Because I think that's a real pitfall.

Rick Rubin: [01:18:17]I think the safest way to view it is whatever we're making today is essentiallya diary entry. It's a representation of what we see, how we see the world tothe best of our ability in this moment. And tomorrow it may be different. Andin a year, it may be different. But it's not uncommon for artists to think thisthing I'm making is the most important thing in the world. This is going todefine me forever. And it's just not true. And it's not helpful to think that.

Luke Storey: [01:18:55]Yeah. Well, Rick, it's getting chilly out here. But I want to take a moment tosay thank you for making the time. I know you're only here for a couple ofdays, and you're a busy guy, so I really appreciate you dropping in with me.And I've always wanted to thank you, and this is really from my heart, for whatyou did for Johnny Cash and the epic contribution to American culture andAmerican music. It would have done the world such a disservice had those worksyou did with him not been created. Just so powerful and so meaningful and timeless.

Rick Rubin: [01:19:42]It's truly a case of the universe allowing that to happen. I feel blessed tohave had him in my life and to get to spend time with him. And it was abeautiful experience. And I feel so lucky that I got to be there. I got to bepart of it.

Luke Storey: [01:20:04]Yeah. I mean, just that music is so special.

Luke Storey: [01:20:09]And with an artist that's around that long, there's so many iterations and somany different producers and labels trying to rebrand them and all that. Ireally think that the collection of work you did with him was the best he everdid.

Rick Rubin: [01:20:24]Wow. It's beautiful.

Luke Storey: [01:20:25]It's just the best, which I thought of the other day because I was drivingthrough Bakersfield and I was like, I got to listen to Merle Haggard. I put onMerle Haggard and just went through the library. And there's all kinds ofclassic stuff where the recordings were great, but later in his life, he did aminimal acoustic jam like that. It was okay. And I had the thought, I was like,man, I wish Rick could have worked with Merle Haggard too and done the sameapproach, or whatever his version of that would have been.

Rick Rubin: [01:20:55]Yeah. That's one of the best things that came from the Johnny Cash experiencewas that other grown-up artists felt like, oh, maybe I can still do this.Because it's very much of a young man's game, music business. And when I metJohnny, he believed that not only that his best work was behind him, but hisbest work was long behind him, and he had already been dropped by two recordcompanies. He went from being the most successful person on Columbia Records,the biggest record company in the world, to being dropped by that label.

Luke Storey: [01:21:40]Oh God. Brutal. I didn't know that.

Rick Rubin: [01:21:44]He was on another label, and he got dropped from that label, and he thought hewas done.

Luke Storey: [01:21:50]Wow. Yeah. It's interesting too when an artist in the music industry at least,is around for that long. And because it is a business and you have this wholemachine on the business side of it that is inclined to follow trends. And yousee you see this a lot with country artists. There's their 80s albums with theBig River drums and you're like, ah, it's from the 80s and it sounds like shit,at least to me. But it's got to be difficult for an artist to be around thatlong and have all of this influence from the outside wanting them to stay withthe times when they're a timeless artist.

Rick Rubin: [01:22:30]Yes.

Luke Storey: [01:22:30]It's an interesting phenomenon. You see so many of them.

Rick Rubin: [01:22:34]That was the case with Bill Withers. Bill Withers was such a specific artist,so interesting. And he was in many ways like Bob Dylan, like he wrote theseclassic, essentially folk songs, and because of the color of his skin, thepeople at the record companies thought he's supposed to do this urban thing.

Luke Storey: [01:23:08]Oh, yeah.

Rick Rubin: [01:23:09]And the people at the record company also shared his skin color. It's not likethis was a white and black thing. This was just like, oh, we got to keep upwith what's going on. And it destroyed him. And he ended up stopped makingmusic at the at the peak of his--

Luke Storey: [01:23:33]Really? Oh, I didn't know that.

Rick Rubin: [01:23:34]Yes. He stopped making music. And he just-- it's like the system broke him.

Luke Storey: [01:23:39]Oh, man.

Rick Rubin: [01:23:40]It's one of the greatest to ever do it.

Luke Storey: [01:23:42]Yeah, I agree. That happened a bit with the blues too. In the late 60s, Chesswould start putting out these albums where they get a young white rock band, apsychedelic band. There's one called Electric Mud, the Muddy Waters one. It'sinteresting.

Rick Rubin: [01:24:01]It's a pretty cool one.

Luke Storey: [01:24:01]Have you ever heard the Howlin' Wolf one?

Rick Rubin: [01:24:04]No.

Luke Storey: [01:24:04]Dude, I had it on vinyl, and you can't find it on CD or MP3, but you can findit on YouTube, a long play of it. It's called This is Howlin' Wolf's new album.He doesn't like it. Yes.

Rick Rubin: [01:24:18]But he didn't like his electric--

Luke Storey: [01:24:19]Yeah, he didn't like his electric guitar at first either. That's it. And it'sbetter than Led Zeppelin. It's like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix backingHowlin' Wolf. And it's one of the best albums, to me, of all-time.

Rick Rubin: [01:24:34]It's really cool.

Luke Storey: [01:24:35]But it's usually a failure when that is attempted. It's rare when they try totake a classic iconic artist and bring them up to the times. It's like, eh. Itrarely comes off as--

Rick Rubin: [01:24:46]Sometimes an artist will start one way and then decide to change, and it reallyworks. And the best artists, I mean, talking about the Beatles, they alwayschanged. They may have two albums that are similar, but then by the time theyget to, whatever, the third one or the fifth, it's like a whole new band keepsbecoming a whole new band. When Radiohead made Kid A, it felt like a differentband than the band that made The Bends and Ok Computer.

Luke Storey: [01:25:16]That's true. Another band that is very much in that vein is Wilco.

Rick Rubin: [01:25:22]Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:25:23]They start out with this really great Gram Parsons esque all country band andthen get a little more electrified and being there, and then just go, we'redoing our own thing, and remained cool, and innovative, and creative. They werea band that didn't lose me even when they went into genres that I wasn'tparticularly. I still liked the way they did it. Yeah, that's a good point whenpeople are successful in departures.

All right. Finalquestion for you, my friend Rick Rubin, who are three teachers or teachingsthat have influenced your life and your work that you'd like to share with us?

Rick Rubin: [01:25:56]Well, the Lao Tzu, the Dao is a big one. Teachers or teachings that haveinspired me. The Dao. Because of the role that TM has played in my life, Iwould have to say Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. And I suppose I would say that thefact that I listened to the Beatles when I listened to them from a very smallage, probably three years old. I think the fact that from such a young age Iconnected with such a reservoir of musicality that's from another dimension. Idon't know that I would be me without that. It's certainly my biggest influencein music.

Luke Storey: [01:26:59]Amen. That was well thought out.

Rick Rubin: [01:27:04]Just looking for different areas. Not obvious.

Luke Storey: [01:27:07]Yeah. That's good though. I relate to the Beatles thing hearing those things. Ihad similar experiences. For me, I think it was Jimi Hendrix when I was alittle kid. I would have been a different person had I not heard that reallyloud on a turntable. Like, what? It's like an alien visited. And you're neverthe same after the influence of really inspired art like that.

Rick Rubin: [01:27:33]Cool, man. Well, thank you for talking to me.

Luke Storey: [01:27:36]Thank you, man. I appreciate it. I'm glad we finally got this done.

Rick Rubin: [01:27:38]Always nice to see you.

Luke Storey: [01:27:40]Thanks for joining me on one of my very favorite episodes to date, and I hopethis one left you as inspired as it did me. And remember, if you want to catchmore of Rick's magic, sign up for updates for his new incredible podcast attetragramaton.com. And I'll be back in your brain this Friday with Ask Me Anythingepisode number 476. Then next Tuesday we drop number 477, The Truth AboutInfrared Sauna Therapy: The Complete Guide to Detox and Healing with Connie Zakof Sunlight and Saunas.

And I remind you tomake sure to click, subscribe or follow on your podcast app to catch all of theupcoming episode drops. I mentioned my upcoming June 2nd webinar with Dr.Christine Northrup in the intro. Well, in case you missed the memo, here's whatit's about. The financial systems we've all grown accustomed to using arebecoming more volatile than ever. So I've become increasingly interested inlearning how to navigate finances over the past three years, and I've set outto educate myself, and of course, share what I learn along the way. 

Because the more weunderstand about this shifting economy, the better we can protect and grow ourwealth even in these uncertain times. The fact is that fiat currencies like theone we use in the US are highly unstable. So personally, I'm always looking foralternative ways to save and become financially secure. 

And I've dabbled incrypto, and while I think it's promising and interesting, precious metals likegold and silver still feel like a more stable currency to me. And I like theidea of a tangible, real money. I guess you can call me old fashioned. Thatsaid, I've always found it a bit daunting to learn the ropes of buying gold andsilver. For some reason it's always felt complicated and overwhelming. And I'vehad questions about it like, how does this actually work? Where and how do youbuy it? What do you do with it once you buy it? And so on. 

Well, these questionsand more were answered when I interviewed Dr. Christiane Northrup last year onEpisode 435. By the way, it's a great one if you want to go back and check itout. And she basically got me hip to what she and her team are up to in thisspace and really got the ball rolling for me. I've been incrementally buyingand squirreling away little bits of gold and silver ever since, and it turnsout it's pretty simple if you have a plan and a basic understanding of how itworks. 

So if you want to learnabout how and why our financial system is rigged against us and how to fortifyyourself and your financial future, I highly encourage that you join us as Dr.Christiane Northrup and I host a free webinar on Zoom to talk about realmoney. 

We'll be going live atnoon Central. That's 1:00 PM Eastern and 10:00AM Pacific, again, on Friday,June 2nd. To get yourself on the list, visit lukestorey.com/goldandsilver,because I think now is the perfect time to take our power back from thesegreedy banks, and educate ourselves on what's coming, and start stacking upsome real money right now. 

And I also want toencourage you to register even if you can't attend the live online event so Ican send you the replay afterward for free. Again, visitlukestorey.com/goldandsilver to learn more, or just click that link in the shownotes, and we'll see you live on Zoom on June 2nd, 2023.



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