‘My goal is to make something really great’: Rick Rubin is pushing Black Sabbath to new creative places

Rick Rubin took on the Black Sabbath reunion record with a mission statement: “I think he’s looking for a raw Sabbath,” longtime guitarist Tony Iommi says, “and I think we’re looking for that, as well.”

Then, Rubin says in the newly posted video below, “they would write songs and play them for me, and we would sort of say: ‘Do these fit in the boundaries of what we’re going for?’ … We’re all sort of working together to find whatever works best for them.”

The upcoming release, called 13, is the first Black Sabbath recording with original frontman Ozzy Osbourne since 1978. This heralded reunion has already seen its share of setbacks, however, from Iommi’s cancer diagnosis to a rift with founding drummer Bill Ward.

Rubin stepped in, suggesting Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk, and the project continued forward.

The video shows an unkempt Rubin listened to playbacks of Black Sabbath’s new material, offering suggestions — and clearly pushing the band at times. “He looks like a bit of a guru,” Osbourne says, “but he knows what he’s looking for, and when he’s satisfied with what he’s got.”

Will the results live up to the standards of Black Sabbath’s initial salvo of albums, recordings which set the template for hard rock? That’s certainly what their hard-charging, eccentric producer is hoping for.

“My goal is to make something really great that I can listen to forever,” Rubin adds. “That’s the whole heart of it.”

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