The David Lynch Foundation paid tribute to Rick Rubin, famed producer and founder of Def Jam Records, on Thursday night in an event full of live music and emphasis on the healing powers of transcendental meditation. The foundation honored Rubin with the Lifetime of Harmony Award for his lifelong dedication to transcendental meditation, both as someone who practices it and as a mediator who has introduced many to the benefits of meditation.
British indie folk artist Jake Bugg, indie rock artist Damien Rice, and the Dixie Chicks all performed in tribute of Rubin who has served as producer on some of their most popular records.
Though the idea of honoring a producer who has worked with everyone from the Beastie Boys and Slipknot to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jay-Z may seem like a no-brainer, many of the musicians who came out to celebrate Rubin were surprised he was going to be there. While Rubin has become one of the most iconic music producers of the 21st century, he is notorious for staying out of the limelight and, in general, doesn’t wish for his efforts to be rewarded publicly.
“I’m amazed he even came to accept the award — he’s never been to the Grammys, I don’t even know if he’s picked his Grammys up!” joked Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam, who presented Rubin with the Lifetime of Harmony Award along with director David Lynch.
Later, Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines recalled the day the Foundation called the band up and asked if they would perform together for the first time since 2010. “Usually the answer is no, but then when they told me it was to honor Rick, I said, ‘Is Rick actually going to be there? If Rick’s gonna be there, then I’ll be there!””
In between sets, the singer also said the band asked Rubin if he had any requests for their set, to which he replied, “Play all of the songs off our record.” Rubin specifically requested the girls play “Lullaby,” which they did toward the middle of their set.
Above all, everyone in attendance seemed to be grateful not only for Rubin’s incredible ability to work with and connect with an array of musicians spanning a variety of genres, but also for his notoriously serene demeanor which is, at heart what transcendental meditation aims to provide those who practice it.
In the end, Simmons probably summed it up best in his speech about Rubin: “We all want calm in our life, and Rick is the epitome of what we all want.”