Rick Rubin Reveals The Secret Behind Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Success With ’Blood Sugar Sex Magik’
When ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ came out in 1991, RHCP signaled that they had taken a different musical path. In this record, the musicians focused on melodically driven lyrics rather than trying to incorporate heavy metal guitar riffs. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the producer Rick Rubin revealed that this experimental record also had an adventurous recording process.
“I try to live in places that are inspiring to be in for my own head,” said the producer while explaining the method that works best for him in his creative processes. “It helps me to be in a peaceful, beautiful place, whether it be a forest or an ocean. When I moved to California, one of the first albums I made was the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik.’ This was their fifth album.”
He continued, “The choice was, we could go into a windowless recording studio, like the ones they did the last four times, or we could create some new adventure. We rented this mansion, and the band lived there, and we worked there together. And as a matter of fact, three of the members never left the premises until the album was done, which is radical. We just did the basic tracks for a new ‘Strokes’ album. We recorded it on a mountaintop in Costa Rica. Outside, the band was doing a concert for the ocean, and it was incredible.”
Before this album, RHCP worked with a producer who had asked them to write radio-friendly songs. He was also very involved in and restricted the creative process. However, when their contract expired, they hired Rick Rubin, which became perhaps one of the most crucial turning points of their career. Instead of setting up an environment where they felt that their creativity was restricted, Rubin created a space where they could feel completely relaxed and free.
Recorded in an unconventional setting with Rubin’s encouragement, ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ became RHCP’s second best-selling album after ‘Californication.’ So, it can be said that the end of their ‘adventure’ was pretty good. An interesting note: Harry Houdini allegedly once lived in the house they rented. Many RHCP listeners would agree that this magic permeates every second of the 70-minute album.