Rick Rubin Shares Johnny Cash’s Ritual During His Last Six Months

Rick Rubin wasn’t just a producer to Johnny Cash, as the pair were beyond the usual relationship that a producer and artist might share. Rather than only spending time at the studio, they would see one another frequently. So, it would be safe to say that Rubin was a close witness to Johnny’s last few months. Recently, while chatting with 60 Minutes, the producer recalled the ritual Johnny was determined to repeat every day.

After producing seven records together and revitalizing Johnny’s career, Rubin and Cash formed a close friendship as they enjoyed one another’s company. So, when one day, Johnny mentioned the benefits of communion and how it might help them heal mentally, Rick wanted to try it out. Then, the pair started doing communion, which later on became a daily ritual.

We did communion every day,” recalled Rubin as he further discussed how it had become a part of their routine. “He talked about the healing benefits of communion, and I said, ‘I’ve never done communion.’ [Then Johnny said] ‘Would you do communion with me?’ So, he presided over communion with me, and then I said, ‘Well, let’s do it every day.’ Then we did it every day that we were together.”

So, even when Cash was out of town, the two didn’t lose their connection and continued doing communion. The producer noted, “And then when he left town, we kept doing it over the phone, and we did this probably… I want to say, for at least the last six months of his life, maybe more, and then when he passed, I kept doing it. I could hear his voice. He was saying the words. I kept doing it for as long as it was possible.”

Thus, their relationship wasn’t just a usual producer and musician relationship where they would only see one another at anything music related. Rick and Johnny were friends, and they trusted one another enough to take the path of communion and ritualize it by doing it every day till the musician passed. The producer continued doing it after Cash’s death, as he would feel that his late friend was right beside him.