Rick Rubin’s Disappointment About AC/DC

The creation and production process of each album may differ, but it is undoubtedly a challenging period for every band. No matter what type of music the artists in question make, they want their work to stand out and succeed. Thus, they work hard to bring the best out of themselves. So, it is more than usual to encounter problems while trying to complete this painstaking task.

The making of their thirteenth studio album, ‘Ballbreaker,’ was a challenging process for AC/DC, and some things didn’t go as planned. While it marked the only AC/DC album produced by Rick Rubin, the recording process took longer than expected due to some problems they went through. Rubin would later describe his experience of making this album as a disappointment.

‘Ballbreaker’ was the first album featuring drummer Phil Rudd after his return in 1994. AC/DC started recording in New York at the Record Plant Studios, but things didn’t go the way they wanted. In an appearance on Talk is Jericho in 2021, Rick Rubin shared his experience producing AC/DC’s ‘Ballbreaker’ and why he was disappointed about it.

“I was excited, but it never sounded good,” said Rubin, revealing that he wasn’t satisfied with the sound they had caught in the New York studio. “We did a million things trying to make it sound good – nothing worked. And I remember saying to Malcolm at one point, like, ‘Maybe we should just move somewhere else?’”

Even though Malcolm Young initially refused to change the studio, he then agreed to move to Los Angeles’ Ocean Way Studios. “He said, ‘We’re staying here; it’s a very good studio.’ So then we stayed for another few weeks, and the guy said, ‘You know what – let’s just go to the studio you like.’ And then we ended up going to L.A. to a studio that I worked in a lot, and it got better.”

However, according to Rick Rubin, staying in New York for weeks had done a lot of damage to the recording process. “I think those, I don’t know, five or six weeks of trying to make the album in this bad-sounding space took a lot of the spark or just the good vibe out of it, which is a shame.

It seems clear that the recording process was significantly impacted by the wrong choice of a studio, and this could have been prevented if the Young brothers had listened to Rubin’s advice. The delay decreased the morale of the musicians and crew members, and it seems like it also made Rick Rubin feel disappointed with the band since they could have made this call earlier.

Following the 1990’s ‘The Razors Edge,’ ‘Ballbreaker’ was the band’s first studio album after a five-year break. Despite Rick Rubin’s dissatisfaction with the making process, the record was still a commercial success thanks to the Young brothers’ well-crafted lyrics and Phil Rudd’s unique contributions after his return. It was a fulfilling album for the fans since it provided them with the classic AC/DC sound.