After leaving the 2003 Grammy Awards a bit irate, Rick Rubin decided to put together a compilation of peace songs. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Audioslave and System Of A Down are among the artists that Rubin has enlisted for this noble undertaking.
"Typically, when I record an artist we'll do a song for peace, and I've been collecting them up," Rubin told MTV from his Los Angeles studio. "It's something I feel good about."
Like I had said before, the whole project started after Rubin left the 2003 Grammy Awards feeling less then please, infact infuriated would be the right word to describe his mood. The thing that had angered him so much was the warning he claims that was given to artists about speaking their minds against the war in Iraq.
"Before they went out to either present awards or play, artists were threatened that if they mentioned the Iraq war, they would not be invited back to the Grammys, ever, under any condition," Rubin said. "This really upset me, and it made me realize that while a single artist can talk about a subject on his or her own, it's rare for artists to get together and talk about a single idea. The Grammys were a place where a lot of artists gathered together who probably had similar feelings about the war and probably could have spoken with some unity, but that right was taken away from them. That was my impetus to create a space where a group of artists could stand together for something they believed in."
Alas, the Recording Academy did not return MTV's calls to affirm or rebut Rubin's statement.
The compilation is well underway. Sheryl Crow, who you may remember donned a "No War" guitar strap in silent protest when she preformed at the Grammys, wrote a track for the compilation. The Man in Black, Johnny Cash also recorded a song before he passed away in September.
Cash recorded "Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream", a 60's political folk song that has previously been recorded by Simon & Garfunkel, Joan Baez and Pete Seeger.
"It's a dream about a world where legislation gets passed declaring war no longer something we do and how the world changes," Rubin said. "It's certainly beautiful, almost like a nursery rhyme." The song begins, "Last night I had the strangest dream/ I'd ever dreamed before/ I dreamed the world had all agreed/ To put an end to war/ I dreamed I saw a mighty room/ The room was filled with men/ And the paper they were signing said/ They'd never fight again."
The still untitled compilation will consist of both covers and originals and will include work from artists Rubin has previously worked with as well as artists that have signed on specifically for this venture. Weezer, The (International) Noise Conspiracy and Semisonic's Dan Wilson will be logging in studio time with Rubin in the upcoming months.
As for the release date, there isn't one yet. "It's not on the schedule," Rubin said. "We'll just decide when it all feels right and put it out. It's a timeless, beautiful message, and it'll come together in the right way in the right time."