Most Unexpected Works by Iconic Rock and Metal Producers

Should rock/metal producers stick only to rock and metal?

Ultimate Guitar

They might've been at the helm of production for some of all-time classic rock and metal albums, but these guys seem to have interests outside of the guitar-driven domain, resulting in occasional unexpected production stints. Check out our seven picks of seven most unexpected works by legendary rock and metal producers.

Rick Rubin (Slayer, Linkin Park, SOAD, Metallica, Slipknot, Black Sabbath) Produced Kanye West and Eminem

Commonly dubbed the greatest producer of all time, Rick Rubin had the opportunity to work with such metal titans as Metallica, Slayer and Black Sabbath, producing a stunning amount of classic efforts. However, Rick also has a rap side, resulting in his work with almost an equal amount of classic hip-hop artists. These include Kanye West, Eminem, LL Cool J, Run DMC and more.

Ross Robinson (Korn, Machine Head, Sepultura, Slipknot) Produced Vanilla Ice

Korn's 1994 self-titled debut, Sepultura's "Roots," Soulfly's self-titled debut, Slipknot self-titled debut, The Cure's self-titled album - that's a lot of self-titled efforts under Ross Robinson's belt, but also a lot of ground-breaking stuff, earning Ross a spot among the creme de la creme of the production world. One album sticks out though - "Hard to Swallow" by none-other than Vanilla Ice.

Bob Rock (Metallica, Motley Crue, The Offspring) Produced Nelly Furtado

Bob Rock will likely always be known as the producer of Metallica's "Black Album." He was also at the helm of production with Motley Crue, The Offspring, Bon Jovi, The Cult, Aerosmith and - Nelly Furtado.

Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Yngwie Malmsteen) Produced Tom Jones

Known as a versatile producer, Chris Tsangarides delivered top-notch performance in every domain he delved into, including metal, rock, pop and even electronica. Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Yngwie Malmsteen and Gary Moore all successfully worked with Chris, but so did Depeche Mode and Tom Jones.

Mutt Lange (AC/DC, Def Leppard, Nickelback) Produced Shania Twain and Lady Gaga

Once again showing great versatility and professionalism, Mutt Lange had no problem with working with the likes of AC/DC, Def Leppard and Nickelback on one hand, and then producing or even writing for such acts as Shania Twain, Lady Gaga and Maroon 5.

Butch Vig (Nirvana, Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins) Produced House of Pain

The producer of Nirvana's "Nevermind" didn't mind delving into the rap domain a bit, resulting in an interesting collaboration with House of Pain.

Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, KISS, Alice Cooper) Worked With Taylor Swift

Finally, Bob Ezrin, the man who produced Pink Floyd's "The Wall," KISS' "Destroyer" and Alice Cooper's "Welcome to My Nightmare" among the plethora of other classic efforts, also worked with modern country singer Taylor Swift.

Got some other unexpected production stints to share? Do it in the comments. Also, back to the big question - should rock/metal producers stick only to rock and metal?

28 comments sorted by best / new / date

    During the 80s, Rick Rubin produced rap and hip-hop almost exclusively, so... How is it unexpected for him to keep doing what he's always done?
    I was wondering the same thing... he got his start with the Beastie Boys (who aren't even mentioned) and founded Def Jam. He's more important to hip-hop than to metal.
    I wouldn't say exclusively, since he produced Slayer since "Reign in Blood", but he did help found Def Jam. That's also why Kerry King plays the guitar solos on "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" and "Fight For Your Right". Also Ross produced Vanilla Ice's album because Vanilla was trying to hop on the Nu Metal bandwagon at the time.
    I don't really understand how it's "unexpected" either. I love death, power, and thrash metal all my life, but I'd work with Eminem without a second thought. Much respect.
    For me Steve Albini is the one of the greatest rock produced (mostly underground bands) - from The Stooges, Ramones and Bad Brains to Neurosis, Pixies and Nirvana - a lot of cult bands. But it was a surprise (for me) that he also produced Chevelle's debut "Point #1" album.
    "Commonly dubbed the greatest producer of all time, Rick Rubin..." For my ears, this is a disturbing statement. I've heard musicians producing their own music better than Rick, without having to pay his fee.
    Corey Taylor from Slipknot has a few choice words to say about Rubin and his fee, and I quote - "He is overrated, he is overpaid, and I will never work with him again as long as I ****ing live".
    No just as musicians shouldn't be expected to stick to one genre or one band. It's a job
    Well it's their job for crying out loud. If someone as significant as the bands mentioned in this article approached me to produce their music, sure i would do it. Doesn't matter which genre they are, as long as they're all great acts.
    Rick Rubin got famous by producing hiphop albums in the 80s before he turned to other genres of music...
    Danjo's Guitar
    I was expecting the entire list to be Rick Rubin just because he produces f*cking everyone these days.
    If the producer can produce multiple genres well then why not? Also, producing is more about getting great performances out of the artist, managing money and getting various things booked, etc. Really, it's the engineers who get most of the sounds.
    It really doesn't surprise me from a production point of view that these guys have done hiphop/rap. It's still quite an aggressive genre and has a fair few similar aspects in terms of how these things like to be produced. But it's not surprising at all, I would like to become a producer, wouldn't surprise me at all if I ended up working with all sorts of genres.
    Great, now let's do one about rock/metal musicians who did something outside rock/metal.
    Why should other people tell these producers how to make a living? They can work with whoever they want and any genre of music course, especially when they bring out the unique quaities within respective genres. It's also funny how the writer wrote the list as if he's exposing the 'crimes' of the producers. Rick did this, Bob Rock did that.
    if a producer knows how to bring out the best qualities of different genres, then why not?
    I don't think that they should only produce one genre. I would also like to write a few riffs for Rap-Artists
    Producers have nothing to do with the creative process (although they like to think they do) so it doesn't really matter what the guy's genre is because all he does is sit there and watch other people do their job.
    That's pretty ignorant. People hire producers for their songwriting skill, technical knowledge, objectivity, personal sonic flavour and many other reasons. Their job is to help the artist translate his vision into real sound. A great producer can take a good song, highlight its best characteristics, and make it a great song. I wonder where your expertise on the impact of producers comes from?
    I'm pretty sure you're thinking of engineers, who are meant to realize a producer or artist's creative vision. Producers oversee the entire recording process and the creation of the music being made, so it's pretty difficult to say they have nothing to do with the creative process
    How exactly do you figure that? Producers often have more control over the creative process than the artists do.