Say what you will about Rick Rubin, he knows how to put on a show.
And a funeral.
The 30-year-old industry Wunderkind is planning a lavish "burial" for the Def part of the name of his Def American label--complete with casket, burial plot, headstone, minister-led chapel service, horse-drawn carriage, funeral procession and New Orleans-style marching band--on Aug. 27 at a Hollywood cemetery. He's assembling the guest list now and it's expected to be a Hollywood Who's Who of 1,500 mourners.
Rubin, who also was co-founder with Russell Simmons of the Def Jam label, claims that the term def --meaning excellent --has lost its cutting-edge meaning and, with inclusion in the latest edition of Webster's dictionary, has become a mainstream word.
Following the funeral, organizers say, an "up-tempo" motorcade, led by a uniformed escort, will proceed to a local bowling alley to celebrate the "birth" of the company's new name, American Recordings.
The label's new musical identity will in part be forged by recent signee Johnny Cash, whose Rubin-produced album is scheduled to be released early next year. Among other American Recordings holdovers are the Jesus and Mary Chain, Andrew Dice Clay, Slayer, Black Crowes and Sir Mix-a-Lot.
The event is grand in scale even for Rubin, whose spending habits are rumored to be a constant source of consternation at partner and distributor Warner Bros. Records--particularly during Def American/American Recordings' current sales dry spell. A company representative declined to even estimate how much the shindig will cost.