Rubin, who usually shies away from the spotlight, descended from his Hollywood Hills home to accept the org’s “Lifetime of Harmony” award Thursday night at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The evening marked the non-profit’s second event of its new performance arts division, DLF LIVE.
“I’m amazed that he’s even willing to accept any accolades,” said Russell Simmons, who founded Def Jam Records with Rubin. “He’s never been to the Grammys. He’s never taken his Grammys. I don’t know where the fuckin’ Grammys are. You can sell them, give the money to the David Lynch Foundation.”
The Dixie Chicks took the stage for one of their few U.S. shows in the last four years, paying homage to the man credited with redefining their career. Although they usually turn down gala gigs, lead singer Natalie Maines said the band wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to honor a person who doesn’t like to be honored.
Director David Lynch launched the foundation almost 10 years ago to teach transcendental meditation to at-risk youth, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, domestic violence victims, transients and prisoners. DLF is now working with UNICEF to bring transcendental meditation to a million Syrian refugees.
According to Lynch, Rubin, who’s been meditating for 35 years, is committed to bettering the world through transcendental meditation.
“Most everybody knows that Rick Rubin is not only one of but possibly the best music producer in the world,” he said. “He has the ability to tune into each artist’s talent and bring out the best they’ve got. The list of bands and artists that worked with Rick is so long, it’d be morning if we read out all the names. And it is a heavy-duty list. Rick Rubin has great ears and a great mind between them.”
That diverse list ranges from Krishna Das to Kanye West, from Adele to Metallica.
Simmons said he met Rubin over 30 years ago when he was eager “to quiet the noise.”
“All of us are seeking to calm the noise,” he said. “At the time, I only had one route and it was through drugs. I couldn’t relate to anybody who was sober because they had so much noise, except Rick, who was totally sober, but he exuded the kind of freedom that I was seeking. He seemed to have a stable and lasting hold on it.”
In fact, Simmons said he suspects that his friend has reached the pinnacle of enlightenment.
“We all only want calm and Rick is the epitome of what we’re all seeking,” he said. “Sometimes I look at him in the face (and think), ‘Are you enlightened, motherfucker? Are you enlightened?’”
Simmons and Lynch then went down to Rubin’s table in the center of the room to present his glass statue as the music guru — donning a tee, shorts and slippers — didn’t want to come up on stage.
In addition to the Dixie Chicks, Damien Rice and Jake Bugg also sang for the crowd of celebs that included Rubin’s artists Ozzy Osbourne and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as actors Jim Carrey and Shannon Elizabeth.