Rick Rubin Reveals Why Trent Reznor Disliked Johnny Cash “Hurt” Cover At First


Producer Rick Rubin discussed working with Johnny Cash on his cover of the Nine Inch Nails classic “Hurt” in a new Broken Records interview. He also revealed how Trent Reznor reacted at first when he sent him the song. Alternative Nation transcribed Rubin’s comments about Cash’s version of the song.

“It’s really great.”

Rubin said the song’s meaning changes with an older man singing it.

“Totally different song, and much more hopeless. Usually by the time your that age, you’ve found resolution. So to have sort of 20 year old angst in your 60’s and 70’s, it’s brutal.”

He was asked if it affected him emotionally after he heard the finished song.

“Excited, because when you hear a really good version of what it is, I wouldn’t go into the emotion of it so much as the excitement of seeing something come together that has this power.”

“I actually sent to it to [Trent Reznor] when we finished, I don’t think he liked it so much when he first heard it, then Mark Romanek made the video for it, then when he saw the video, Trent was like, ‘Oh, I see what this is.’ I think he was too close at first, and it was just odd hearing someone else. I can remember we covered a Beck song, and I remember playing it for Beck, and I remember him saying, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone sing my lyrics besides me, and it’s Johnny Cash.’ It was just so mind-blowing, because he was probably 21 or 22 at the time.”

  • agentboolen

    Obviously when you create something and someone else recreates it, it’s gotta be easy to disagree with the possible different direction taken. Obviously you don’t want them to copy it exact but at the same time I’m sure it’s easy to say wow I wouldn’t have done it like that ever. Cash’s version was very powerful but that doesn’t make Trent’s any less powerful.

  • Cunt Fuckula

    Uh, WRONGO there, Rick. Trent was moved to tears the first time he — and Zach De La Rocha, whose solo album he was producing at the time — heard the Cash cover. There was never a gray area where Trent “didn’t like” Cash’s version. What he probably doesn’t like is when a bunch of goth-wannabe hipster douchenozzles hear the Nails version and say “Oh! This is a Johnny Cash cover!”

    Fucking idiots. The same with Rick “I look like I had 12 Reuben sandwiches for breakfast” Rubin, who is also a fucking idiot. Stick to sucking the life — for lack of a better word out — out of music by mediocre acts like RHCP and Smashing Pumpkins with your wretched production values, you tool.

    • numbers fuckstein

      holy shit imagine being this assdamaged over a summary of a better article stop being a little bitch about nothing

      • What is up with all our stupid names? That’s what I would like to know.

      • Cunt Fuckula

        Says the guy who felt the need to reply, so who’s really the whiny little bitch here, lmao