Music Monday: With A Side Of Human

What John Bonham and Eddie Van Halen can teach us about AI vs Human

I think I found another clue to what will keep us humans relevant in the future.

It comes to us from the world of music.

I heard Rick Rubin say this on the “School of Greatness” Podcast…

“Humanity breathes in the mistakes. It’s what’s not ordinary. If it’s machine like perfect it’s not so interesting. It’s cookie cutter. It’s all the same. It’s the frayed edges that make it interesting.”

Rick Rubin, Legendary Music Producer

Is that a clue to what will keep us separate from AI?


Here’s why…

Machine Like Perfection

A real-life example of this has been playing out over the past 10-20 years with recorded music.

In the old days (pre-90s ish), when music was recorded, it was a live performance from a musician or band.

For each musician’s recorded parts to be in time, they needed to perform it that way, either together or to a prerecorded track of the other parts of the song.

Basically, you needed to practice and then nail it when the record button was live.

Eventually, computers came along, and digital recording became a thing. This saved a lot of expensive studio time and money.

If you weren’t in time with the rest of the band, you could easily cut and paste the performance to ensure it was - rather than playing it over and over until it was right.

Now, most popular music is recorded this way.

But that can come at a cost…

Let It Breathe

To reference the part of the quote above where Rick says
humanity breathes in the mistakes,” that in time perfection can suck some humanity out of the music.

For example, the following two videos show you how “perfecting” the recorded performances of two music legends, John Bonham of Zed Zeppelin and Eddie Van Halen.

Listen to how it sucks the groove and, therefore, the humanity out of their legendary performances.

Here’s Jon Bonham…

Next, Eddie Van Halen…

Interesting huh?

Old School Cool

Today, even though we have the tools to perfect the music, there are a lot of artists out there who are recording the old-school way.

I’ve recorded all my music to a click track to help keep it in time.

For the most part, the songs all turned out fine, but a few always sounded “off” to me after they were recorded - compared to how the original demos with no click track sounded.

In the future, I’m going to experiment if I feel like it wrecks the groove, even if it costs more time and money.

I feel like this is the way it will be with AI.

Secret Ingredient?

Some, looking for machine-like precision, will let the AI do all the work.

Others, where the human element will make it less perfect and less ordinary, they’ll choose a human.

Either way, I feel that is where we humans will always have a place.

Agree or disagree?

Let me know.

Until then…

Have a good one,


P.S. Even if you don’t know who Rick Rubin is, you have most likely heard his work with artists like Beastie Boys, Slayer, Johnnie Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the list goes on and on and on. Here’s the interview I got the quote from. You’ll hear about some of the artists he worked with there too.

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