Music Article

The Death of Def

Rick Rubin's label's name change -- The producer held a funeral at Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery to drop the ''Def'' from Def American Recordings

Rick Rubin's label's name change

Tyrone Power, Rudolph Valentino, and Bugsy Siegel may no longer rest in peace. These pop-culture icons, now residing in the verdant Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, have a rowdy new neighbor by the name of Def. On Aug. 27, Rick Rubin, owner of Def American Recordings, marked the passing of Def from his label's name by burying a coffin filled with Def memorabilia. The fatal blow came when the 10-year-old street term for excellent showed up in the 10th edition of Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary last May.

Def did not go out unremembered. Among the 500 mourners at the Chapel of Psalms: Tom Petty, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Rev. Al Sharpton, flanked by four armed guards, delivered a moving eulogy: ''Def was kidnapped by corporate mainstream entertainment and returned dead. When we bury Def,'' the reverend added as the casket was lowered into the ground, ''we bury the urge to conform.''

After the service, mourners proceeded to a nearby bowling alley to celebrate the label's new name, American Recordings.

Originally posted Sep 10, 1993 Published in issue #187 Sep 10, 1993 Order article reprints
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