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Mike Q&A Summary 6/26/2020

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Mike's final Q&A of the week, here's a recap of the highlights. This is one of the longer Q&As with quite a bit of info.

 

- "When your CoronaJams are all released, can we do a listening party?" -> "Sure, that would be fun, let's do that. That's a great suggestion."

 

He talks about getting into the Maschine first and Ableton later, but both were very essential to both Hybrid Theory and Meteora and both albums are close to his soul.

 

- "Hey Mike could you talk about the street soldier art?" -> "When we were doing the art for Hybrid Theory, I remember the label put us in the room with... we told them the art was going to be important for the album, just the art for the band in general, because Joe and I both went to art school. We weren't necessarily going to do our own art, but we cared a lot about what it looked like. We realized that we were just out of art school and somebody who has been working in graphic design or illustration or photography for many years, and does that all day every day, is probably going to be a better choice to create the art. With the head of the art department, they showed us a few rough ideas of what they might do for us and we didn't love them. It was not an immediate match. We realized that this guy named Frank had done all the Deftones art and that was starting to look really cool, like from the first album to the second album, like we had seen a couple other things they had done. We were like, "Frank works for Maverick which is related to, it's in the same umbrella as Warner, can we get that guy?" and they're like, "Yeah, probably so." So we kind of poached Frank from a different part of the company. And Joe and I worked with Frank. One of the things we wanted to do was the stuff like... Shepherd Fairy and Banksy were still underground and starting to become a little more well known and we loved that stuff... what would eventually become street art and it was mostly stencil-based stuff at the time. So we were like, "we want to do stencil art for our cover." I ended up drawing the soldier and Frank ended up adding the wings. When we had that combination together, we really liked it. He sprayed it, I drew it and asked him to like stencil it to figure out how that's supposed to look best when reduced and with the texture and everything. He did it, we just loved how it had that toughness of the soldier with the other soft element of the wings."

 

- "Was there a reason I'll Be Gone was released instead of Primo?" -> "Primo was a version. So every song, just like these, has like a working title, like a rough title, a demo title. And Primo was the working title/demo title of what became I'll Be Gone. That long version of Primo was basically, that was a long epic version of what that song could sound like. As I recall, we went down this path and then the guys kind of didn't want to do that with the song, and then we went over here. What would always happen is I would bring in a demo... generally, there are tons of exceptions to this rule, but, the general process in very loose terms would be the following, especially in later years - generally I would bring in a demo of a song and play it for the guys and a lot of times I would sing the parts that would be Chester's parts and they weren't finished or or whatever. Sometimes they'd be completely changed, other times it was like almost exactly the thing, he would just sing it. Other times I left blank spots where I would want him to write something, or I would want us to write something together. So I'd bring in the track as complete as I could at that point, and then the band would listen to my most recent demos. Sometimes, in the beginning of an album process, I'd have a lot of them. I might have 25 things and I'd be like, "Ok here's what I'm starting with. What do you like or what do you not like?" And they would give... on some albums, they would rate them from one to five or A through F or whatever, they'd give it some kind of rating. Other ones it was, "I like this" or "I don't like this - here's some loose criticisms and things I like and don't like." And then I'd go back on the ones that everyone agreed had the most promise. We'd do that on a Monday, I'd spend that day and the rest of the week improving those songs. Brad would be in there some of that time. And the other guys would show up if they felt like they had something to contribute, or they were curious about how things were going, or if I called them in, like if I said, "Rob I need you to come in and play drums on this thing" or whatever. We'd do that every week or two. So we'd vote on them again and we'd repeat that process until the record was done. So that's basically the format. It gives you a sense of how demos like Primo existed. And they changed over time, because the guys were like, "I like this" or "I don't like this.""

 

- "What do you think about when you're on stage?" -> "The question that that made me think of that I've gotten a lot over the years is, "How do you play the same songs regularly on a tour and not get burnt out on them or tired of playing them again?" Or maybe the question is, "are you still excited playing "In the End" for the millionth time?" And usually I'm not thinking about playing it. I'm more focused on the connection to the crowd and what is going on between me and you, not like playing the song. It's like the song is like just the vessel to have the experience. So I'm not really thinking about the song, it doesn't bother me, it doesn't occur to me that I'm playing it again. It's just part of the show."

 

- "Of the LPU demos so far, which one would you choose to rework for a new album? What's the best one?" -> "I don't know what that would be. Primo is a good one, that's actually a good one. Cumulus was an old one, it was pretty good. No Roads Left was not an LPU demo, I mean technically, not really."

He commented about the press going nuts about "Friendly Fire": "You guys have to be careful with these crazy people. That was me self-editing just now, in my head. These ridiculous people will take something you say... and I'll be honest, it's so annoying. That situation of saying something and having it being taken out of context and made into clickbait is so annoying that it makes me not want to be on social media at all. There are times when it pops into my head, "I should not even be on Twitch, on Instagram, on Twitter, on anything at all, I don't want to do it, I hate it, I hate them taking my words out of context." And part of it is not because the individual article bothers me, it's the idea of a snowball that I've seen happen to other people where they did, or said something, and then it rolled out of their control. It wasn't even about the thing they said, it turned into cancel culture, just hearsay and all of that. Maybe one of the things that keeps me from just shutting this all down is the fact that you guys will go in and attack them and be like, "You are an idiot, you don't know what you're talking about." So thank you for doing that, it is helpful even if it feels super annoying. It is helpful because when somebody sees that and looks in the comments, they go, "oh this is bullshit" and second, it hopefully makes that journalist or that outlet less likely to do it the next time because they get a serious negative reaction. Hopefully. So annoying man."

 

- "What's the song you are proudest of EXCEPT for Waiting For The End?" -> "Well done, well done. What am I proud of? Proud of is an interesting way to put it. Kenji maybe, because I knew that nobody else was going to make that song. Right? And I was like, "I'm in a position to talk about this, what people don't talk about, because it's about Japanese internment." Who else is going to make a song like that? Especially a rap song in a weird meter."

 

- "In your 20 years in the industry while touring did you ever have to call out sketchy or creepy or predatory behavior you saw dudes do?" -> "Have I ever done it publicly? I know you're asking in general, privately or whatever. In touring, you've got a big group of people from different walks of life in your crew and around the band and around the other openers and stuff. I do know that if I ever heard something inappropriate, I did at some point get in the habit of telling somebody that that's not cool. I remember hearing jokes that were like, kind of racist, and I knew that they were just playing around with being edge or whatever. Not from bands, but crew members. And if that happens a couple of times, it occurs to you, like, "You know what? This is my production, this is our band and our reputation and no fucking way." So that was something that at a certain point it was important to, when that that happened, even if the person was screwing around, say "Dude that's not funny, don't joke like that." And if somebody really pushed back and was like, "No, no, I'm just kidding, that's not racist", we'd be like, "No, actually, it is. And actually this is our tour and you're our representative and employee. You're representing us incorrectly and inappropriately, so if it happens again... either we can talk about it or we can fire you. Like I'm not joking." So yeah, that happened off stage. My favorite story about Chester calling somebody out on stage is when girls were crowdsurfing and guys were grabbing her, groping you, and he's like, "How dare you! That's fucking this, or that's fucking that!", like that's how he always talked on stage. "How would you like it if you were crowdsurfing and I grabbed you?" and all the girls were like, "YEAH!!!" He was like "no, no, wait, I mean...." and we were all just shaking our heads like, "...that backfired."

 

- "What inspired the Holi color scene in The Catalyst?" -> "That scene was Joe's idea. He was directing the video for The Catalyst. Joe had the idea for it, we were like, "oh that's so cool!" I don't know if I really knew what that was, if I had ever seen Holi. That was super cool, it was super fun, and also very hard to breathe."

 

- "Thanks for being Chester's safety net for all of those years." -> "I don't know that I would consider myself a safety net for Chester or for anybody else. But we certainly all did our best to have each others' backs. One of the most underrated versions of that is, just keeping each other in check in a way. It's almost like when a kid is trying out pushing boundaries or a kid is trying out, "Hey, I'm going to be sassy to my parents, or I'm going to be rude, or I'm going to bully, just a little bit." People in friend groups play around, like, "I'm going to act this way and see what the reaction is." And we would all do that to each other. Bands in general would do that. I think at their best, healthy friend dynamics, groups of people, do this a little bit. When somebody says something out of character and kind of weird, you go, "Oh, where did that come from? Like why'd you say that?" and they're like "I don't know why I said that", and you're like, "That was so rude, so mean." That's an example of this really subtle recorrection. It's like, You're a nice person, the thing you said was not that nice, and I noticed it." And what they're saying is, "Oh yeah, I guess it wasn't, thanks for pointing that out." Right? That happened a lot in our band. I think it happens a lot in groups of friends."

 

- "How did you come up with the puzzles for The Catalyst single and A Thousand Suns? They were a great way to promote the album and got me involved in the LP community." -> "I mean we've always been doing, around releases, puzzles and scavenger hunts and stuff like that. It's always been a thing. I don't remember a band doing it before us where we went like, "oh let's do that." And you can ask Adam Ruehmer at Warner about it, or Lorenzo, Adam was there first. And we really came up with a lot of these with Adam. If I recall, though, it was like, within the band we all had this idea... first we did these little teases and puzzles and mysterious and then we made them more and more complicated. It's like suddenly... at one point we put out a visual around that time, it might have been for The Catalyst, where we hid a message, a code inside the visual. In order to see the code, you'd have to take the visual and put it in Photoshop and tweak the colors and then you'd see the thing. We thought maybe fans would never see it, and we thought maybe it would take somebody a week to figure it out. It took them less than a day. It was like, "boom", fans saw it, and they were like, "this either means this or that, or we figured out the album title, or about this single imagery." All of these things were happening like that, and it was like our fans have always been so fast to crack or hack a contest. It's always been a signature part of the Linkin Park fan culture. And by the way, shoutout to Twenty One Pilots, and Imagine Dragons, and grandson is doing it a little bit now. Those guys have taken that and gone to a different level with it, with complexity. I haven't followed all of those things because I don't have time in my life to crack all of those puzzles. But I do know that they do them and that it's been a thing. I don't know if they know where it comes from in terms of the history of it. Certainly those guys have taken it and gone a whole other level with it."

 

- "Have you or the band ever had to cancel shows because you or band members ever got sick besides Chester's injuries?" -> "Our joke was always that if we were going to cancel a show, it would take Chester basically breaking a major bone or like some major injury. Like some minor injury... he'd break a bone in the middle of a show and still do the show. He broke his ankle at one point and did a show. He was injury prone, partially because he was really active and also because he had a very energetic way about him. If you think about it, if you move like Rob Bourdon, if you move slowly, like in life if you move physically slowly and deliberately, then you're less likely to slip and fall on something, right? Or to tweak a muscle. And if you move like Chester in life, then you're more likely to trip and fall on something. That's just how it is. And that played out with injuries and stuff. Because the other thing, if you're going to have somebody get sick and stop a show by being sick, it's going to be the vocalist, right? And generally when I got really sick, when I've been really sick, I am almost always still able to rap. And then I could lean on Chester for the singing parts, I'd just be like, "Look, I'll do the best on these harmonies but you may notice I'll just hold back on some of the harmonies just because I can't hit the notes today." And he'd be like, "That's fine." But if it was the other way around, he could sing to a degree but if he was cracking or whatever on notes, you'd notice it. But generally he'd sing through them anyway though. He just would do it, even if the notes cracked or his voice went out, he'd just try.. he didn't want you to miss your show. He wanted you to still have the show. It's very unusual to be able to push through things like that. Certainly if like, Adele gets sick, she can't push through a show, it hurts the style of her singing to the point where it won't work. So it is what it is."

 

 

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4 hours ago, sordomuda said:

Great q&a. I was sick of these clickbait Articles about friendly fire as well ...

 

"Mike Shinoda says Linkin Park has an unreleased song with Chester Bennington. Click here to find out when it may drop!"

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9 hours ago, Justin said:

 

"Mike Shinoda says Linkin Park has an unreleased song with Chester Bennington. Click here to find out when it may drop!"

Yeah exactly i’ve Lost count how many of them i saw on my FB wall... there were even headlines about songs in plural like Linkin Park still has unreleased songs with Chester on the vocals etc 

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26 minutes ago, sordomuda said:

Yeah exactly i’ve Lost count how many of them i saw on my FB wall... there were even headlines about songs in plural like Linkin Park still has unreleased songs with Chester on the vocals etc 

Exactly like when Morton announced”Cross Off”: “Chester Bennington recorded a full heavy metal album with Lamb of God’s Mark Morton” .... 

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43 minutes ago, PurpleFlinstoneVitamins92 said:

Exactly like when Morton announced”Cross Off”: “Chester Bennington recorded a full heavy metal album with Lamb of God’s Mark Morton” .... 


"Chester Bennington Had Secret Metal Band" was one I distinctly remember lol

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