In a February 11, 2008 post on LPAssociation, Derek couldn't have said it any better, "Its existence has long been rumored - the most legendary demo associated with the band. Plaster is the working or demo title of the breakthrough hit One Step Closer. Many have claimed to have the track, which has popped up on fan sites and P2P networks since the band made their way onto the internet.
Over the years, countless contenders vying for the title of the REAL Plaster have circulated. Among them: what seems to be a tape of One Step Closer being played through a cassette player then recorded through a PC microphone; the 'Rock Mix' of One Step Closer, which was distributed to radio stations on a promotional CD along with the album version; the 'ECW Mix' of One Step Closer, which appeared on a various artists compilation CD. How many fans have downloaded those files or others, hoping that it wasn't fake or some other track that someone just put an incorrect name onto?"
Plaster was one of those songs that had been discussed for years, but no one could actually track it down. Fans made their own remixes/versions of what they thought the demo would sound like and as convincing as some sounded, they weren't the real thing. However, this changed in 2008 when an internal CD went up on eBay with the following description:
"Plaster" (David Kahne Mix 1 of 4) * 02:36
NOT FINAL MIX, NOT MASTERED
From CD Source * June 2, 2000
This was the first internal CD of just one demo that fans had seen on eBay, so needless to say, collectors were hesitant to bid on it. Once the CD was secured, all doubts were put to rest when it was discovered that a real One Step Closer demo was there! The song was then released with a partnership between LPLive, LPAssociation, LPFuse and LPProjekt.
Besides the totally different mix (this mix is by David Kahne instead of Andy Wallace, who mixed Hybrid Theory), the song structure itself is also different. The vocal portion of the bridge of the song is repeated at the beginning where Chester screams "shut up when I'm talking to you" as the song kicks in, followed by a few other "shut up" repeats and a remixed "talking to you" portion. A camera shutter sample is also heard throughout the song, and finally, Chester's vocals are a different take.
Mike Shinoda Rundown
On February 20, 2008 Mike posted on his blog a full rundown of the song with his own thoughts and commentary. Since he has chosen not to respond to other demo posts since, it is assumed that since this was the first one-track demo leak, he chose to give his input:
"a few weeks ago, one of our top LP fan sites, LP association, posted an old demo version of one step closer, back when it was still called “plaster.” they did a piece on the article which seemed to be searching for facts and trying to figure out the authenticity of the recording. i heard it, and i thought i’d try to help out.
the track found on their link is actually a rough of the song in its final stages, after we had finished all the recording, but before a final mix. we were trying to decide who should mix the album, and we had our hearts set on andy wallace. our A&R guy’s boss at WB was david kahne.
according to our A&R guy at the time: david was one of the people who wasn’t 100% impressed with our band and our sound, and wanted to take a crack at mixing this song in order to improve things (and obviously try to convince us to let him mix the record). this may or may not be true, but that’s what we were told. obviously, david did a good job (the lpassociation mp3 is his mix)…but we decided to stick with our gut and go with andy. we had a feeling that andy, who mixed nirvana’s “nevermind,” would be a better fit for us.
some of the differences you can hear between “plaster” and the final album mix (by andy wallace)…
the main things that i remember sticking out to me when i first heard it was that david’s mix made the verses sound thick (because of the low end) and therefore the choruses lost a little bit of their punch.
some samples also stood out. the camera shutter-ish samples you hear in david’s mix are actually in the final andy wallace mix as well, but they’re mixed quieter (and thinner, i think). we liked them quieter in andy’s mix because they put more emphasis on the groove of rob’s drums.
finally, a deciding factor for brad and i against david’s mix was the edit to the “shut up” stuff–putting it in the intro. it made it sound like a remix, and ruined the surprise of the “shut up” coming in during the bridge (our thought was: if you’ve already heard that vocal part, the bridge packs less of a punch. it ruined the climax). that made me feel like we didn’t really see eye-to-eye on this mix, so although the mix was good overall, we chose to have andy mix the song and album.
in david’s interview with lpassociaton, he is (understandably) fuzzy about the details of our relationship back then. maybe it’s because he was dealing with many bands, while we, on the other hand, were only dealing with one album, and one label. hopefully i can help out by putting some details out there. david wasn’t involved with us when mark was in the band–he may have heard of us, but he didn’t work on our stuff. he did, however, get involved a bit once we were in the studio, by hearding demos and giving feedback–the same thing many label people and A&R folks do.
as you’ve heard, though, much of the feedback we got from the label at that time didn’t line up with the album we wanted to make or the band we wanted to be, so we chose to follow our own path.
the good and bad news about “plaster” is that i can’t think of another, earlier demo of the song that would really exist. the only step before this one probably wouldn’t have included any lyrics, but all the instrumental tracks would essentially be the same. as we wrote the song, we immediately recorded it, so that is to say there is only one recording; the first notes of the demo were in the same protools file that the song was finished in. there are no “live” demos, nor “garage recordings” of the song. so this version of “plaster” might be the earliest version out there."
On September 15, 2012, LPAssociation once again posted a second demo of Plaster, found on a May 8, 2000 six track internal CD. This CD was sold by an insider at 99X radio in Atlanta after the second time it completely went offline, in 2012.
While this six track demo (see all of the Hybrid Theory demo CD comparisons on our wiki page for that here) contained different versions of Papercut and With You, and demos of Points Of Authority, Crawling and In The End, this is a more completed version of the song than the first Plaster demo.
However, you'll notice a June 2000 date for the first demo and a May 2000 date for the second - it's very likely that the song existed in several forms at this point as the band was still figuring out what the best version was for eventual release on Hybrid Theory. Mike tends to point out in his last paragraph about the first demo that that demo was an earlier form of the song structure, meaning that the Plaster version on the six track CD was obviously much closer to the version found on Hybrid Theory.
First Demo (2008 Release)
Second Demo (2012 Release)