Linkin Park rises to new heights

LP - - Linkin Park rises to new heights

December 26, 2008
Jam Showbiz

Linkin Park's new double-disc live CD/DVD, Road to Revolution, finds the rap-metal group documenting its mega-show this past June at the prestigious outdoor venue, Milton Keynes National Bowl, about an hour north of London, England.

The occasion marked the first time the L.A. band had taken its so-called Projekt Revolution tour to Europe and it was also the biggest date thus far (with an estimated audience of 50,000) and featured Grammy-winning collaborator Jay-Z of Numb/Encore fame also on the bill.

"It seemed like a really great show, one of the more unique ones on the tour," said Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park's rapper-keyboardist-backing vocalist-rhythm guitarist down the line from Los Angeles recently.

"So we figured we would kind of capture a snapshot of where we were at the end of this touring cycle. It was the biggest Projekt Revolution show so it was just a good feeling to get Project Rev outside the states and have such a massive reaction."

Linkin Park -- which has sold 50 million albums beginning with the 2000 breakthrough disc, Hybrid Theory -- currently is working on its next studio record but Shinoda wouldn't say much about the sound so far.

"At this point I'm producing it, but there's a possibility we'll bring somebody else on board, and I don't know," said Shinoda. "I put up a new picture on mikeshinoda.com of us working and stuff, thought it would be fun for the fans to see we're actually working on some new stuff.

"And it kind of went crazy. I think my viewer traffic went up 150% or something."

The new disc will be the followup to 2007's more guitar-based Minutes To Midnight, produced by Rick Rubin, which spawned an amazing five singles, but Shinoda didn't know if Rubin would be back.

"It's been such a ride, when we put out that album, we had been gone for a few years and we didn't know what the fans would think of the new direction, and now looking at this whole thing, it has spawned more singles than any other album, and it's just great to look back at it and say, 'Okay, we took a huge risk, and luckily the fans are still with us.' "

The new work-in-progress Park disc has been described by lead singer Chester Bennington as a "concept" album.

And Shinoda said the band is "still excited about experimenting, trying to push the boundaries of what people know Linkin Park to be. It's hard to say where we're going from here but I definitely feel like Minutes To Midnight opened up lots of doors for us, sonically and creatively, because Hybrid Theory and 2003's Meteora were so similar that I think we all felt like if we did another record like that we'd start to get really bored."

In addition to Linkin Park, Shinoda -- who has also produced tracks for the likes of Lupe Fiasco -- formed his own side band, the more hip-hop oriented Fort Minor, which offered up a 2005 debut, The Rising Tied. But he doesn't think he'll be pursuing Fort Minor projects for the time being.

"I think the reason I did Fort Minor in the first place is because I was stealing those songs that couldn't belong on a Linkin Park record and now I feel like maybe they could," Shinoda said. "We really kind of changed with regards to our creative dynamic, like our in-studio dynamic, things are different now so I feel like if I have any energy that would be Fort Minor energy it kind of be directed onto a Linkin Park album. I think all the guys are really happy with how things are going and we feel like we can do many different things that we couldn't do a few years ago."

Park's Shinoda a man of many talents

Linkin Park rapper-keyboardist-backing vocalist-rhythm guitarist

Mike Shinoda is also an accomplished graphic designer and illustrator and 1998 graduate from the Art Center College Of Design, who is involved in all of the L.A. rap-metal band's artwork, including album covers.

He just had a show at the Japanese American Museum in L.A. called Glorious Excess (BORN) with information and images available at mikeshinoda.com and will do another show called Glorious Excess (DIES) at the same gallery in January.

"It's kind of focused around a make-believe celebrity character," Shinoda explained.

"It's kind of what you want to make of it, what he does and what he's about, he's kind of a rich, shallow, dangerous celebrity. He doesn't really have a talent except for being what he is."

Not that it's based on anyone he knows.

"It's a little bit of what I read," said Shinoda before adding, "Actually I stay away from the tabloids to a large degree and I should say I don't like reading them and in doing this series, I had to do some research. But I felt buying these tabloids that I don't feel like I should be supporting them because I'm kind of taking shots at the lifestyle. So I went from buying a copy or two of the magazines saying, 'Okay, I'm not going to do that,' so then I stole them from the airport lounge, and I felt bad doing that because I was like, 'I can't justify stealing these now. That's not good.' So now I just do my research online. Or if somebody already bought the magazine then I'll borrow it."