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[PRP Interview]

With Mike Shinoda

PRP:As always lets start with the basics, how did you guys all get together?
Mike: We've been together for almost 5 years... except for Chester - we met him about two years ago. The band started as friends, and when things got really serious, we decided we wanted to add someone like Chester. We sent him a tape of instrumentals to record to, and he kicked ass.

PRP: The group has gone from the name Xero to Hybrid Theory and now Linkin Park since its inception, what was the motivation behind these changes and did you have a tough time keeping a local following while going through them?
Mike: We changed from Hybrid Theory to Linkin Park because of some simple legal issues. We didn't want to get into a big battle over it, so we changed the name. Our Lincoln Park is in Santa Monica, CA. But when we started national touring, everyone thought we were a local band wherever we went, because there are so many Lincoln Parks everywhere. It was basically our band joke: we were local everywhere we went.

PRP: How was the experience of working with producer Don Gilmore on your guys Warner Bros. debut and was there any hesitation to use him at first, considering he had worked mainly with alternative acts such as Eve 6 and Lit before you guys?
Mike: Obviously, we were going for a much heavier sound on our album, so it was a concern at the beginning. But it all turned out good in the end. Don was really good to work with.

PRP: During the process of your new album there were a few title changes, such as "Mr. Hahn "to "Cure For The Itch" and "Esaśl" becoming "A Place For My Head", some lyrical changes and restructuring of the older material took place as well, what brought about the changes and which versions are you more fond of?
Mike: I am obviously happy with what's on the album (or else we wouldn't have committed it to tape!) but I do like the older versions as well. Most of the changes were done in order to make things a little more accessible. I wanted to make sure that people understood my lyrics. So I used metaphors that were a little more straightforward.

PRP: I've heard that you guys were actually originally from Calabasas, CA and not Los Angeles as most people think, any truth to this?
Mike: Most people don't know where Calabasas is, so we say L.A. Our drummer Rob is from Calabasas, though. We grew up all over the place: Joe is from Glendale, Brad and I from Agoura, Phoenix from Mission Viejo, Chester from Phoenix. But now we live all around the L.A. area.

PRP: Speaking of which, the band recently enlisted former bassist Phoenix back into the group after having not played with him since your Xero days, how is the chemistry with him, and who handled the bass duties during the tracking of your latest album?
Mike: We wanted someone in the bus to beat up on. Since we hate Phoenix so passionately, he was the only logical choice. As far as the playing on the album, Brad played the majority of the bass tracks.

PRP: If forced at gun point by a pack of militant mutant giraffes, would you don a tutu and sing sea shanty's on live TV?
Mike: Sure. What color tutu? Would you sing with me?
PRP: I don't think the world is ready for that just yet haha..

PRP: The decision to name your album "Hybrid Theory", which is in fact your old band name seems almost tongue in cheek, do you view it as a tribute to that stage of the groups evolution or anything?
Mike: We think everyone is very familiar (if not tired) at this point with the "hybrid" music idea. With the album artwork, we hoped to take that word to a different level: the idea that our band is about blending heavier styles with more delicate, beautiful elements. This kind of hybrid is a little more descriptive of our collective band personality, rather than a label of what kind of music we play.

PRP: As a group, you've maintained a fairly clean cut and positive vibe around you despite touring with bands such as the Kottonmouth Kings and (hed)p.e. who are known to get into a bit of trouble now and then, would you say that you guys are all relatively laid back?
Mike: We aren't trying to be big bad rock stars or anything. But I wouldn't say those bands are either, necessarily. We have fun at our own pace.

PRP: Have you ever farted in a Tupperware container which contained food, closed the lid fast and left it in the fridge for an unsuspecting victim?
Mike: No, but one of our band members once pooped in a bag, with the intention of throwing the bag on another band we were playing with.

PRP: You handle the more rap oriented side of things vocally, who would you list as influences and idols as far as emceeing goes?
Mike: I really like listening to The Roots, Black Eyed Peas, Jurassic 5, Pharoahe Monch, and lots of others. I don't think we really have space for me to list all my favorite emcees off.

PRP: The band is considered one of the new generation of groups who were almost born on the internet, how instrumental would you say the net has been in the exposure of the band and the evolution of your career?
Mike: Our street teams and fanbase was born and raised on the internet. It has been a very important part of our evolution.

PRP: The band have been quite generous as far as mp3's go, what's your take on the whole situation, negative or positive?
Mike: (you mean "how do you feel about Napster"? hahaha) - we think those things have very helpful for us, as a new band.

PRP: There have been rumors that the groups independent EP may be re-released and that material off of it may show up on the forthcoming U.K. Single for "One Step Closer", is there any truth to this and do you have any idea yet as to what exactly will be featured on the single?
Mike: The "One Step Closer" Import single will feature a remix (by me) of an older hip hop track of ours called "High Voltage", along with a slower song called "My December". What's nice for me about these things is that I did the majority of the writing on those songs, and I produced and mixed both.

PRP: Lyrically the album seems quite personal and introspectively written, was there ever any fear about having things so open and easy to interpretation?
Mike: No. Chester and I feel strongly that open, honest lyrics were ideal for this album. Not to mention that it's very therapeutic.

PRP: While performing live, band guitarist Brad is usually wearing large headphones, is there a distinct reason behind this or is he trying to make a fashion statement?
Mike: I don't know. He won't say. It's just a big mystery.

PRP: I've noticed you've done a bit of graphical work on the official website, was it past day job for you or more of a hobby?
Mike: I went to school for illustration. I've worked in graphics for a while. It's fun for me to be able to be involved in these things.p> PRP: You've mentioned the track "My December" which was recently included on the annual KROQ X-mas compilation, I've heard rumors that the song was actually recorded sometime ago and was never officially released, what's the story behind it?
Mike: We actually recorded it more recently, at a studio in Nashville. It was an idea sparked by the KROQ album. We figured, why not just write a new song, put it on that CD, and give it away for the holidays? So it'll be on our website soon.

PRP: Have you ever considered cuddling with a Popple or a Wuzzle or even perhaps a Madball while on stage?
Mike: No, but I've considered setting one on fire, extinguishing it with my urine, smashing it flat with my noggin, and eating it with a side of Mongolian beef.

PRP: The video for your first single "One Step Closer" is quite eclectic and getting heavy rotation as of late, where did the whole kung fu ghost monk theme come from and is it actually you guys in the make-up?
Mike: Our DJ, MISTA HAHN, wrote the treatment for the video. It's a scary look into his head, isn't it?
PRP: Nah, it's completely normal to think of flying kung-fu ghost monks.. I do it all the time.

PRP: In just over a month, your debut release has gone gold and it will no doubt easily go on to hit platinum, how does it feel to get such a warm reception so soon after the release?
Mike: We're totally thankful to all of the people who are supporting the band; especially our fans who frequent the website and our street teamers.

PRP: Do you fear with such a rapid rise to fame that it will wear off just as quick or even the possibility of being branded as an MTV band and such as a result?
Mike: We're in this to have a career. I love watching MTV, but I don't live and die by it.

PRP: Rumor has it that you guys will be appearing on Late Night With Conan O'Brien in the near future, any truth to this?
Mike: Yeah. Keep an eye on www.linkinpark.com for the date - we're confirming it soon.

PRP: With "One Step Closer" still doing strongly, have you guys made a decision as far as the second single goes?
Mike: Not yet.

PRP: It's been rumored that the band are also a prime candidate for Ozzfest this year and are planning a tour with Taproot early next year, has anything been discussed yet as far as upcoming tours?
Mike: We are doing a headlining tour in mid January through February, and Taproot is going to join us. We're very excited.

PRP: With the way things are going, the possibilities seem endless for you guys, what should we expect from the band in coming months?
Mike: You shall see soon, my friend.

PRP: Well that about wraps it up, any shoutouts or shameless self promotion?
Mike: I just want to encourage everyone to come out to the live show. Our shows are listed on www.linkinpark.com, so check one out, and come say hi, we always stick around to hang out with the fans afterwards.

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