Linkin Park Hit the Studio in L.A.: We Have a Ton of Material

LP - - Linkin Park Hit the Studio in L.A.: We Have a Ton of Material

November 7, 2008
Rolling Stone

Mike Shinoda will always make time for important business. Linkin Parks rapper-songwriter-producer has already been sketching out new songs with the band, and last week they began recording the follow-up to the multiplatinum Minutes to Midnight in Los Angeles. I didnt stop writing since the last record, says Shinoda. Theyve seen the stuff on my hard drives. Ive got a lot of material, and I know the other guys have a good amount of stuff too. Its going to be fun.

The next studio album will likely appear in 2009. But on November 25th, Linkin Park will release Road To Revolution, a live CD/DVD set recorded this year at the Milton Keynes National Bowl outside London. Shinoda confirms he recently produced a track for Cypress Hill, but is more coy about another project hes been linked to: a mysterious online music video called Barack Your World, which is credited to the band White Pegacorn.

Sitting in a West Hollywood hotel suite with a full beard and a plate of fresh ahi tuna, Shinoda awaits the arrival of drummer Rob Bourdon and talks about the video, which is performed by hair-metal hand-puppets who sing a wacky heartland-rock ballad of politics and sexual innuendo worthy of Spinal Tap (Baby if you were my Iraq, I would never pull out, if you know what I mean and Dont tell me no lies, you got a weapon of mass destruction between your thighs!).

Can you explain Barack Your World?
Mike Shinoda: [Laughs out loud] I can neither confirm nor deny any relationship to that, although I think its hilarious. Ill say this: I have a friend named Mark [Wakefield, onetime singer for pre-Linkin Park group Xero], and weve been friends since we were 12. He and I started my band together. We used to make joke songs on the weekends in high school and college. Its just fun for us to do. Whether or not that [Barack Your World] rumor is true, thats definitely what we used to do.

Can you predict anything else coming from White Pegacorn?
I heard a rumor that theres some interview footage with that band. Hopefully those will show up online. I dont imagine that project will be an album. But what would I know? That band is so mysterious.

Minutes to Midnights Hands Held High is a very pointed song about the war, and you included it on the new live album.
We had put that song in the set and took it out because the chorus has 10 voices singing on it, and live it just never sounded right. But during the Milton Keynes show, there was a fan in front of the crowd who had a sign that said Play Hands Held High. Halfway through, I thought, we cant play the song because we arent prepared but I can give him the first half. So I just threw the verse in a cappella. In fact, we added that verse to the set, so that kids sign essentially changed the set for the rest of the year. It was really cool. As for the meaning of the song: We have a policy that we dont want to give away too much when it comes to the meaning of a song. We want to respect everybodys impression of what the lyrics are about. I dont think theres a ton of mystery over what its about.

Rob Bourdon: I think a lot of the lyrics on Minutes to Midnight are really thought provoking, and when you listen to a song like Hands Held High, you cant help but start thinking. Its good to encourage people to think for themselves and look at whats going on around them.

Youre in the early stages of a new studio album?
Shinoda: Very early stages. Im excited about it. I dont know what its going to sound like. At this point were doing a lot of demos in small groups. Everybody is throwing some ideas together. At this point, Im producing. I dont imagine Ill be the only producer on this record. I think were going to hire somebody else on.

Will it likely be someone youve ever worked with before, like Rick Rubin?
Shinoda: We havent talked about it at length. Rick was really great. I think we will work with Rick again in the future at some point, but I dont know if this is the record. At this point, its a pretty self-sufficient process. Were taking care of all our needs at this point.

This will be a faster turnaround for you?
Shinoda: Yeah. The stuff weve been writing is a little more challenging, a little more experimental in the way weve been writing and the sounds weve been making. But once we start getting our hands on it, some of it could straighten out and be a little more familiar. Some of the stuff were doing now is a little crazy.

Bourdon: If we get it out in 09, well be doing pretty good.

Shinoda: This one will not take as long as the last one from beginning to end, that one was about 18 months.

There was far less rapping from you on the last record. What about this time?
Shinoda: We wrote 150 demos for that record. If youd picked a different 12 songs, there would have been a ton of rapping. It just depends on what we want to release at the end of the process. And the songs that we did in the last batch for Minutes to Midnight that did not end up on the record could end up on a record in the future. The good news is we have a ton of material.

  cgy   02:09 10.11.2008