“Learning Not To Drown”, Debut Novel by Anna Shinoda

March 17, 2014

I rarely talk about my wife Anna.  But today is a special exception, for a special reason.

Anna grew up in a mountain town so small it only had one stop sign.  He parents grew up during the Great Depression, and they lived in a modest home packed tight with her large family.  As a kid, she used to climb up into trees with books to escape the chaos of being the youngest person in the busy house.

Reading led to writing, and she eventually immersed herself in classes and conferences.  She worked with as many other published and non-published authors as she could.  In particular, she devoted herself to a manuscript that was clearly special.

I met Anna in the late 90′s.  Like most people close to her, I admire her honesty, integrity, generosity, and fierce independence.  A few years ago, after her manuscript got nominated for the SCBWI “Most Promising New Work” award, it became obvious (and exciting) that her book might eventually be published.  And knowing how much energy she was putting into the book, I realized how much she deserved to get proper credit.  Anna’s writing is great, and we both wanted her work to be judged on its merit, not on the book’s potential connection with me or Linkin Park.

So she made a decision: when speaking to people about her book, she would keep the focus on her writing, and not mention me.

It made things harder for Anna, and the process took much longer than it might have otherwise.  But in the end, it allowed the focus to stay on what was important.  Anna got nominated for two Sue Alexander Awards based on the quality of her writing.  She got her agent’s attention based on the quality of her writing.  And she got her publishing deal without sharing any knowledge that her husband was “famous.”  In fact, when she finally told her editor and team who I was their reaction was, “Linkin Park!? You’re kidding!”

I’m proud to tell you that, ten years in the making, her book was an endeavor she carried out with integrity.

LEARNING NOT TO DROWN is a dark, introspective, funny, and meaningful work of fiction; it follows a young girl named Clare as she deals with a brother in and out of prison, small-town gossip, and a family dynamic that threatens to choke out Clare’s own plans for her future.

Pretend that you, just like the people who have supported Anna so far in this process, are encountering this book without any connection to me or my band.  Pretend I’m just a friend telling you about it, because really, I have no hand in what makes it great.  And I promise: just like them, when you read it, you’ll find out that it’s an extraordinary novel, and you will love it.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER “LEARNING NOT TO DROWN”

mike

FIRST LINKIN PARK 2014 STUDIO UPDATE

February 3, 2014

As many of you have already noticed, I’ve been away from my blog / Twitter / Instagram for a while, since we’re pretty deep into the writing and recording process.  I wanted to take a moment to tell you about what’s going on.

As most Linkin Park fans know, the sound of each album is usually quite different from the last.  The new album is no exception.  But as usual, the album’s sound twists and turns as it is created, so any attempt at estimating what it sounds like today would be silly.  The moment I tell you it sounds like “X”, the songs will automatically take a drastic turn and evolve into something different within a week.

But what I can tell you is I’m inspired.  We’re inspired.

The band is trying all kinds of things we haven’t before.  First of all, we’re not in the same studio.  All our previous albums (except MTM) were recorded at the same studio; this album is not being done there.  All our previous albums were done with a producer at the helm; this album has largely been self-produced.  We normally write in a organized and regimented style, recorded into the computer; this album has been the product of a mix of focused experimentation and free form jamming.  We’re even tracking parts to tape instead of going exclusively digital.

I’ve been spending 10-12 hours a day in the studio–jamming, experimenting, writing, recording, re-writing, re-recording…searching for the sound that truly captures where we’re at as a band right now.  Something bold and energetic.  Something with a balance between the chaos and order.

As ever, we’re digging deep to craft the best songs that will set the tone for the next step, that will draw a line between what we’re doing and everything else.

We can’t wait for you to hear it this summer.

mike

In Response to “Rock Music Sucks Now and It’s Depressing”

September 9, 2013

“They say the classics never go outta style, but, they do… they do.  Somehow baby, I never thought we do too…” – Refused, on ”Worms Of The Senses/Faculties Of The Skull”

My name is Mike Shinoda; I’m a songwriter, vocalist, and founding member of the band Linkin Park, and I’m a regular visitor of Pigeons and Planes. When I read the Ernest Baker piece called “Rock Music Sucks Now and It’s Depressing,” I had a few reactions. I sent them to the folks who run the site, and they asked me to share them with you here.

(CLICK HERE FOR TO READ THE REST)

mike

“Station To Station” Art Train

August 26, 2013

 

September 6th to the 28th, created by artist Doug Aitken.  This train runs between New York and San Francisco.  From TheVerge.com:

“At each of nine stops, a core group of artists will be joined by performers both famous and unknown: Beck, Cat Power, Giorgio Moroder, and more are all set to appear at points across the country. In Chicago, five yurts will separate Union Station into a series of galleries; in Winslow, Arizona, artist Ed Ruscha will make cactus omelets.”

mike

THE PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT: Making shoes out of recycled plastic

August 11, 2013

In the spirit of SRS Haiti, check The People’s Movement.  Their story is above.  Thanks to Aaron Levant for the heads up.

mike

A Visit with Publish Brand

June 14, 2013

Publish Image

This week, I had a short visit with a new friend, Michael Huynh of Publish Brand Apparel.  He’s a smart and intense dude who built a company from the ground up.  His dad was a shoe cobbler with some experience in clothing, and never wanted his son to be in the apparel business, since he saw it as tough, low-paying, and service-based.  Michael’s dad wanted him to be a lawyer or doctor.  So Michael hid the idea of Publish from his dad.

The idea of Michael’s company came from his infatuation with a specific moment in the creative process: the moment when something becomes “real.”  For many, like myself, the buildup of time and energy behind a creative passion can be all-consuming to the maker, but there is often a sense of disconnection.  When you’re making something creative–an album, a book, or a clothing line, for example–countless hours may go into a project, over a long span of time.  During that time, it’s hard for other people to understand or appreciate the sweat and stress of making it work, the frustration of hitting dead ends and getting it wrong, and the overwhelming joy of getting it right.  Your parents and friends will ask, “how is it going?” but there’s really no answer you can give them that will help them understand.

Really, you’re working toward the moment when you get “published”–the moment when you finally get to show everyone what you’ve been up to.  Only then can they truly feel the effort that went into it, and begin to understand.

That feeling is one that I understand intimately, and it’s the feeling that Michael’s company was built on. He told me a great story about it: when Michael finally got his own space, his own office and warehouse, he didn’t even invite his dad to his opening party, for fear that his Dad would be disappointed in the small office.  Then, in the middle of the party, he felt a familiar hand on his shoulder…his father had crashed the party to see what his son was up to.

Michael was embarrassed and anxious as he showed his dad around the place.  But in the end, his dad gave him some of his most important encouragement.  And today, Michael is in the middle of a breakthrough in “publishing” his brand right now, finally turning heads with his creations.  In particular, their hats are kinda blowing up.

Unfortunately, as we were  hanging out and talking, I didn’t think to take any photos.  But if I had, I would have taken a picture of the craziest thing I found at their warehouse: the guy hand-making Publish’s popular hats is Michael’s own dad.

In a day and age where everything is computerized and streamlined, it’s often easy for fans to forget or question that there’s a human being on the creation side of the equation.  So sometimes it’s the human touch that makes the biggest difference.

As Michael says, “Today for Tomorrow.”

 

mike

The way we think about charity is dead wrong. (Video)

April 22, 2013

Today, Linkin Park won Rock The Earth’s “Planet Defender Award” (Wall Street Journal Article here).  For some reason I was reminded of this great TED video.

Is it wrong for a charity to make money?  Do the smartest people avoid working for charities?  Is it bad for a charity to advertise?  Is there a climate of risk-aversion in the non-profit world?  Why do we have no problem with companies putting trillions in their personal pockets from selling throwaway toys, clothes, sneakers, trashy movies, violent video games, cigarettes, alcohol, and so many other things…but it’s somehow not acceptable for a charity to make money?

If we’re talking about protecting the planet, or healing and educating people, I would prefer the job go to a team based on talent and great ideas, not based on lowest cost.  Watch the video, and I think you’ll find a new perspective on the important task of making the world better.

mike

RIP Chi

April 14, 2013

I just heard that Deftones bassist Chi Cheng just passed away, and wanted to share a short story with you. In the early 2000s, we went out on a European tour opening for Deftones which we jokingly called the “Endless Winter Tour” because we followed cold weather around the globe for what seemed like forever. Spirits were a bit down, because it was always freezing and we kept getting sick.

One afternoon, we had a cover photo shoot for some rock magazine, and Chester was late. We were just starting to be discovered by fans in Europe, and the photographer wasn’t familiar with our band.

As we were waiting for Chester, Chi was walking by, and in his typical warm, friendly style, stopped by to hang out and mess around with us. The photographer, seeing the new person there, and watching us together, assumed the guy must be in the band. “Okay, is everyone here?” I remember him saying.

We looked at each other, laughing, and told the photographer: “yep, this is our singer, Chester.”

We proceeded to do an entire cover photo shoot for the magazine with Chi from Deftones standing way out in front, pretending to be the singer of Linkin Park. Chi was hamming it up, doing exaggerated rock star poses. It was hysterical.

My love and deepest condolences go out to the Deftones family, and hope that fond memories like these can stick in our minds during this tough time.

RIP Chi

mike

Design For Linkin Park

April 9, 2013

We’re looking for artists, illustrators, painters, and designers. Send us your artwork inspired by the music and/or lyrics from our song “CASTLE OF GLASS.” The winner chosen by us will get a cash prize of $1000, and we’ll also print our favorite design on a t-shirt and sell it on tour and in our official merchandise store, plus send you a signed copy of the t-shirt you designed. The winner of the popular vote will get $500 and signed 1-off print of their design.

Go HERE for details. Can’t wait to see the submissions.

mike

Thanks, Germany

March 23, 2013

Joe and I just got back from Germany, where we went to the Echo Awards (the German Grammys), and did a bunch of press for our upcoming Facebook video game, called RECHARGE.  Good to see our friends and team out there, and great to hang with the awesome Til Schweiger, who has been a great supporter of LP.

I tried a little German on stage, which was fun.  I don’t actually speak German, but people tell me that, for those who speak English, German is one of the “easier” languages to learn because there are a lot of similarities in sentence structure, etc.  I’m not so sure about that…I had to practice the hell out of that speech in order to make it sound anything like German.

For those interested in our upcoming game, it’s called RECHARGE.  It’s still in development, and we’re making improvements all the time.  But we hope to have it ready by the middle of the year, maybe late summer.  It all depends on how the testing goes, and how long it takes to handle all the challenges and changes presented in testing.  A big thank you to everyone who is testing the game and telling us what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s not working.

In other news, how dope is that new Schoolboy Q song?

mike