My Linkin Park "Decade List"

January 2, 2010

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5 – INTRODUCING OURSELVES TO THE LABEL…THE WRONG WAY

In the late ’90s, we had played for and been turned down by every major label (and many of the indies). Warner Bros. Records initially passed on us, but had a change of heart and decided to sign the band. Soon thereafter, we decided that we wanted to make an impression with our new “teammates.” We immediately put out a message to the entire WBR staff: we wanted to meet them. We set a date, and took over their conference room. We sat them down, exchanged pleasantries, and gave them some paperwork that outlined who we were, what we intended to do, and how we thought our music, marketing, and fan club should be treated.

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a middle-aged record label employee with some experience in the “record business.” You’ve had some big hits, and you consider yourself to be good at what you do. Then, imagine a young, unproven, newly-signed artist meets you in your conference room, to hand you a stack of papers telling you how to do your job. What?

I don’t think we knew how risky it was to pull the stunt we pulled. Luckily, they were enamored by our “chutzpah,” and decided to roll with us. The entire Warner staff was suddenly talking about the new band they just signed.



(image: Chester and Rob before the Shanghai show, 2007)

4 – SHANGHAI STADIUM, November 18th, 2007

Upon arrival in Shanghai, we knew the show was going to be special…but we had no idea. When we were met at the airport, our promotion and label staff informed us that the last two rock bands to play China at the time were Nine Inch Nails and The Rolling Stones. They told us the largest concert by a foreign rock artist was The Stones show, which was attended by roughly 12,000 people. We were about to play a show at Shanghai Stadium, which was easily two times that size.

Upon arrival, we saw the concert was heavily guarded by national police. Every few feet, all along the perimeter of the venue–EVERYWHERE–stood an officer in uniform. I wasn’t sure if they were armed, but it was definitely different for us. We were informed that the police forces were all prepared to engage if there was any rioting, violence, etc…That scared the crap out of me. I pictured a few fans throwing something, the entire place erupting into violence, and foreign rock bands being banned from Chinese concerts for a long time. I thought it was a somewhat irrational fear. I was later informed that if a riot had occurred, the scenario above is exactly what would have happened.

Luckily, the Chinese fans–and our band and crew–never went down that path. it turned out to be one of the most exciting and important shows of our career so far. By the end, we even caught a few of the police guards nodding their heads to the music.


3 – LINKIN, NOT LINCOLN

Some of you know the story: when we were in the studio writing our first album, our band was called Hybrid Theory. Another band (on the label, I think) was called “Hybrid,” and they didn’t want us getting confused with them. We agreed. Sitting at our dirty, cheap rehearsal space in Hollywood, a number of names were thrown around. The only one we really liked was “Lincoln Park.”

At the time, less than half the people we knew had email addresses and access to the internet. Dial-up was aggravatingly slow. Bands’ “mailing lists” were all about phone numbers and home addresses. Someone (Brad, maybe?) suggested that it might be important to acquire lincolnpark.com. We tried, but it was taken.

At the time, it seemed like a small and simple decision to change the new potential band name from “Lincoln” to “Linkin” in order to get the domain.

I once heard it put this way: if you were to start at a center point and draw a one-inch line, then change direction one degree and draw a second line, the two end points would be close together. It may seem like an insubstantial thing. But draw those two lines out hundreds of miles, and the end points will be miles apart. Sometimes a small change or decision can add up to a drastic difference in direction.

http://linkinpark.com


2 – MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

Fast forwarding to 2007: MTM was a special album for the band. Fans know that the songs and approach were different…but there was a deeper change that I remembered seeing, one that came from each personality in the band and multiplied by the guidance that Rick gave us. This was the exact moment where, creatively, the guys in the band came together more closely than ever before. There was more of a sense of camaraderie and collective creativity than ever before. Irrespective of the music, the band changed a lot in the 12-18 months we worked on that record. I think we grew up a lot, had a ton of fun making the album, and became much better friends.

Here are some photos that I just found of us hanging out at that time:





1 – THE RETURN OF PHOENIX

Our bassist Phoenix and guitarist Brad were college roommates. We all played and recorded together in the beginning…but Phoenix was also committed to another band. He had been close friends with those guys before we ever met him, and when they left on a small tour, he went with them. I think we spent nearly a year bugging him to come back to the band. Touring without him, the balance of personalities in the band felt like a constant nagging issue. We knew the chemistry was off.

Some people think that he came back because we were starting to see some success and money. I know Dave; that’s only a small part of the equation, if any part of it at all. He had made a promise to his other friends, and he fully intended to see that promise all the way through. He didn’t come back to Linkin Park until his other band had run its course.

I am positive that if he had not, the dynamic in our band during those early years would have caused an implosion of some sort, and our band would have gone a far different (likely very negative) course.

Especially in the early days, Phoenix was a calming presence, and a voice of reason. We were pretty lucky he was able to come back.

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Hope you liked the list. These were things that stuck out to me as big things that few people consider “milestones” in the band’s career, but I know without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Looking forward to the new year, a new album, and whatever is to come in the next decade for Linkin Park. Happy New Year!

mike

mike

55 Comments

  1. raul on March 24, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Im MAHSHID.I love linkin park because its somethung difrent.and…happy birthday chester.

  2. keli_21 on February 15, 2010 at 6:17 am

    very interesting.

  3. K.P on January 30, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I love you….don’t speak english….
    where is translate ??xD
    have hope you will come to Poland one more time please …a lot of Polish fans are waiting for it …

    more nothing will write because in the Internet I cannot search for no good translator

  4. Sarah on January 29, 2010 at 11:24 am

    I’m so glad that Phoenix came back too! You guys were good when he was gone, but it felt like something was missing. BTW, I loved this blog post, it taught me a lot about the band that I didn’t previously know, thanks Mike! and most importantly keep rockin’! =D

  5. FuckLinkinParkHaters on January 20, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    I think 2 things that made the band get to where they are now are:
    1:The humanitarianism that the band shows to the rest of the world when other groups/bands/artists refuse to (for example, Haiti…)
    2:The dedication that each one of you guys put into the band itself. The band wouldn’t be anywhere if they didn’t know how to come together to put out the music that True Music Lovers like myself listen to. Thanks Michael, Chester, Brad, Dave, Joseph, and Rob for doing what you do everyday.
    I hope you guys know that fans like me actually realize what you guys do to impact the world, and I personally appreciate it. Good luck on the new album, can’t wait to hear it. Btw, i’m the same person as Mr. Linkin Park, just a little fun fact.

  6. анька on January 19, 2010 at 10:33 am

    MMM…LP forever!!!!

  7. zona_heera on January 11, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Wow a decade reflection is a while, but hey at least you all got there together! 🙂 Phoenix would of course came back, without him there wouldn’t be an awesome bassist, coming from a guitarist myself. :D. And wow, I was looking through my old LP’s stuff, and I’ve figured that you guys have changed a lot, esp MTM which has shown evidence of you guys coming closer, both in your music and in friendships. I love the fact how Chester is just lazing about, and you’re working away on the computer (probably editing songs? :D) going, “let me be lahhzzyyy”. lol.
    zona x
    p.s anytime dyeing your hair red again soon? 8D

  8. lalahlp on January 10, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Mike 🙂
    can’t wait for the new album 😉 ^^

  9. deadbyke on January 9, 2010 at 4:38 am

    Mike,voice from China..oh man,it sounds that you feel Chinese polices are so terrible..actually it’s not
    sometime not all the things you get about China is true。。。。。
    looking forward to LP‘s new CD

  10. Paradisewolf on January 8, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Hi,Mike. I’m a high school student in China. Thanks for accompanying me for more than 5 years. I can’t live without your music now.
    You have a great gift in music, but what impress me even more is your sensibility and fraternity, esp. your feelings of responsibility as a human being with great conscience. All of those “singers” only concern on economical profits. Who will pay a trace of attention to this globe, to those wicked things taking pace, to those victims of wars and even the flood in New Orelean. Thank you for presenting us such an album, I’m glad to see my favorite band shining with humanity.
    By the way ,when is the next? I’m dying for it!
    All the best! God bless you alll!!!

  11. joelle1984 on January 8, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Thank you for sharing all this. I was in your Shanghai concert last year. It’s an amazing experience.

  12. marthamendus on January 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Wow, that’s really wierd…it doesn’t seem like it’s been THAT long. Decade sounds like a while. I wish I could do something like that, something I could look back on after TEN years. I want to start a project called OKCreate, for the youth of Oklahoma City to get together, and do creative, and productive works of art for the city. But, I’m poor so you could help me, COME TO OKLAHOMA CITY!

  13. Aline on January 6, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    You’re the best!

  14. aLLey_beNNoda on January 6, 2010 at 6:03 am

    it’s warming my heart to read this post… ❤ have a great year ahead Mike!

  15. Jo_o8 on January 6, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Thanks for sharing your list with us Mike. Despite what some fans had said about the MTM album I loved it and it showed what you guys were capable of doing musically. I can see why Pheonix is at no. 1 and according to what you have said I am very pleased that he did end up staying. In the beginning I bet there were people who did not think LP would be still around in 10 years time but you guys have obviously proven them wrong. Thank you for 10 years of amazing music and I can’t wait to see what LP have in store for us in the coming years. I am so glad to have become a Linkin Park fan.

  16. Sher on January 5, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Happy 2010 to you and your family! Those are some great memories throughout the years. To us fans, we appreciate all that you guys do and anxiously waiting for your new creation! Keep on collaborating and sharing your art!

  17. vickilp on January 5, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    nice… nothing to say …

  18. Charity on January 5, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    You put a big smile on my face. A great start to a great year to come. Happy New Year Mike!

  19. Ellz on January 5, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    2020 here we come! Good read. Thanks for sharing.

  20. PETAPAL on January 5, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Hey Mike, I just wanted to say “Thanks,” for taking time out of your busy life to share with the fans. I know it took you a while to write all this down and to add the pics. During a concert, we as fans are paying for your (the band’s) time, but on here we are paying for NOTHING! This is something that you graciously do on your own time, and trust me, we (Linkin Park fans) are well aware of this. Maybe that explains why you see so many dedicated LP fans online. Again, Thanks!!!

  21. Olga21 on January 5, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    HI Mike!very amazing photos!)))Mike,i want to sent to you my artworks(i like to pain portraits,nature,still-life)maybe,youll give me your advices... please say me how to sent to you my artworks?P.S.i started to listen LP when i was 14)))today im 21)))im from Latvia-Daugavpils.i very like your artworks and songs of LP and Fort Minor.youre very talented!)))i wish you good luck in the work and good mood.(on the LPN please accept my invitation in friends)sorry for my bad english….)))Thank you!))

  22. lp_stef on January 5, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    wow that was amazing..i’m kinda speechless but i knew number one would be the phoenix come back^^ without him LP wouldn’t be LP

    i don’t know what would have happened to me if i hadn’t had your music the last decade so THANK YOU SOO MUCH!!! i love you guys

    hope you had fun in your holidays and happy new year!! 😀

  23. MARI_SABEL on January 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm


    mike,please,check it out!i think that music of this band “Info” is great!tell me your opinion about their music!it’s realy important!

  24. PsychO_InsIdE on January 5, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Minutes to midnight had a different impact on me. It was just like you said it would be. It was different but it was stil LP music and I Liked it. After that I started to see how other people reacted. They liked only your old stuff and when they listed to M2M I started to see Linkin Park sucks and other disturbing things on the web.I remained with this impression that M2M had a negative impact on the band. This list changed everything in my head. Now that I know the positive efect it had on you , I feel very eased. The world would be a lot worse without you guys and everyone knows it.Thank you for existing. Thank you for beeing what you are and who you are. And I wish you a Happy New Year!

  25. Madlen on January 5, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I can’t imagine what the world would be like if you guys didn’t exsist…that would be a very weird world:)You’ve changed so many lives…you’ve saved so many lives.I bet that feels really great:)You helped me too you know:)So I really hope that you keep making good music,keep experimenting with new stuff and just…stay cool:)It’s great to see a band whose members actually care about each other and are actually friends…and don’t just bitch about each other:)That’s all-I love you guys and I can’t wait for the new record.Happy New Year!Oh I wrote a liltte blog as a reply to this:)http://linkinpark.com/post/member/TheGlueLpFan/all/replytomikeslinkinparkdecadelist

  26. SkyOlker on January 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Great! Thanx for sharing!

  27. wiwizitah_Park on January 5, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Hi Mike!
    I like to read your blog cause you talk about linkin park and moments spend with them, So i can imagine this moments in my mine, i can know better.
    My wishes are that you have many sucess and come back to Portugal, Pleasee ;)!!
    Congratulations for the decade list, you deserve!
    You music will never be forgotten!

    Kisses
    LP forever, LP For Life!

  28. qwertz on January 5, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Yess! Respect the Phoenix!! Kudos for the brave step forward with MTM! But seriously, item no.5 really was snotty. If I were a middle-aged record label employee with some experience in the “record business” and you pulled that stunt on me, I wouldn’t be impressed -_-.

    But I wasn't! ^^
    

    Happy almost-a-decade of the band (kinda late for the holidays, eh? :p) and may you have many, many more!

  29. Shinoda77 on January 5, 2010 at 7:35 am

    It was great to be able to read this, thanks for sharing. I see how awesome you guys are. Just thank you for doing what you do. I love you, happy new year 🙂 And I’m so glad that I can comment on mikeshinoda.com again 😀

  30. Parker on January 5, 2010 at 7:15 am

    but this decade hasn’t already finished, has it? 😀

    but thanks for sharing with us those conclusions though ;] nice to hear it. hope the next years will bring much more for you guys ;]

  31. Devian on January 5, 2010 at 7:06 am

    LP will have much more rememberable moments. I hope the story will go on – even in 3010. Linkin Park is music – and nobody can kill music… WOHOOO 😀

  32. sheba on January 5, 2010 at 6:19 am

    hey Mike ! how are you doing ? that’s the best blog you’ve ever posted . I tried to comment , but had some problem before but now everythings fine . Anyway ! wish you all the best for the coming years and decades and hope that LP is successfull in making new albums and remaining in the hearts of millions of fans . take care !

  33. ShaneX on January 5, 2010 at 6:16 am

    it works! and happy new year 🙂 I had a traffic accident today….

  34. The_Black_Hawk on January 5, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Hey Mike, Happy 2010 to you & to linkin park, I wanted to ask you something, how long are you gonna keep on rockin? I mean, it would seem a lil bit crazy for you on the age 50 (for instance) to rap on a song or on a stage, And I wanted to know until when are you & linkin park keep on makin music & performing?
    Maybe it was not a good question, but I’m tryna be real, that’s what’s going to happen some time at last, maybe in 2020? or 2030?
    Hope you’ll get to see this & answer it, I’m really curious about that…I wish you guys another great decade, filled with lots of noise and joy! Rock On LP!

  35. Reenzy on January 5, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Finally I can comment this entry and goddamit, I forgot what I was meant to say xD Whatever. um.. I think I wanted to say something like I’m feeling lucky to be a fan =) I remember the very first time I heard your music.. It was like 4 years ago and I was with my mom and brother. He wanted to get some PC games so mom told me to choose a CD for myself.. I didnt know anyone on the shelf.. lol and for some unknown reason I chose the Live in Texas CD+DVD. It was the best choice of my life.. Didnt know you guys before that. I think I was totally lost in this world. Your songs could tell everything about me.. I felt like I wasnt alone.. =) You are more than a ‘simple’ band for me =)

  36. LinkinFreaky on January 5, 2010 at 3:52 am

    Well… let’s start the next 10 years 😀

  37. gugu on January 5, 2010 at 3:34 am

    thnx mike for the awesome post…wish u and linkin park a very happy and a prosperous new year…

  38. abbykulyde on January 5, 2010 at 3:32 am

    hey Mike Happy 2010!=D

    t’was really an excellent decade for you guys,i personally like Nos.1&2 2, where you showed photos of you guys hangin out.. your friendship really played a very special role in your work.. and we heard the outcome MTM
    …and 1, while i am reading this blog, i got my HT album here beside me..=) i keep on looking at your HT pic, though it missed Phi.. (you killed him with your kind words he said.. haha!)

    good job guys! again, Happy New Year to your family and to Linkin Park! good luck to the new album…

    ♥abby

  39. liope on January 5, 2010 at 3:19 am

    Happy New Year!! What an amazing post!! I was moved when i read it!! ^^ I’m so proud of you guys! Keep rocking and amusing the world with your unique music!! Best wishes to all of you! 😀

  40. Fatima91MS on January 5, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Happy New Year, Mike!:) wish you all the best in 2010 😉 take care!
    Now comments works again, just wanted to say thank you for this amazing post, always interesting to read ur blog, thanks Mike!:)

  41. Tata_shak on January 5, 2010 at 2:49 am

    Yes, we can comment!
    Well, i hope that you know that Linkin Park is on my decade top list. You guys always helped me in a lot of ways with your music (personally speaking) and for your concert here in Brazil on 2004 (the best of my life for sure).
    The new decade comes, and i hope see you more then once here!

  42. iina on January 5, 2010 at 2:41 am

    It was totally intresting to read the list, there was some stuff I had never heard before. In a way, I also realizd that without Phoenix it would be whole different band. Thank god he came back. 🙂

  43. lp_fm_fan on January 5, 2010 at 2:34 am

    See, twitter is an effective way of communicating. 😄

    happy new year, Mike! hope the new blog is coming along well. 🙂 can’t wait to see it! 😀

    i went aww when i saw that comment of Phoenix!

  44. TommyGLXS on January 5, 2010 at 2:08 am

    btw HAPPY NEW YEAR MIKE.great list. i know that u have a lot of struggles until u all ,specially u can b like now. i really appreciated it cause it born lot of genius n famous songs.u know that’s really inspired me.full of thx i give it to u.i hope oneday when i graduate from my art school i can be joined to ur galleries .. hahaha… it’s only my hope.. don’t be scared my draw not really bad// hahaha.

  45. miKer0cks on January 5, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Firstly, happy new year!!! May all your wishes come true 🙂 That’s an amazing list! The 2 things I liked the most were no1 and no2…You’re one of the 3 ppl on earth that puts friendship above all and I really apreciate that. I actually envy your friendship with the guys :/ And as for MTM, it was a risk for you to change the sound of your music but it turned out to be an amazing record as always with songs like Hands Held High and What I’ve Done which I believe have touched many ppl and not just me. Overall, I loved the list. Thx for sharing your thoughts with us, you’re an amazing bloger 🙂
    A random question now: Which were your all-time favorite songs of the decade? (from 2000-2009)

  46. lovableFreak on January 5, 2010 at 1:28 am

    now, that the comment stuff is working again i just wanna say thank you for sharing stuff like that with us. and thank you for being so honest towards your fans… i really apprecciate that! i’m hoping for great things to come this year… maybe, we’ll get a new album. maybe, you’ll have some awesome new art work to show. maybe, there’s a tour… but mostly i’m excited for the surprises. 🙂
    so, i hope you had a great start into 2010. take care!

  47. 路人甲 on January 5, 2010 at 12:24 am

    mike, i juz love the style of your musics, especially MTM, its awesome, its pretty nice to watch a band’s revolutions, looking forward to the future! when would the new album comes out in other countries? im at hong kong, i hope it will publish at hong kong very soon… coz i juz can’t wait to c it! xxx

  48. nikenike on January 4, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    thats nice to know… really appreciate that thing …

  49. Yueri on January 4, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing things that are so important to you with your fans.

    Happy New Year! =)

  50. Shade on January 4, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    That’s great to know, especially about the chutzpah, you guys were really passionate eh?

    I’m looking forward to your Albums of 2009 list too, last year’s was great.

  51. Full_Metal_Ninja on January 4, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing the top 5. I wish I can same the same about my decade lol

    Regarding Phoenix, that’s really awesome.

    On another note, if he was on that Hybrid Theory picture, where would you put him? lol and would it look as badass as you guys would have intended it to be? heh

  52. vr23 on January 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Thats amazing stuff right there mike. Appreciate the time you take to share your thoughts! Your journey is like life itself. There wil be its high points and low points. TImes where you need to fight for the best and relax and be who you are. It is an honor to be a fan of you guys and I am definately looking forward to what the future has in store! BTW You guys should make another projekt rev tour and maybe tour with a band like Blink. You guys could make some great collaborations and really make a great time for everyone. I look forward To tha futureeee! You tha man!-Vic

  53. LPfan166 on January 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I liked the list ha. I totally didnt know why Phoenix wasn’t in the Hybrid Theory picture, but now i do 😛

    P.S. my bday was on Nov. 18 haha too bad i didnt get tickets the the Shanghai show aha

  54. Sintia on January 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Once I think I may know or have an idea about LP I end up learning something new. Love it!! Its the little blogs about yourself or LP that so say alot. I am glad to hear that you had a good christmas & hope that you had a fun new years no matter what you decided to do. I am looking fwd to hearing & reading about what else is going on with LP. I hope you, LP & your families are in great health & are doing good. Take Care.

  55. _Tiff_Tiff_33_LP_ on January 4, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    OH wow I like the list it’s awesomeness!!!!^^p.s my b-day is on the 13th ill be 18,got any advice for me? ^^

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