Back Talk with Mike Shinoda

Juxtapoz // Wednesday, 26 Aug 2009
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In expectation of Mike Shinoda’s highly anticipated show, Glorious Excess (Dies), this Saturday, August 29th, we decided to hit the artist with our Back Talk questions.

 

 

Even if you aren’t familiar with this multi-faceted artist, chances are that you will instantly recognize his band, Linkin Park. But Mike has been making art long before his fame as a rock musician. More than a  musician merely dabbling into the art world, he is a fully developed master is both arenas.

 

In the hyper-surrealist and psychedelic exhibition, Glorious Excess (Dies), Mike grapples with the public’s obsession with celebrity culture, consumer addiction and fascination with excess. Get to know what makes the artist tick with Back Talk with Mike Shinoda.

How do you feel right now?

 

A little under the weather, just finishing up a world tour with my band, and setting up for my Glorious Excess Dies art show in Los Angeles…so, tired, but excited.

 

If you could wake up in a different place tomorrow morning, where would it be and what would you do?

 

Home, and I’d get a burrito.  I’ve been on tour in Europe and Asia for almost five weeks, and they basically don’t have Mexican food here.

 

If you lost your creative skill, how would you see yourself making a living?

 

I hope I never have to think about that.  My wife knows: if I go for a couple days without doing something creative, I start having crazy nightmares and insomnia.

 

If you could punch one living contemporary artist, who would it be?

 

If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all…

Was your first kiss worth writing a song about?

 

Whether good or bad, isn’t everyone’s?  I never have, though.

 

At what point were you particularly happy?

 

Recently, I was ecstatic when I finished the book for my “Glorious Excess Dies” show. In the past, every time I talked about the show, I felt like I didn’t do it justice, or I left something out. The book finally sums up the ideas of the show, which can be a little complicated sometimes.

 

No regrets allowed, but there must have been one?

 

I probably have some, but I can’t think of one right now.

 

What trait do your friends have in common?

 

I suppose a lot of my close friends are pretty assertive.  They tend to go after what they want.

If you had to evacuate your home or studio, what's the one thing you would grab?

 

My laptop. Sorry if that’s too practical; I keep my music and art on there, and I doubt I would be able to recreate that stuff if it was lost.

 

Greatest love of your life?

 

My wife.

 

What is your favorite vice?

 

On tour, Chester, Dave and I play Texas Hold ‘Em literally every other day.  We don’t usually play for a lot of money--$20 dollar buy-ins most of the time—but we play a lot.  In fact, I think we’re going to be putting together a charity poker tournament with Music For Relief soon.

When you blow out the birthday candles, what do you wish for?

 

Stuff that’s way too personal for Juxtapoz (or anyone) to print.

 

If you could play a character from a favorite film or TV show for a day, who would it be?

 

I used to love Knight Rider.  How cool would it be to drive around with KITT?  Actually, a couple of my bandmates and I have joked about turning my car into KITT, painting it black and adding the LED light on the front. The funniest part is that the car is a Prius.

 

Do you ever lie?

 

I try not to make it a habit.

 

Do you think viewers understand the intent of your work?

 

It’s tough; I find that I’m constantly riding the line between explaining too much, and explaining too little.  If I explain too much, I feel like I’m forcing a meaning onto the art of music, which can take away from the fan’s version.  What if the fan thinks it’s about one thing, and then you tell them it’s not?  That sucks—I’d rather they have their own version than mine, in that case. But if I explain too little, I feel like I’m chickening out, and not standing behind the actually story or inspiration behind the art.  Maybe I worry too much!

What virtue can you do without?

 

That’s an awesome question; so hard to answer.  What are the virtues?  Patience, generosity, chastity, courage, morality…I don’t know what they all are.  I guess chastity would go away first!

 

Do you even notice when you're swearing?

 

Absolutely. A lot of my friends have kids now, and I don’t want to be the one responsible for them cursing at Mom and Dad.

 

What has been your proudest moment?

 

I’ve been lucky to receive a lot of honors; the awards for music come to mind first. But it’s not really right to feel “proud” of those—awards, for the most part, are decided by a group of “insiders.”  The best music and art isn’t always the stuff that wins awards.  So I suppose I’m more proud of something that was a direct result of my own actions, like graduating college.  I worked my butt off to finish school.

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

 

Not bad things, I hope.
 
How would you prefer to die? 

 

I hate getting my blood taken in a hospital, so hopefully in a way that doesn’t involve that.  Every time I get my blood taken, I get nauseous to the point of throwing up.  In college, we went to USC medical center and drew in a room full of cadavers, and those didn’t make me sick for some reason.  But drawing a little blood out of my arm makes me totally ill.

 

If you missed Andrew Michael Ford's recent interview with Mike Shinoda, check it out here...
 

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