Fresh Art/21 Questions: Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park

In the words of the late great B.I.G., “If you don’t know, now you know”. Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park is probably one of the most underrated producers/musicians/vocalists in the game. From the Jay-Z mash up album, Collision Course, to his Ft. Minor project, Shinoda proves to be a force to be reckoned with. Not only does Shinoda find comfort behind the boards, but he also gets busy with his paintings & art. Mike graduated from Art Center College of Design in 1998, with a Bachelor of Arts in Illustration. He has been involved with Linkin Park’s art direction since day one. He also has some art shows coming to a city near you in the near future (August in L.A.). I had a chance to hit up Mike with my infamous 21 question interview and this is probably one of my favorites so far. Check out some art below and the interview afterward.

FreshNerd: Invent a new word for vagina.

Mike: Thanks for leading off with that, so I know what I’m up against in this interview.

FreshNerd: You’re on a raft. Chester and Brad are overboard drowning. You can only save one person. Who do you save?

Mike: I thought the rule is that you always save the vocalist, because he’s the most important person in the band. At least that’s what people tell me.

FN: Mrs. Garrett from Different Strokes or Alice the maid from Brady Bunch?
And why?

Mike: I watched Different Strokes religiously growing up, so is it bad that I barely remember anything about Mrs. Garrett? I know she was a part of the show, but Arnold, Willis, and Mr. Drummond were all I remember. Incidentally, it was spelled “Diff’rent Strokes.” I don’t know what that superfluous apostrophe was all about, but I suspect it’s some kind of race related joke that I wasn’t in on.

FN: Hip Hop is…

Mike: …in danger of making itself unlovable.

FN: When was the last time you set a personal goal?

Mike: I do gallery art shows in my spare time, and I want to start doing art shows out of the L.A. area, in other cities. I have one more L.A. art show, which will be at JANM in August. After that, my goal is to take my art out of town for a while.

FN: What, if anything, do you actively boycott?

Mike: I don’t know…I guess I do have a philosophy when it comes to spending money on music. Every dollar you spend on an artist (whether it be on their music, concert tickets, or merchandise) is a statement; it says you want the artist to continue doing what they do. Some people don’t think anything about stealing a song from a band that they love, but then they turn around an spend a bunch of money on something that they don’t care a lot about, or stuff that is actually bad for them: a pair of jeans, a box of cigarettes, whatever. I guess what I’m saying is: I’m not a big fan of the idea of stealing from an artist you love, and then turning around and giving money to a brand or company you don’t love.

FN: What non-essential item do you always carry with you?

Mike: Is it bad that I consider my iPhone an essential item?

FN: How many sketches do you avg. per week?

Mike: Art sketches: 3 to 5. Music sketches/demos: 5 to 10.

FN: Describe your year so far in 2009?

Mike: I’ve spent a lot of time with my family, and worked hard on some new art and new music. All in all, a great year so far. I don’t know when our next Linkin Park album will be out, but I think it’ll be in the next 12 months.

FN: You get a call. You’ve been informed that you were improperly named. Mike is going to be expunged from your birth certificate. You’ll need to give them a new name instead that you feel suits you better. What name do you choose?

Mike: You stumped me on that one. Maybe a really cool 80’s rockstar name, like “Slash,” or “The Edge.” By the way, is it me, or does “The Edge” not look like his name fits him at all?

FN: If you had to choose, what could you do without…your hands or your ears?
And why?

Mike: I guess my ears. I need to paint or make music. With no ears, I can still paint. With no hands, it would be hard to do either.

FN: What is your favorite curse word?

Mike: I don’t know if it’s a curse word, but I love that people are using “douchebag” again. Therefore, by default, I love “d-bag” as well.

FN: That recurring dream you have, what is it about?

Mike: I actually don’t dream much. I sleep pretty hard—I once slept through a fire at my neighbor’s house, with fire truck sirens and everything.

FN: What song, if any, do you wish you were the first to write?

Mike: Tears For Fears: “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”

FN: 50 years from now, you would like for people to look back at your art and say….

Mike: “I knew I should’ve bought that when it was cheap. Fuck.”

FN: When was the last time you spoke to yourself out loud?

Mike: That’s funny. I do that whenever I say something that I know is awkward. Do you ever do that? Like when you’re leaving on a trip, and someone takes you to the airport, and they say, “Have a nice trip,” and you say, “You too,” but the second you say it, you realize they’re not going anywhere–they’re going home. Once I’m out of sight, I usually verbally berate myself quietly after doing that.

FN: When was the last time you went a full day without using your PDA?

Mike: I think we’ve already covered that topic…

FN: What advice do you have for up and coming artists?

Mike: I’m not convinced there is a real reason for an artist with less than, let’s say, 30,000 fans on a mailing list to sign with a major label anymore. If you don’t have that many fans, and anyone approaches you, get their number and keep in touch. When you have a lot of fans and some serious hype, you’ll have a lot more leverage when it comes time to tell the major label “no, I want to own my website, fan club, and all my merch.”

FN: You must give a lecture on a topic you know nothing about. What topic do you choose?

Mike: Comedy.

FN: Do you believe in aliens?

Mike: Sure.

FN: If yes, when was the last time you saw one?

Mike: When we were little, my brother and I saw one of those lights in the sky that moved too fast and turned too abruptly to be an airplane or helicopter. We were convinced it was a spaceship.

FN: Which look would you prefer to rock, the flock of seagulls cut or the REO Speedwagon mullet?

Mike: I’ve already rocked an REO Speedwagon mullet on a dare, so I guess I’d be more into trying something new.


  1. August 27, 2011  11:00 am by LarryNo Gravatar Reply

    Had a lot of fun with this interview, and I can see you did too!
    Never knew Mike was an artist (beyond the audible sense of the word...)

    • August 8, 2012  10:35 pm by Fresh NerdNo Gravatar Reply

      For sure, he's a down to earth guy as you can see.

  2. November 25, 2009  10:49 pm by SepiaMikeNo Gravatar Reply

    Don't give up,Mike.Search the light until you found...Let the fire of life burn in your heart. Peace Forever!

  3. Pingback : Mike Shinoda's Glorious Excess Dies (Pt. 1) | FreshNerd

  4. July 29, 2009  9:55 am by ya39oubNo Gravatar Reply

    and mike said that he know nothing about comdey.......i luv yah man.......

  5. July 18, 2009  5:33 am by Omari MidgetteNo Gravatar Reply

    Dear mike
    Please shave your beard this summer before you go on a tour this summer.

  6. June 17, 2009  4:25 pm by Omari MidgetteNo Gravatar Reply

    Please bring back the songs tour 2009 With You Runaway and Figure 09 Hit The Floor Nobody Listening FRGT/10 A Place for my Head QWERTY Ph5ing me A*wy High Voltage on your setlist 2009 with brand new extended intros and new outros this summer. Play With You with long extended new reanimation brand new intro this summer. Play By myself reanimated live 2009. Put back 1STP Klosr also play one step closer without a guitar this summer.

  7. June 17, 2009  4:21 pm by Omari MidgetteNo Gravatar Reply

    Can you please shave your beard off your skin with a Shaving cream and razor so you can look nice without a beard this summer. Please play One Step Closer without a gutiar this summer I like you to play without a gutiar on one step closer. Shave all your beard off.

  8. April 3, 2009  4:18 pm by marinNo Gravatar Reply

    you are, and nothing else're the man :D

  9. April 3, 2009  1:52 pm by CarolineNo Gravatar Reply

    that's our mike ;)

    he's the best

  10. April 2, 2009  5:16 am by StellaNo Gravatar Reply

    Great interview! Funny questions and Like the ways that Mike answered. Awesome! ^-^ By the way,can't wait for the new LP album.
    Wish you all the best!!! *^_^*

  11. April 1, 2009  8:52 pm by IllaraNo Gravatar Reply

    Mike is just awesome. I love it what he say about:

    "FN: 50 years from now, you would like for people to look back at your art and say….

    Mike: “I knew I should’ve bought that when it was cheap. Fuck.”"

    LOL! it cracks me up. awesome interview. ;)

  12. April 1, 2009  12:47 pm by smokin'No Gravatar Reply

    Damn Mike LP's new cd on early 2010 can't you guys make it any sooner, thiers like a huge voide from now t'll then

    i know that chester's album is gonna be great and time will pass by fast as it drops but from now to then im gonna be heck bored, i cant get inspierd by any other than u guys..

    peace and love from egypt.

  13. April 1, 2009  4:45 am by Dasha RedD aka FlukeNo Gravatar Reply

    Oh, yeah! It's awesome!
    Mike, you're one of the best! I want you to know this! =)

    But these questions... I don't know, what I'd say, if somebody asks me something like that. ^_^ But Mike is smart))

    Look forward to new LP album!

    Stay (Ahead),

  14. April 1, 2009  1:53 am by Joyce SpenceNo Gravatar Reply

    Mike you are super! LP forever!!!!!!!!

  15. April 1, 2009  1:10 am by Joyce SpenceNo Gravatar Reply

    Hello! My name is Joyce Spence. I am your admirer live in Khabarovsk (Russia), Me much pleases that you started to give the concertoes in Russia, but to bed Moscow and Saint-Piterburg far from my city and on your concertoes I get can the same way write from fans with all city of the FAR EAST...We are a honour for honour if you during the next world aurochs have covered little more city to Russia.thank you!

  16. March 31, 2009  11:20 pm by mariaNo Gravatar Reply

    oh cool. another show at JANM this august? sweet. i'll go again! :D

  17. March 31, 2009  9:32 pm by Korean_AlienNo Gravatar Reply

    Mike i saw the Linkin park Tour
    21.07.2009 Athens, Greece, Terra Vibe Park, European Tour
    23.07.2009 Graz, Austria, Stadthalle, European Tour
    25.07.2009 Pori, Finland, Kirjurinluoto Arena, Sonisphere Festival, European Tour
    26.07.2009 St. Petersburg, Russia, Telebashnya Stadium, Tuborg Greenfest, European Tour
    28.07.2009 Zürich, Switzerland, Hallenstadion, European Tour
    30.07.2009 Stuttgart, Germany, Cannstatter Wasen, European Tour

    01.08.2009 Knebworth, England, Knebworth Park, Sonisphere Festival, European Tour
    02.08.2009 Gräfenhainichen, Germany, Ferropolis 'Stadt aus Eisen', European Tour
    07.08.2009 Japan, Summer Sonic Festival
    08.08.2009 Japan, Summer Sonic Festival
    09.08.2009 Japan, Summer Sonic Festival
    13.08.2009 Taipei, Taiwan, Taipei Soccer Stadium, Summer Rock Summit
    and Maybe come to Seoul?!~~~~~~~Please!~
    many of Korean Fans Waiting for Linkin Park.!~~ come on!~~
    i Believe that Linkin park come to Seoul ^^ hehehe
    Linkin park came to 2003 , 2007
    Just Twice...why?..
    i Wish that Linkin park come to korea Every Years ~ ha?~~Please
    your my Energy ~Linkin park is my Life~ ^^ Hehehe

  18. March 31, 2009  6:57 pm by Korean_AlienNo Gravatar Reply

    Mike!!~~~ come back to Seoul korea !~~~ i waiting for you since 2years ago!~&^^
    hey mike you are so so Funny man in the world!~~
    i love your all of Linkin park Albums~~ i don't know that you got a Brother ~ Good~
    mike~ make a Baby with your Wife
    ^^ i want to see your baby^^
    and i Look Forward to your New Albun!! now i Listening the Valentine's Day it's so Fantastic hahaha~~ you are the best Artist in the world.!!
    and you think that Hans important than ears to you
    that was very interested ..
    anyways ^^ my name is Sun kim~
    call me Sun^^ my English is very Fuck that understand my English ^^ hehe
    have a nice day~
    Alien Alway watching you ^^
    Be care full ^^~
    bye~~~ see you soon ^^

  19. Pingback : # Família Linkin Park // » Joe e a Nike e Mike e seu blog

  20. March 31, 2009  6:29 pm by lpfanNo Gravatar Reply

    hahahahahaha mike shinoda is a freaking genius legend godly figure dude woooo go lp and mike!

  21. March 31, 2009  5:05 pm by Your mamaNo Gravatar Reply

    I've seen his prom picture and he wasn't that far off from rocking the Flock of Seagulls do.

  22. March 31, 2009  4:33 pm by pepperNo Gravatar Reply

    haha fantastic I love mike shinoda so very much. yes and he is one of the most under-rated, he's so good at what he does!

  23. March 31, 2009  3:26 pm by Serge BNo Gravatar Reply

    Mike Shinoda is just brilliant. lol, awesome interview

  24. March 31, 2009  3:18 pm by TrensNo Gravatar Reply

    Mike Shinoda is super talented. I would love to have even half of his talents.

  25. March 31, 2009  3:00 pm by MayNo Gravatar Reply

    Mike is my idol ..

    is the talent in person !!!!

    Great interview!

  26. March 31, 2009  5:19 am by ReginaNo Gravatar Reply

    Mike, you're the great man!)
    Thank you for the interesting interview! :)

  27. March 31, 2009  3:43 am by FarahNo Gravatar Reply

    I like the way he thinks, his talents and his smile. Nice interview.

  28. March 31, 2009  2:34 am by LvixNo Gravatar Reply

    Mike Shinoda, my greatest Idol... is indeed Legend. When i am old i will probably say about his artwork:"Damn, i had never to wear the DC shoes. Now they are dirty."

  29. March 31, 2009  12:46 am by ducaNo Gravatar Reply

    eh eh eh ..... the simple guy!!!!!

  30. March 28, 2009  8:23 am by bojanNo Gravatar Reply

    great interview man. mike is so cool and talented.and yeah, just you say he is underrated and that is probably true, but also he himself is trying not to be in the spotlight, and i respect him even more for that. the question is if he is respected enough in music and art circles. i don't know that. do you?

    all the best man!

  31. March 28, 2009  5:45 am by linkinyvesNo Gravatar Reply

    it's good to know that other people are Iphone addicts too...

  32. March 26, 2009  5:43 pm by Fresh NerdNo Gravatar Reply

    Thanks for checkin it out yall

  33. March 26, 2009  1:56 pm by MarkNo Gravatar Reply

    Mike Shinoda is one of the most talented people in the world. I really like his music and his art. This interview was pretty good! Thanks for posting it man. ;)

  34. Pingback : Fresh Art/21 Questions: Mike Shinoda : CHESTER-LAND.NET

  35. March 26, 2009  8:44 am by SylinaNo Gravatar Reply

    YIKES. . he couldn't rename the Va-jay-jay. . LOL.

    Dope. I hope I can make it to his art show in August. . . !

  36. March 25, 2009  4:55 pm by ShockNo Gravatar Reply

    Cool interview. Different but Cool. Always thrive to be Different. Shinoda is very talented.

  37. March 25, 2009  10:31 am by chloeNo Gravatar Reply

    Mike shinoda is a legend

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