ESPN Music: Mike Shinoda

Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park love Olympians

October, 2, 2012
Linkin ParkCourtesy of Linkin ParkOlympic runner Geena Gall, fourth from left, meets with the members of Linkin Park in Detroit.
Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park loves the unfiltered aspect of social media.

No wonder the rapper and principal songwriter for the California rock band is on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, has his own website, his band's website and a host of other forms.

And Shinoda feels, because of social media, he made a stronger connection with the Summer Olympics in London and grew to know the athletes better. That's why he and the band invited several athletes to the fall tour.

"This Olympics were so different because of Twitter. You have the ability to get inside the minds of the actual athletes and get a sense of their personality," said Shinoda, whose band is heading to Buenas Aries this week for the next leg of a world tour. "I was really struck by how you get a better understanding of who they really are in social media and not in a TV interview."

Playbook had a few minutes with Shinoda to talk about social media, the tour and what's ahead for Linkin Park.

What do you mean when you say social media offers better access to athletes?

"In an interview, the athletes are in work mode. They know the cameras are on them. Their mom is watching. They have to edit themselves. But when it comes to social media, they don't edit themselves. I felt with social media and live TV coverage, you got a nice cross section of what was going on with those people."

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Linkin Park throws out pitch, performs at X

June, 30, 2012
Linkin ParkMark Sullivan/WireImageMike Shinoda, Phoenix Farrell and Joe Hahn of the band Linkin Park were on the field Friday.
LOS ANGELES -- It was a long day for Linkin Park on Friday as members Joe Hahn, Mike Shinoda and Phoenix Farrell spent the early evening with the Los Angeles Dodgers throwing out the first pitch before the game against the New York Mets.

And then they joined the rest of the California rock band for a private concert at Club Nokia at L.A. Live as part of a new initiative for the X Games brand -- X Games MUSIC. In fact, Mr. Hahn wore his Dodgers jersey on stage.

Starting next year, X Games MUSIC will serve as a component of each Global X Games event, pairing unique action sports-influenced musical acts alongside X Games events in Aspen, Colo.; Tignes, France; Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; Munich; and Los Angeles.

Linkin Park hit the stage in front of a thousand fan-club fans and sponsors at 11:35 p.m. local time and played for 90 minutes. They started the show with some of their biggest songs and then went into their fifth studio album, "Living Things," which was released this week. The album will hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts next week.

Lead singer Chester Bennington's voice was strong. While Shinoda and some bandmates were greeting fans backstage an hour before the show, Bennington was screaming in the dressing room to get his voice ready. The 36-year-old Bennington was telling jokes throughout the set, including talking about the fans sitting in the balcony.

"I like you guys up there sitting down," Bennington said. "I'd be doing that, too. I'm an old dude."

Shinoda, who helped produced "Living Things" with legendary record producer Rick Rubin, thanked fans for their support and focused on social media throughout the set. The show was live-streamed on Myspace and will be available all Saturday.

And Shinoda also talked about Linkin Park's Green Guitar Project. When the band begins its national tour in August, Shinoda said the band will be using "pieces of musical magic."

"We'll be using guitars that had wood sitting in landfills and going nowhere," Shinoda said. "We are looking at getting into the business of people sending in your guitars and we'll fix them, and they will never, ever leave this earth!"