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“A weird f****** place to be”: Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda reflects on 20th anniversary of ‘Meteora’

M Linkinpark 020623
Warner Records

Linkin Park‘s 2003 sophomore album, Meteora, turns 20 Saturday. The record’s been certified seven-times Platinum by the RIAA and spawned the hits “Numb,” “Breaking the Habit,” “Somewhere I Belong” and “Faint.”

Meteora followed in the footsteps of LP’s massive debut, 2000’s Diamond-certified Hybrid Theory, the sessions for which were “difficult.”

“The studio sessions [for Hybrid Theory] were sometimes really fun and sometimes really stressful,” LP’s Mike Shinoda tells ABC Audio. “We weren’t in a secure place at the label, we could’ve gotten shelved or dropped at any moment.”

With Meteora, however, Linkin Park felt “confidence” and “security,” partly because of returning producer Don Gilmore, who wanted to right the wrongs of the Hybrid Theory experience.

“[Gilmore’s] thing was, like, ‘I’m aware that the first record was really hard to make, that I could’ve done a better job of making … an environment that was conducive to your artistry and having a good time while making good music,'” Shinoda recalls. “‘That’s what we ought to have done, we didn’t do that, and I promise you that, if you do it again, it’ll be that.'”

Gilmore made good on his promise, and Linkin Park found themselves “all having fun” and “pushing the envelope, and learning and stretching ourselves” on Meteora, which Shinoda feels contributed to “why the album became what it did.”

“You can imagine coming in and being, like, ‘Hey, guys, for this next Linkin Park album, I wanna do a rap song based around a shakuhachi flute sample,’ and everybody going, ‘Cool,'” Shinoda says.

“That’s a weird f****** place to be,” he laughs. “But it works.”

Linkin Park will release a 20th anniversary reissue of Meteora April 7. It includes the newly unearthed single “Lost,” featuring lead vocals by the late Chester Bennington.

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