Mike Shinoda Was Not Happy With Linkin Park Becoming A Famous Band

In a recent op-ed for The Guardian, Mike Shinoda shared his thoughts on Linkin Park’s second album, ‘Meteora,’ which marked its 20th anniversary in 2023. In the interview, he expressed unease about the increasing visibility as the band gained popularity during that period:

“Fame was never a priority. But it happened. In the early days, we would pile the whole group into the photos. If the photographer had it their way, it would just be Chester, or me and Chester, but we wanted people to know that this band was all of us, not just the singers at the front. Linkin Park being well known or well regarded was a blessing, but would I have wanted the band to be successful without being recognisable? Probably.”

He went on to explain why his career felt ‘odd’:

“The fame aspect of my career always felt odd – to the extent that I did an art series in 2008 and 2009 called Glorious Excess, where I painted about celebrity culture, reality TV, Michael Jackson and Diana, Princess of Wales. At the time I was standing on red carpets a lot with celebrities and thinking, ‘Wow, this is so weird. What a strange phenomenon.’ It felt fascinating and unnatural to be treated in a certain way because our music was popular.”

Chester Bennington’s Thoughts On Fame

Releasing ‘A Thousand Suns’ in 2011, the band had slowly started to gain more recognition. The earlier albums, ‘Hybrid Theory,’ ‘Meteora,’ and ‘Minutes to Midnight,’ too, had started to get more sales, and the band was slowly seeing the light of fame. Chester Bennington knew they were getting famous, but they were not ‘celebrities.’ In a 2011 interview, the late frontman acknowledged that their band was all about making music, and not fame:

“Ninety-nine percent of fans are great. We’re famous, but we’re not celebrities. I can go to the grocery store and the post office. People say: ‘You signed up for this.’ No, actually, we signed up to make music, not to expose our families to crazy people. But now it’s all about the music. And we’re only getting started.”

The late frontman’s career could not last long. Bennington lost his life due to suicide in 2017, but Linkin Park’s legacy lives to this day.