Interview: Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda on Collaborating with System of a Down's Daron Malakian, Helmet's Page Hamilton, and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello
By Dan Epstein
In addition to rap legend Rakim, who guests on lead single “Guilty All the Same,” Linkin Park’s new album, 'The Hunting Party'--which comes out June 17--features cameos from three musicians who should be very familiar to Revolver readers: Helmet’s Page Hamilton, who lends guitars and vocals to “All For Nothing”; Daron Malakian of System of a Down, who plays guitar on “Rebellion”; and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, who jams with the band on “Drawbar,” the album’s lone instrumental. Here’s what Mike Shinoda has to say about the latter three tracks, and the contributions of their illustrious guests.
“All For Nothing” featuring Page Hamilton
"That’s Page singing—there’s a double of me in there, but that’s him way up front. We hung out with him over the course of a day or two, and went back and forth over the song. It was just as much about meeting the guy and picking his brain and hearing cool stories about things that he’s done. But the other thing was, I really wanted him to know that this was a song we wouldn’t have made if I’d never listened to Helmet—you know, 'It’s because of you that we wrote this. If you don’t want to sing on it, that’s OK, but we wanted to play it for you first. And if you want to be on the song, then you can be on the song.' He liked it so much that he wound up singing on it, and he added some cool layers and chords on guitar."
“Rebellion” featuring Daron Malakian
"Daron came in, and we tried having him play over a couple of existing things. It wasn’t vibing at first, but Daron’s such a great songwriter, that having him play over an existing track wasn’t my first choice, anyway. I said, 'Maybe if you come in with some stuff, we can work it out together.' And he came in with these great riffs that made the song--that’s what we built it around. As he was doing it, I was laying out the drums on the keyboard, like I like to do, and his mind was just blown. He was like, 'Oh my god, they sound real! Dude, that would have taken us days to get that done—and you did it in 15 minutes!' So he was showing us a bit of his world, I was showing him some of our world--it was really collaborative."
“Drawbar” featuring Tom Morello
"With Page and Daron and Tom, we sat and talked to each of them about their process and our process. Everybody writes songs differently, and I think fans would be surprised at how different it can be. With Morello, we just got together and jammed. We’re so far from a jam band, and that’s all he does, as far as writing. Rage Against the Machine wrote their songs by jamming them out; we write our songs on the computer, and then learn them after we’ve written what to play. But we got together with him and jammed, and that little interlude, that instrumental, was the best thing we made together. It didn’t end up being a song—we tried putting some vocals on it, but it just didn’t feel like that."