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Linkin Park Headlines Sunset Strip Music Fest

Mike Shinoda recalls band’s early days in the clubs

Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park performs in Nuerburg, Germany.

Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park performs in Nuerburg, Germany.

Peter Wafzig/Redferns via Getty Images

Linkin Park‘s attention of late has been on new music. They are working on their next album, and a fan club release, LPU 13, will include rare and unreleased tracks to fan club members only. The band revealed some of the details in announcing a contest exclusively for LP Underground members, in which the winner can submit a track that could wind up on the release. LPU 13 is reportedly due later this year.

Before that, Linkin will take a break from the studio to headline the Sunset Strip Music Fest in L.A. on Saturday. The band will close out a day of music on the iconic part of Sunset that includes the Roxy, the Whisky A Go Go and more bastions of L.A. music lore.

The Best Clubs in America

Linkin Park have their own history with those clubs, and Mike Shinoda reflected on that recently with Rolling Stone. “More than three-quarters of our early shows were on Sunset at the Roxy and Whisky,” he said. “I have such vivid memories of playing those shows, promoting those shows, walking around the street handing out fliers or posters or, at that point, giving people cassettes.”

In the spirit of those days, the band went old-school to promote this show, which will see them top a bill that also includes Wale, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Asher Roth, Warren G., Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh, the Last Internationale, Orgy and many more.

“I hand-drew four flyers and went down to Kinko’s myself with Brad [Delson, guitarist] and Dave [“Phoenix” Farrell, bassist],” said Shinoda. “We photocopied them ourselves, cut them up, walked around Hollywood and on campus at UCLA and handed them out to people. We tweeted about it and got some funny reactions – people who thought we were some baby band trying to promote the show, and they were like, ‘Oh yeah, man. You really should go down to the tattoo shop and hand out some flyers.” Others were already diehard fans: “There were people who literally drove up from Anaheim and tracked us down just to say hello and grab a couple of flyers. They’re handmade and hand-copied, and we only made a couple of hundred of them.”

It all takes the band back to the very beginning, like their memorable first set at the Whisky. “Our very first show there we opened up for SX-10, with Sen Dog from Cypress Hill, and System of a Down,” Shinoda recalled. “I remember really vividly that I had seen System play there before.

“It was the era where Incubus played there all the time, System played there quite a bit. And we played our set, which was probably 30 minutes at the time, and it was all friends. Nobody had even heard our music – they were there just to support friends.”

After SX-10 performed, System of a Down’s set was memorable for other reasons, he said. “It turned out that a couple of the guys had smoked weed with Sen backstage and got laid out. They were incapacitated. They were two hours late to start their set because some of them were just, like, unable to function.” On the Strip? We’ll have to take his word for it.

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