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Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda Says That “Hair Metal Felt Like Very White Music” When Growing Up

In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda said that growing up some rock bands, especially hair metal bands, felt ‘too white’ and would turn him off from listening to rock music in his teenage years. Shinoda was remembering how Linkin Park intentionally made ‘Hybrid Theory’ a very diverse sounding album, by bringing in different styles of music.

Shinoda said, “At the time, if you asked somebody what they were listening to they’d say… ‘Rock. I listen to hip hop. I listen to jazz.’ It wasn’t until five years later they’d say, ‘Everything’. ‘Hybrid Theory‘ did some of that work. It was part of the progression towards breaking down boundaries between styles of music.

I listened to 90% rap music, then I’d look at a lot of rock bands and I’d be like, ‘There’s something too white’ [about it]. That was one of the things that turned me off, especially hair metal. Hair metal felt like very white music and I was growing up in a very diverse city so I didn’t gravitate to it. That didn’t resonate with me. And it wasn’t just about race. I don’t mean the color of skin. I just mean the culture of it. When nü-metal started at the very beginning, it was a very diverse place.’

“There was a moment when that term, nü-metal and what it meant, was actually pretty cool. It’s almost impossible to imagine! I remember when Korn first came out and when Deftones’ first couple of albums came out, and whatever you think about a group like Limp Bizkit, their first album was really raw. There were all these groups like Snot and (hed)p.e., and it wasn’t smart music, but there was something really visceral and culture blending that was important.”

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Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy was quick to reply to Shinoda’s comments by tweeting a link to Shinoda’s quote and saying, “Lol, Didnt know rock music had a race. wtf, I didn’t know what hair metal felt like. Thanks. all music to me”.

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