Mike Shinoda: 'Rock Music Has Gotten a Little Herbivorous'

"Rock music needs to take chances and innovate," says Linkin Park singer in an intriguing article he wrote.

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An article titled "Rock Music Sucks Now and It's Depressing" over at Pigeons and Planes caught the attention of Linkin Park singer/guitarist Mike Shinoda, making him pen his own piece, explaining in detail his thoughts on the current state of rock genre.

Before giving any explanation, Mike cleared up a few matters. "'The guy from Linkin Park visits this blog?' you say," the singer kicked off. "Indie music purists may want to hate on this piece before I start, simply because I represent a mainstream music act which they think is at odds with their 'independent' or 'underground' aesthetic. If thats you, so be it; I know your deal."

After noting that he was somewhat of an "indie purist" himself back in the day, Shinoda remembered the time when Linkin Park made the big league with "One Step Closer" single. "Up until that point, we were playing for a couple hundred people a night," he said. "Suddenly, that number doubled. Then quadrupled. And one night, I looked out from the stage and something made me think: 'Oh my God, we probably have fans who love music that I think is terrible.'"

Stressing that he is by no means dissing LP fans, the vocalist continued by explaining that bands such as Mumford & Sons or Fun. clearly don't represent the rock genre. "I have absolutely no problem with the bands [original article author Ernest] Baker cites - in fact, they've released some of the better albums in recent years," Mike stated.

"But they're not who I think of when I think of 'rock,'" he explained. "Baker didn't include huge, active artists like Linkin Park, Muse, Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Green Day, the Black Keys, Jack White, Fall Out Boy, Of Mice and Men, Nine Inch Nails, and hundreds of others. But it doesn't matter which rock bands you're talking about. You can make any list of popular rock bands out there right now, and you'll find they truly have little influence, individually or together, on the zeitgeist."

The vocalist then asked, "Why is that? Firstly, it's in the numbers. I believe that these days, more than ever, it's hard to start a rock band. Want to start rapping? Pull up an instrumental on YouTube, and you have a track. DJing? The software you need is either already on your laptop or it's a few dollars and clicks away. Starting a rock band is a more complicated endeavor."

After naming financial issues and the matter of rock acts being outnumbered as some of the key problems, Shinoda focused on what he described as "the other half" of the problem - culture of segregation in the minds of bands themselves.

"Behind the scenes, more than any fan would ever imagine, there's animosity between rock bands, even if they don't say it," the article reads. "I ask my friends in other bands; their story is the same. A lot of bands are afraid to align with one another on record and on tour. Maybe it's a credibility issue, or a snobbery issue, or maybe it's just because rock bands are loners."

In Shinoda's opinion, "rock music needs to take chances and innovate. Want to compare rock's growth to other genres? Listen to a Rick Rubin production from the '80s which was the epitome of hip hop production at the time and compare it with the soundscapes and variety that Kanye West, Pharrell, Kendrick and co., A$AP Mob, Odd Future, Azealia Banks, and all the rest are using today.

"Listen to a track by the Prodigy or Fatboy Slim from the late '90s, then listen to Zedd, Knife Party, Glitch Mob, Skrillex, Deadmau5, Major Lazer, Avicii, Daft Punk, and TNGHT. And ask yourself: why isn't rock doing this? Sure, rock is evolving, but it simply doesn't have the vibrancy it could - and ought to - have."

Mike then admitted that the article author had a point in saying that rock music became "pussified." "Where's the rock that's about innovation, energy, aggression, catharsis, passion?" the singer asked. "Where's the explosiveness of 'The Shape of Punk to Come?' The ferocity of 'Master of Puppets?' The boldness of 'The Downward Spiral?'"

The frontman concluded, "A girl from Japan told me once that she was worried about men of the next generation being what they called 'Soushoku Danshi,' or 'Sheep Boys.' This description was invented to describe people as either 'herbivores' or 'carnivores,' the former group being described as soft, non-assertive, and indifferent. For me, rock music has gotten a little herbivorous.

"Where are the carnivores? At the end of the day, it will never be about one song, one album, or one band. A movement requires leaders who are restless, brave, and f--king disruptive. I'm in the studio right now. I'm looking for ways to do it myself. I hope my peers and their fans are as well, because it's the only way we'll be able to force Pigeons and Planes to write a post called: 'Everything but Rock Sucks Right Now and It's Depressing.'"

Read Shinoda's full piece here.

97 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    powachord
    Well said. And hes right. Alot of "rock" has lost the edge, the danger that got me into it in the first place, save for a few bands. Just my two cents.
    Mouloudo
    too bad he's a pure example of that... plus he raps
    s7peterson
    yeah but just but the fact he makes that music, doesn't necessarily means he likes it. For example, Dave Grohl likes bands like Slayer and Metallica, but the music he makes doesn't sound like that.
    Woffelz
    The only new band I've heard recently that has that edge is Heaven's Basement [UK band].
    Zoltan1251
    just listen to them..... good, but i dont know.... it not "just" about new riffs and vocal lines..... its about overall feel of the song and passion..... the bests these days are definitely Black Keys or Queens of the Stone Age..... you feel passion and it sounds like nothing else..... i think raw guitar sound they use is much more versatile then kinda "squashy" metal distortion
    jono888
    Check out Monster Truck. Nothing ground breaking but they damn sure bring the rock
    denday831
    They're not 'new' but they're not well heard of. Zico Chain are pretty rockin'. Supported Velvet Revolver a few years back. Got that first album roughness.
    yaronbeery
    he's right, he's also disregards the fact that him and his bands, are a prime example of what he said.
    jordo246
    It's true, you turn on Kerrang and almost every band they feature now sounds, looks and acts exactly the same, all second rate 'metal' bands that cry about breaking up with their gf's and appeal to nobody except those annoying as **** teen girls who think BVB are the best thing to happen to rock music ever.
    Kyyper
    I dont like new Linkin Park much, but this guy is repectable
    symbolra
    The way he's put it is ten times better than "Oh no! Rock is dying". At least their is hope of a "Carnivore" to show up and take the world by storm with Rock music
    pAWNlol
    am i the only one that finds this article a little hypocritical? he claims that rock has lost its edge, yet LP has watered down and commercialized their sound more than almost any band i know
    powachord
    Funny thing tho... everyone decries nu-metal, but everyone wants LP to return to their earlier sound. Pretty messed up when u think about it.
    sideslick
    He may not be living by his words, but he is more right than I think anyone has ever been on the matter of rock's decline.
    s7peterson
    Don't worry, it'll come back. Just think, everyone thought pop would kill rock, then everyone thought disco would kill rock, but it stayed here in thick and thin....
    TryTheKetchup
    Commercialized? No. As for LP, the music they were doing during ATS and MTM era was not commercial because of their name, which was built on the nu metal stuff.
    CultofSG
    I really never understood the hate Minutes to Midnight gets. I can take or leave most of LP's material, but I think Minutes to Midnight has so many really well-crafted and unique songs.
    SocksAndTrees
    The guitar solos were great. Rest was only eh.
    Darth Crow
    Great guitar solos? You mean those extremely simple... not even solos, I'd rather call them fills... that I could play with one finger and eyes closed after two months of playing guitar?
    s7peterson
    You sir, need to grow the f*** up. Just because a solo is easy to play, doesn't mean it isn't good. I takes talent to make a good solo, even a simple one.
    Kueller917
    I'd hardly say the "commercialized" their sound. They just took to using more synths which a lot of bands have done. Their sound was already pretty damn commercial to begin with. Minutes to Midnight was probably their most watered down album but they stepped away from that with A Thousand Suns (even though I didn't like ATS, it is probably their most experimental release).
    rahulsethilp
    no they haven't. They had to evolve otherwise they would have become stale. They have stressed upon the fact repeatedly that they never make music according to label or anything , they do whatever they like.
    cyclonus
    I'd very much rather have Nu Metal LP than what they've turned into now. I stopped listening around Minutes to Midnight and I'm not expecting them to return to their roots, no matter what they say, anytime soon
    ermonski
    I almost read that as 2 Minutes to Midnight. damn
    Validischofe
    pAWNlol is right. I used to be a big Linkin Park fan in my teens, but after they went more commercial I lost interest. I like my music heavy, not that Linkin Park were ever "heavy", but when they toned down they just weren't enough to give me that buzz I feel when I listen to metal.
    Darth Crow
    I'm sorry, but that's bullshit. AC/DC, Metallica, Kiss, Van Halen, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater... these bands never "evolved" in this manner and they are still not stale (those that are still playing).
    Artturi
    "comercialized" doesnt mean watered down. Also, when they started off.. there was already a wave of the same kind of music they started making selling more and more. HMM...
    third(-)eye
    I actually came here to ask why Mike Shinoda is qualified to speak on the state of rock music, but he makes a good point. I was also pleasantly surprised that he mentioned the Downward Spiral. That said, the only reason it seems like rock has lost its thunder is that the acts who still HAVE that thunder are no longer allowed to be mainstream. Converge comes to mind.
    arnolddrummer
    I love the sound of a lot of modern bands. To name a few, Black Keys, Muse, Finger Eleven, Sheepdogs all tickle my fancy; but I agree, they aren't really pushing any envelopes.
    Radz117
    Muse formed 19 years ago and Black Keys formed over 10 years ago - I'm sorry I miss the 'modern' in that.
    Kueller917
    Only a decade is still relatively modern. Muse are pushing it at this point but their first album was released in late '99 so you could consider them a 2000s band predominantly.
    arnolddrummer
    They are modern because they only got into their prime recently. Their music is 'happening' now.
    Do Re Mi
    So many people say this. I have no idea what scene people are paying attention to but I go to plenty of vibrant shows and play with plenty of great bands in basements full of dancing people that love music. Mainstream sucks, get over it, go support your local scene and realize for once that music isn't always about "changing the world," it's about expression and art and community and smaller things that when you really think about it, mean a lot more than having good mainstream music on the radio. Music is great right now, I am continually amazed with acts of all genres and if you can't find it you're not looking hard enough. They have more energy and passion than Linkin Park, that's for certain. This guy is obviously projecting. "Pussified," "herbivore," what a bunch of macho crap. AND, it's not hard to start a band at all! Look at how many two pieces there are! Save up some money and buy some shitty gear, play in a rundown basement, you can do anything. Music is alive, "rock" is alive. Goddammit, open your minds and eyes and ears.
    Filipus
    I agree with the man and i think he wrote what he tough really well.
    Bunkerman
    I agree with him. Rock music hasn't really had much innovation over the past few years, now all I hear on the radio is hipster garbage. I don't even know the names of these bands anymore, I just call them "Men Without Testicles".
    BlackLabel5150
    I've been around for a little while now...Hell I have concert shirts older than Linkin Park...I agree with this guy on a few things. In my opinion its not that rock is dead, (you cant kill rock!!! haha..) its that we haven't had a band that came out and kicked our asses like we have in the past. think back to when Sabbath released BS or Paranoid that sh!t scared people or Jimi releasing Electric Ladyland monumental... Van Halen I. that changed electric guitar over night, literally. Metallica's Killem All, GNR Appetite.. were just not going to have an album impact the genre like that again (well I hope we do) because after those, along with too many more to mention everything else are just offshoots really. and that's not to say that some bands out there today don't just completely kick ass, they do. But we haven't had that step out band lately just blow our doors off, where is the next EVH?? or the next Freddie Mercury?? We don't even have "Rock Stars" like we used to. I think a lot of this has to do with the times though, in 69 Jimi WAS changing the game...in 78 VH was changing the game etc.. who ever comes next is going to have to be pretty standout to get us to notice...
    Kueller917
    Might be an extreme statement to make but I don't think we'll ever have some huge act like that again. With the internet and international market people have the ability to find any band from any part of the world and build their own taste and join their own circles for even the most inaccessible obscure groups. A lot of the old acts became big from hype. If you were limited to your own local record store or radio you were more likely to hear the big acts rather than a small act that could be doing something just as good but couldn't get the exposure. Now it's kind of balancing out and waves of fame seems to come and go rather quickly.