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Newsday Article: Labor of Love Leads to a Minor Miracle

Friday, February 11, 2005

Labor of Love Leads to a Minor Miracle

February 2006
To make Fort Minor's tour a reality, Linkin Park frontman forsakes profit

Mike Shinoda doesn't like the beaten path. For the first tour of the Linkin Park rapper's side project Fort Minor, which stops at the Nokia Theatre Times Square Monday, he could have done the usual hip-hop tour - performing backed by a DJ and pre-recorded tapes, the cost-efficient way to do a live show. He isn't doing that.

"That would be so typical and this project is so unique," said Shinoda, calling from a tour stop in Chicago. "There will be 11-plus people onstage - myself, Styles of Beyond [a three-member rap crew], a drummer, a three-piece string section and three backing vocalists with me.

"My booking agent said that given the size of the venues on this tour, given the ticket prices, even if you sell every ticket in every venue, you will not make money, you will be in the red," Shinoda continued. "I said, 'That's not a problem.' I'll take that hit for the fans to bring them a good show. I don't mind. I'll pay a little bit of everybody's ticket. It's the only way to present the album live. It's the only way to do what's right."

Obviously, being in one of the most successful rock bands of the decade makes it easier to do what is right. However, Fort Minor's debut, "The Rising Tied" (Warner Bros.), is more than just another album to Shinoda. It is a labor of love.

"I wanted to get back to my roots and I wanted to take all the things I learned in Linkin Park and do something unique," he said. "I wanted to write and play every single note."
Shinoda came close to his goal. He produced the album, wrote every song and played every instrument - except for one sample and a couple of string parts. The resulting record sometimes puts Shinoda in familiar territory, with rock-leaning hip-hop such as the first single "Petrified" and the aggressive "Remember the Name." Sometimes, the album throws in surprises, especially "Kenji," which combines interviews with his family about being placed in a Japanese internment camp during World War II with his own rhymes.

"My family was interned and I learned that some of my relatives were taken to the Santa Anita racetrack to live in horse stalls before they were taken to the camp" in California, Shinoda said. "It was the story of your typical Japanese-American family during that time, but a lot of people don't know about it. I had a hard time getting the story out of my family because they don't like to talk about it. But when I heard it, I knew I had to put that story out there."

Shinoda said he isn't sure what the future of Fort Minor will be after the current world tour. He said Linkin Park is already working on a new album that should be released this year.

"We'll wait and see," he said. "I've always just taken things as they come."

thanks to lptimes.com