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Why Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda found Paul McCartney "beyond intimidating"


On a daily basis, Paul McCartney finds himself in the company of people struggling to stay calm in his presence. People – albeit understandably – lose their minds when they are in the company of a Beatle, and Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda found the experience of meeting him “beyond intimidating”.

Their paths crossed at the Grammy’s when McCartney inexplicably agreed to perform with Linkin Park and Jay-Z. Truth be told, it was a moment to forget for all the talents involved. Their performance began with ‘Numb/Encore’, which trickled into ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles as McCartney entered the stage.

Although the showing felt slightly forced and unnatural, Shinoda has no regrets regarding the performance. To share a stage with a Beatle is something that you dream about, and in the build-up to the ceremony, he was a nervous wreck.

Linkin Park had already worked with Jay-Z in 2004 on the EP Collision Course, and their collaboration ‘Numb/Encore’ became a giant hit that transcended cultures.

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The idea to bring McCartney in came from the success of Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album, which mashed up Hov’s The Black Album and The Beatles’ The White Album. However, they didn’t think he’d agree to participate, and the offer was speculative at best.

“The weirdest part of the whole Jay-Z thing was actually how it ended,” Shinoda recalled in an interview with the YouTube gaming channel, Next Level. “It started with making a couple of tracks on the bus, and by the end of it, we were on stage at the Grammys performing with Jay-Z and Paul McCartney of the Beatles. It was all so surreal”.

Adding: “We almost didn’t think that Paul would say yes, but he was the first one to say yes. He came right back, and he was like, ‘Yeah, sounds great!’ And then, we had to convince Jay-Z.”

“It was so intimidating,” he said about working with McCartney. “The Beatles, it wasn’t just that they were the biggest band of all time. It’s that they’re also from a technology and innovation standpoint; they actually invented modern recording and things that we all still do when we record a song. They invented a lot of those things. So it was beyond intimidating. It was like you just feel an imposter syndrome even just being there.”

Shinoda then remembered how McCartney went over to talk to the janitor in the venue after they finished rehearsing. The former Beatle had noticed he’d been watching him in awe and spoke to him for 15 minutes rather than hang out with Jay-Z. This incident taught the guitarist a valuable lesson, and he said, “that’s the way to be”.

While their collaboration at the Grammys is a low point in McCartney’s spellbinding career, that doesn’t matter to Shinoda. He performed with one of his heroes and studied how a consummate professional operates which was a priceless lesson.