Today’s song is “Where’d you Go?” by Fort Minor a side project of Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame. This song propelled Fort Minor into the spotlight as Mike Shinoda was able to delve into more personal topics such as the history of Japanese-Americans in the song “Kenji” in his music by going solo. The project went on hiatus almost as soon as it was created for Mike to return to his duties as one of the main members and producers of Linkin Park, but saw a rebirth in 2015.
As a bit of backstory when I first heard Linkin Park it was in 2003. I was stuck in the Korean Army and had almost no access to music and anything of the outside world. On a trip I had to take in a personal vehicle (military talk) I had the opportunity to hear “In the End” and the song and style immediately hit a nerve. It wasn’t until several months later on leave that I found out the title of the song as well as the band and was able to get the songs on cassette as the Korean Army at the time didn’t allow CD players for the enlisted troops on base. I was in love with the music of Linkin Park as I was a LA native and the style, lyrics and general mood of the music really hit a nerve in me and was just so right for that time period.
Years later as I continued to listen to the music of Linkin Park I finally Googled the band and saw the names of the members and one hit a nerve, it wasn’t Joe Hahn the Korean-American member of the band but Mike Shinoda the Japanese-American member. It wasn’t the entirety of the name but his surname Shinoda. When Fort Minor released their album I loved the style as it was a more hip-hop version of Linkin Park with a personal message which got me more interested in Mike Shinoda. A bit more research on my part was needed and with a bit of digging I realized why that name resonated with me. It wasn’t Mike Shinodam, but Michael Shinoda of Lindero Canyon Middle School in Agoura Hills. It was where I attended middle school and Mike had been a decently close friend of mine at the time. Heck, I went to see Batman on opening night with him and another friend of ours for the midnight opening on Thursday night. It really wowed me that I had been friends with someone who’s music ended up meaning so much to me nearly two decades later.
As I finished my time in the Korean Army (being an American citizen forcibly drafted at the time) the lyrics “…please come back home…” really hit a nerve as I realized that even though at that point I had spent nearly half my life in Korea I really was an American at heart. To Michael, thanks for the great music that you’ve made I’ve enjoyed all of it and am always looking forward to hearing more.