Linkin ParkRecently, 10 very lucky Southern California college students got invited to come down to the San Fernando Valley recording studio -- where Linkin Park are currently recording their follow-up to last year's 'Minutes to Midnight,' again with producer Rick Rubin -- and ask questions of Brad Delson and Mike Shinoda. And while it wasn't quite the golden ticket, it felt that way to the students who not only got to ask questions from two feet away from the band members while they sat on a couch, but got walked through through the making of 'A New Divide,' from the earliest demo to the final version.

"As an aspiring songwriter, that was the coolest thing that I've ever experienced, because just seeing how a full song is actually created from step one makes it seems so much more possible for me to go create something like that, and it just broke down the steps," Cristy Vaughan, a 20-year-old student from USC, told Noisecreep afterwards. "I've listened to Linkin Park since I was in ninth grade, so it's really cool just to sit down with them. They're so down to earth," Michelle Fergason, 22, from Azusa Pacific added.

All 10 students are members of Grammy U and were invited as part of Grammy SoundChecks, where high school and college students are selected to meet their favorite artists. Shinoda told Noisecreep afterwards he would have been down for it himself while in school. "We heard about the program through some friends, and wanted to see what it was all about. Meeting the group made me wish I had been a part of a program like Grammy U when I was in college. It was almost like we were talking to 19-year-old versions of ourselves," he said.

In the relaxed, casual setting, the pair had a lot of fun -- particularly Delson -- who told the gathered students he got his start playing guitar because he couldn't grow his hair long, even resorting to chemical straighteners for his curly locks. "I wanted it to look like it did on 'Headbanger's Ball,'" he said, adding Sebastian Bach was a bit of a hair role model. He also gave Johnny Garlick, an aspiring road engineer, the key to a good career as a sound man on the road. "If you want to be an engineer on the road, first you have to have a nickname," he said. "Our [guys] are Pooch and Tater."

Among the other tidbits was a look back at their breathrough debut, 'Hybrid Theory.' "I remember making that album was really difficult because we were fighting for our identity," Shinoda told the students. "It set the tone and got us to go with our instincts."

While this is a learning process for the students, Shinoda and Delson got a lot out of it, too. "Talking about it afterwards, Brad and I agreed that their curiosity about the process and the direction of the industry was energizing in a way," Shinoda said. "These are students who are immersed in a fresh, new world of music both artistically and professionally. There is an energy that they carried that we felt rubbed off on us."