Reading My Eyes

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"Reading My Eyes"
Album-Xero Tape.png
Song by Xero from the album Xero (Demo Cassette Tape)
Recorded 1996
Released 1997
Format Cassette
Length 2:58
Stems Akai MPC 1000
Samples Club Nouveau - Why You Treat Me So Bad
Live debut Unknown
Last played June 25, 2008
Writer Mike Shinoda, Mark Wakefield
Producer Mike Shinoda

Xero (Demo Cassette Tape) track listing
  1. Rhinestone
  2. Reading My Eyes
  3. Fuse
  4. Stick N Move

"Reading My Eyes" is the second track on the Xero 1997 cassette tape.


"Reading My Eyes" was created by Mike Shinoda and Mark Wakefield when Linkin Park was still called "Xero" and had Mark on vocals. The song was never reworked with Chester Bennington.[1]

The strings were sampled from "Why You Treat Me So Bad" by Club Nouveau.[2]

Mike Shinoda posted about the song on his official website in June 17, 2008, after Linkin Park's performance in Brno, Czech Republic, that same day:

"[...]i may have posted this before somewhere, but i thought since we’re playing "reading my eyes" a bit on stage, i’d give you a little background. i think we wrote the song back in '97 or '98. it was an original demo from when the band was called XERO, which means it was written (and originally performed) by me and my friend mark. this was one of the songs on the demo we would send out to record companies to try and get signed, and it was on some of the demos we passed out to friends and new fans (the blue cassette with the baby on the cover).

we decided to put it in the show because a lot of the hardcore fans wanted to hear us play it–the only time we played it with chester before this tour was in tokyo, 2006.

looking back at the lyrics, it’s crazy; some of it’s really dated, some of it’s still dope, and some of it makes virtually no sense whatsoever. but i’ve seen some really bad “interpretations” of the lyrics on so-called “lyric websites” that are WAY OFF…so i figured i’d give you the real lyrics.[...]"[3]

In January 2016, Derek Oswald of Linkin Park Association received the correct lyrics for the Xero tape from Mike.[4] The liner notes on the cassette actually have incorrect lyrics on both "Reading My Eyes" and "Fuse" - the correct lyrics are included below.

The version of the song released on the Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition) is presumably sourced from the "master" cassette that Mike made due to the quality upgrade of the recording compared to any fan rips.


Note: Only the date of the very first release of each version is listed.


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Reading My Eyes Xero

Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition)

2:58 1996 1997
  • Samples Club Nouveau's "Why You Treat Me So Bad".
  • Mark Wakefield on vocals.


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Reading My Eyes (Live) LP Underground 6.0 3:18 August 13, 2006 December 5, 2006
  • Chester Bennington on vocals.
  • The line "I be the prophet / my hand–top it? stop it" was replaced by "I be the prophet / my rhyme-top it? stop it".
  • Recorded live at the Chiba Marina Stadium in Tokyo, Japan on August 13, 2006 at the Summer Sonic Festival.


In 2006, when rehearsing for their four August shows in Japan, Linkin Park resurrected the song in rehearsals and decided to play it live. This was the first time they had ever performed the song with Chester and was the first time the song had been played live since the Xero era. A subsequent release was included on the LP Underground 6 album that November. Linkin Park said that they didn't even have a version of the song handy and had to download it off of a fansite online.

In an LPU chat from August 22, 2006 after the short tour, Mike said, "[...]the xero song (reading my eyes) we played recently in japan is almost 10 years old, so i guess it's just a reminder how time flies...[...] RME: we actually just got the idea while we were in rehearsal. once we figured out the first few notes, the whole song came back to us. that was pretty cool, seeing as how we hadn't played it in almost 8 years, maybe more? we actually had to download it online to remember how the song started!"[5]

When introducing it in Osaka, Japan on August 12, 2006, Mike said, "What we wanna do is take you back a long time. Long for us it is. We started our band... actually, before we were called Linkin Park we were called Hybrid Theory. And before Hybrid Theory we were called Xero. A lot of people don't know that one. So almost ten years ago, back when we were called Xero, we wrote a song that we kind of haven't played it since. And we were just messing around in practice before we came here, and somebody brought up that idea. We didn't know if we could still play it. And as soon as we played the first couple of notes, it all came back and we just... we went straight through the whole song. So that to us indicated that like "hey, maybe we should play this song." This song was actually realized before Chester was even in the band. But he's gonna sing it with us tonight. This song is called Reading My Eyes."

The song has been played nine times total by Linkin Park - four in Japan in 2006 (Tokyo, Osaka, Chiba, and Sendai) and another appearance for five shows (Skive, Vilnius, Brno, München, and Athens) on the Minutes To Midnight Summer European Tour in 2008. It was dropped from the band's finale of that tour in Milton Keynes because they were filming it for a CD/DVD release and changed up the setlist slightly, but it is on a leaked earlier draft of that show's setlist. Starting at the Vilnius show, Chester began singing the chorus a little lower. The day before the München show, in Venezia, Italy, an Italian fan brought a copy of the Xero tape to be signed by the band and requested Linkin Park to play "Reading My Eyes". While Mike was glad to add it to the night's setlist (even though it wasn't on that setlist originally), Chester disagreed and the song was not played, but Mike rapped the first verse over "Bleed It Out" for the fan.

In München, Germany on June 21, 2008, Mike introduced the song by saying, "What we wanna do right now is take you back a step. We haven't played this song on this tour, it's the first time in a long time we're playing this song. This is actually from a demo from before we were Linkin Park, before we were Hybrid Theory, back when we were called Xero. This song is called Reading My Eyes."

Since then, the song has become highly-requested by fans at LPU M&Gs. Mike has complied and has rapped it over "Bleed It Out" (starting in 2008 and continuing to present day, likely started because of the Venezia show) and "Points Of Authority" (2009) for fans. The song appeared periodically as a requested live verse over the years. It appeared briefly during the extended bridge of 'Bleed It Out' during the A Thousand Suns tour, first in June of 2011 in Oberursel, Germany before making its last appearance a few shows later in München, Germany. It returned towards the end of the Living Things cycle, being rapped during 'Bleed It Out' again starting at the band's performance at the Sunset Strip Music Festival. From there, it generally followed a pattern of being performed at every other show on the Living Things Asian Tour until the cycle wrapped up. The song was featured sparingly during The Hunting Party tour, where it was rapped over the extended intro of 'Bleed It Out' at Darien Center, New York during the Carnivores Tour (to commemorate the 10th LPU Summit that took place earlier in the day) and again, for the first time as an acapella, before 'Bleed It Out' in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. On the One More Light tour, the song made a few appearances during the 'Bleed It Out' bridge during the band's European Tour, appearing in Monza, Italy, Sopron, Hungary, and in London, England.

The full version of the song has not been played live since 2008. It has placed highly in voting held by LPLive to gauge the fanbase's interest in hearing it live again.

When performing the song live, the line "I be the prophet / my hand–top it? stop it" was replaced by "I be the prophet / my rhyme-top it? stop it".


Last Updated: August 22, 2018

Type Description First Played Last Played
Alternative Verse 1 Acapella November 7, 2014 November 7, 2014


  • Mike Shinoda
  • Mark Wakefield
  • Brad Delson
  • Rob Bourdon
  • Dave Farrell
  • Joe Hahn