Linkin Park: Answering The Call

Linkin Park fans are a curious bunch. Here at Hit Parader, we get stacks of mail from fans needing to find out this, that and the other thing about vocalists Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda, guitarist Brad Delson, drummer Rob Bourdon, DJ Joseph Hahn and bassist Phoenix. As proven by the incredible success of this West Coast rap/metal unit's debut album, Hybrid Theory, fans have found a hard rock band they can rally behind. Linkin Park's album has sold more than eight million copies, firm- ly establishing this sextet as the leaders of the New Metal revolution. To satisfy the ever-increasing demands of the band's loyal followers, we've picked from the hundreds of questions submitted by dedicated Linkin Park fans and posed them to Shinoda and Delson. Here's what they had to say:

Bill in Tacoma, WA: You guys have totally scored with Hybrid Theory. What would you like to happen next?

Mike Shinoda: Hybrid Theory has been a really firm introduction between Linkin Park and the world. People understand our blending of different musical and visual elements. It's been a lot of fun, and we have developed a really close relationship with our core fan base. That's what we've been focusing on at our shows, I meeting people and talking to people. We're not about being rock stars and being exclusive- we’re about sharing with people.

Wendy in Norman, OK: You guys are so special. How much has having two vocalists set you apart from other bands?

Brad Delson: Good question. There are other I bands that have two, vocalists, 311 is a good vocalists, 311 is a good example, so it's not something entirely new. It does differentiate us in the sense that we have two guys collaborating on everything together- lyrics, delivery, and presentation. Our band is the hybrid theory- combining different elements together, like hip-hop, electronica and heavy alternative music; our two vocal- ists also embody that concept. They're coming from two different backgrounds and what you wind up hearing vocally is their hybrid theory. It's their collaboration and their cooperation, which makes Linkin Park’s music exceptional.

Jobe in Calvert Cliffs. MD: I was a huge rap freak until my friend made me listen to your music and now it's just Linkin Park for me. How does it make you feel to know you've changed people's entire perspective on rock?
MS: That's very exciting! I think every- body in our band listens to all different kinds of music, and we like sharing that with other people. Hopefully, no matter what you listen to, there's something from another genre you can like.

Tammy in Davis, CA: Your music is extremely multidimensional. Do you take the multimedia approach when you’re making music?

BD: Mike (Shinoda) and Joe (Hahn) met at the Art Center in Pasadena, a very prestigious art school, and they're extremely talented. I did art in high school. Chester has done painting, so all-in-all we’re very visually oriented guys. This isn't just something we think of after the fact, we're conscious of the visual presentation our music right from the get-go. We think about what we can do visually to broaden what Linkin Park means to people. So it's not just our music, but also the artwork for the CD and the videos.

MS: When you create visual elements you want them to stick in people's heads and you want them to work cohesively so that elements aren't fighting each other.

Sam in Joplin, MO: You’ve been in several soundtracks, including Dracula 2000, Little Nicky and Valentine. How did you get to be on those soundtracks?

BD: Soundtracks are kind of funny because people will come to you and go, "Hey, do you want to be on this?" Like when we did Dracula- we needed to make an educated decision. We wanted to know what the movie was like, what it was about, and what other bands were doing the soundtrack. We wanted to know what direction the soundtrack was going in, so if it was on our vibe, then we were stoked to do it. If you look at the bands that are on the Little Nickysoundtrack, they’re all the bands that we respect and admire, and we're big fans of Adam Sandler, so of course we wanted to do that. But if someone comes to us and says, "Hey, you want to be on the soundtrack for new Meryl Streep movie?" we're probably going to respectfully decline.

Ian in Grimsby, UK:What to do you like best about headlining a gig?

BD: The greatest thing about headlining is the ability to put on our vision of a Linkin Park show. Artistically, this goes way beyond being the opening part in someone else's show. When we headline, our goal is to create visual elements to stick in people's heads.

Gene in Lancaster, PA: When you are on tour with other bands, did you think of collaborating with them?

MS: It's gone through our heads before. On our next album, I don't see that a cameo appearance by another artist would really work. We're open to doing things with other people-- for instance, I did a track with the Executioners. It's called It's Going Down; it's a hip-hop track that I sampled some guitars on. It will be on their next album.

Mark in Whistler. British Columbia, Canada: Do you guys get nervous with the "second album pressure?"

MS: We are feeling pressure, but we don't feel nervous. Naturally, the label and the media ask a lot of questions about the second album, but we spent a lot of our earlier years as a band learning how to write songs, which ~ comes easily at this point. All six of us are "pressure performers," so it's interesting to see us creating without a big deadline looming over our heads; but at the same time, we really enjoy going through the creative process.