About The Artist
The Set List
The setting: North Hollywood. The scene: Studio A at Third Encore Rehearsal Studios in the heart of the San Fernando Valley. We're counting down the minutes for Linkin Park's top-secret Soundcheck session and an exclusive preview from their much-anticipated new album, Minutes to Midnight.
The tension in the room is palpable as we listen to Linkin & Co. warming up. Internet chat rooms have been buzzing loudly with rumors about the band's supposed new musical departure. Will the rockers continue their infectious nu-metal blitz? Or will the Linkin Park we love and know shock us with a new sound? The stage is set ... and we're ready to find out.
Breaking Their Habits:
It's clear that the band has an invigorated new energy. For the new record they teamed up with veteran music producer Rick Rubin, and that meant throwing traditional songwriting techniques out the window. Explains Mike: "The songwriting process on this record was drastically different. When we first met with Rick, he kind of had us explain what we usually did, and he said: "Can we try out some different ways?" "Every member of the band would start [their own] songs, which was unheard of for us. We ended up totaling probably between a 100 to a 150 [songs] before we narrowed it down to the ones that made the record." Adds Chester: "Everything we'd done in the past, we just put it away. Let's focus on doing things totally different... a lot of the process was trying to reinvent ourselves."
On Art School Inspirations:
Linkin Park fans know that Mike Shinoda's background is as an artist (he studied graphic design and illustration at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design). The rocker / artist also premiered an exhibition of his work recently in Los Angeles, and a lot of his work is featured in the band's packaging. So how else does his background figure into the band? Shinoda explains: "A lot of people ask me what's the difference between doing a painting and playing in a band or writing songs. There are a lot of similarities. The main thing I was really happy to have experience within art school was the ability to be able to put your work up in front of people and accept your criticism for what it's worth."
The verdict is in: Linkin Park's lengthy hiatus has produced the comeback we've all been waiting for. Minutes to Midnight is classic LP while signaling a fresh new direction for the band. Chester, Mike and the boys recorded over 100 songs for the new album and if the hidden treasures are half as good as the album, we predict Linkin Park will be around a long time.
Go get the new album and check out their powerful performance. Till next time...
-The Crew at Wal-Mart Soundcheck
- Linkin Park hails from Agoura Hills, California
- They are: Chester Bennington, Joe Hahn, Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson, Rob Bourdon and Dave "Phoenix" Farrell
- Though they spell it differently, the band's name pays homage to Santa Monica's popular Lincoln Park. The domain name LincolnPark.com was taken so they revised the spelling.
- Lead man Chester Bennington is the co-owner of a popular tattoo franchise based in Phoenix, Arizona. One of his own tattoos references his astrological cusps, Pisces and Aries.
The band begins their powerful set with one of their biggest hits. 'Breaking the Habit,' from their sophomore album Meteora, is an introspective rock tune that showcases frontman Chester Bennington's intense vocals. Bennington has indicated in many interviews that the song is a highly personal story from a painful past. "I don't know what's worth fighting for / or why I have to scream," he sings. "I don't know why I instigate and say what I don't mean."
In the End
Watching Shinoda and Bennington perform on stage together, we're reminded of rock's greatest duos. The pair has a dynamic chemistry that comes alive when both singers share the spotlight. 'In the End,' from the band's best-selling first studio album, Hybrid Theory, connects the pair's rap-and-rock sensibilities seamlessly. The tune of a relationship gone south, 'In the End' is Linkin Park at their lyrical darkest: "I had to fall / to lose it all / but in the end / it doesn't even matter.
No More Sorrow
It's time for a teaser from the band's highly anticipated new disc, Minutes to Midnight, and 'No More Sorrow' doesn't disappoint. The song is a hard-edged metal kiss-off to a disappointing relationship. With Mike Shinoda on backup vocals, Chester carries the song to a frenzied crescendo: "I've paid for your mistakes. / Your time is borrowed. / The time has come to be released".
What I've Done
The first single from the new opus is a powerful anthem that's already heating up the airwaves. The band's renewed vigor with songwriting and production is evident on this track. 'What I've Done' showcases a stripped-down sound that's just good old-fashioned melodic rock. And lyrically, the band has never sounded better. "I'll face myself," Chester sings plaintively. "To cross out what I've become. / Erase myself and let go of what I've done."
Pushing Me Away
The lush, gorgeous closer from Linkin Park's multi-platinum smash, Hybrid Theory, is an unexpected finale to the band's captivating Soundcheck set. Stripped of guitar and accompanied by a gentle piano, Bennington's vocal is a force to be reckoned with. 'Pushing Me Away' is a simple and affecting tune that showcases a softer side. "We're all out of time / This is how we find how it all unwinds," cautions a mellow Bennington. "The sacrifice of hiding in a lie."