This group combines the best hip hop, rock, and electronic vibes to form the hottest beats and melodies in modern music. The band's southern Californian musical roots were also an underlying basis, for drummer Rob Bourdon, guitarist Brad Delson, and MC/vocalist Mike Shinoda formed a tight friendship while still in high school. Shortly after graduation, art student and DJ Joseph Hahn hooked up with bassist Dave "Phoenix" Farrell and Shinoda for the band, Xero. Hybrid Theory came later, but the band opted on the name Linkin Park when singer Chester Bennington was the last piece added to the band in 1999. Soon the band became a noticeable face at the Whisky as well as favorites in and around Los Angeles. Zomba Music's Jeff Blue was one of the few who didn't turn the band down for a contract at the turn of the millennium - Linkin Park signed to Warner Bros. after being turned down three times in late 1999 and got to work on their debut album. Taking a piece from their past, they named the album Hybrid Theory. It was released in fall 2000 and it showcased their likes for fellow alternative acts such as the Deftones, the Roots, Aphex Twin, and Nine Inch Nails. The Dust Brothers also collaborated on the record, as well as producer Don Gilmore (Pearl Jam, Eve 6, Tracy Bonham). Singles such as "Crawling" and "One Step Closer" were massive radio hits and video favorites among the TRL crowd on MTV. Joint tours with Family Values and the Project: Revolution Tour with Cypress Hill led the band to play 324 shows in 2001. Linkin Park was in demand. Come January 2002, Hybrid Theory received three Grammy nominations for "Best Rock Album" and "Best New Artist." A month later, Linkin Park walked away with an award for "Best Hard Rock Performance" for "Crawling." They spent the remainder of the year hold up in the studio, again working with Gillmore, recording a follow-up to their eight times platinum debut Hybrid Theory. Linkin Park's sophomore effort Meteora was released in March 2003; the first single "Somewhere I Belong" was an instant hit. The second annual Projekt Revolution tour got underway in spring 2003 with Linkin Park joining Mudvayne, Xzibit and Blindside; Summer Sanitarium dates with Metallica, Limp Bizkit, Mudvayne and the Deftones followed in July and August.
Linkin Park resolutions for 2005
If you were a rock star, what would you hope for in the coming year? Success? Health? An intimate relationship with a certain MTV News reporter? The correct answer is all of the above.
As the year draws to a close and we spend time reflecting on ways to improve our lives, let us look once again to musicians to set the example for the rest of us. Though they seem to have it all, these guys are not content to let 2004 pass without coming up with some new goals for next year. Sure, some of them may be modest, but, really, what rock star isn't?
Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park: "I think with the 'From the Inside' book coming out, it kind of signals to us that this is the end of this Meteora touring cycle. I'm looking towards new music and a new Linkin Park record and other projects."
Brad Delson, Linkin Park: "My resolution is to hang out more with Sway. I've been calling. I page [him]. I e-mail ..."
Linkin Park to donate $100,000 to American Red Cross for Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia Natural Disaster Relief
In response to the massive appeal for aid in the earthquake and tsunami stricken areas of Southeast Asia, Warner Bros. Records recording artist Linkin Park has formed "Music For Relief," an effort by concerned musicians and fans to provide emergency relief for quake and tsunami victims. "Music For Relief" will benefit the American Red Cross in its relief efforts.
All donations will help the American Red Cross provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance, and other support to those in need. Linkin Park has made an initial contribution of $100,000 and is calling on other musicians, as well as fans, to contribute.
Linkin Park's Brad Delson says of the band's efforts, "We are fortunate to be in a position to help, but this needs to be a broader effort - both by our fans and by other musicians. If one of our fans can donate $10, then that's going to help." Delson adds, "We are also going to appeal to our musical peers by asking them to donate as well. The bottom line is the more we can do, and the quicker we can do it, the more lives we can save."
Earlier this year, Linkin Park performed to sold-out stadium crowds in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. The shows were heralded as the largest rock concerts in those countries in the past 10 years. Delson says of the experience, "The outpouring of emotion from our fans there was overwhelming - it really affected us. We opened 'Music For Relief' so that our fellow musicians and fans can give in this time of need to the families of the over 70,000 people who have perished. This money will also be used to aid the millions left homeless by this natural disaster, it's our way of giving back to the people who so desperately need it."
The United Nations has indicated that the cost of the tsunami disaster is without precedent. Donations to "Music For Relief" can be made at www.musicforrelief.org.
Linkin Park has donated $500,000 to various charities since the beginning of 2004. Most recently, the band gave $5.00 from every Projekt Revolution concert ticket sold in Tampa, FL, to aid victims of hurricane Charley this past summer.
Linkin Park Rocks the Year-End Chart
Linkin Park has proved itself impervious to critics, genres and the rest of the competition on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, as the juggernaut of its "Meteora" album (Warner Bros.) continues its momentum from last year.
Four songs from the band's sophomore album charted on the year-end Modern Rock Tracks recap, with three finishing in the top 10. This earns the act the No. 1 spot on the year-end Hot Modern Rock Artists chart.
"Numb" was the year's second-most-spun song in modern rock, while "Breaking the Habit" and "Lying From You" came in at Nos. 8 and 9, respectively. "Faint" also garnered airplay, while the band's collaboration with Jay-Z, the just-released "Collision Course," ensures that the group will have a presence on next year's chart as well.
What's more impressive is that the five singles released from the quadruple-platinum "Meteora" all have logged at least three weeks at No. 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart for a total of 30 weeks atop that list.
Despite Linkin Park's strong showing, Epic, not Warner Bros., tops the Modern Rock Labels chart. Epic act Incubus takes the No. 1 spot on the year-end Modern Rock Tracks chart with "Megalomaniac."
The song was on the chart for the first half of 2004, peaking at No. 1 for a total of six weeks. The band also had a solid follow-up with "Talk Shows on Mute," which ranks at No. 19 on the year-end recap. The song charted for 26 weeks and peaked at No. 3 on Modern Rock Tracks.
Linkin Park, Jay-Z come together on 'Collision Course'
Multiplatinum acts Jay-Z and Linkin Park are the latest to merge musical forces in a legally sanctioned mash-up. With the help of MTV, the two acts have taken it one step further.
Instead of simply doing a mash-up remix of one track, as other artists - Kylie Minogue and New Order, Dannii Minogue and Madonna - have done, Jay-Z and Linkin Park have created an entire CD/DVD project based on the mash-up concept. The result, "MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents Jay-Z/Linkin Park: Collision Course," arrived Nov. 30.
For the uninitiated, a mash-up intertwines two different songs, often placing the vocals of one track atop an instrumental section of another track.
For example, "Can't Get Blue Monday out of My Head" features Kylie Minogue's vocals from her global hit "Can't Get You out of My Head" married to the synth waves of New Order's "Blue Monday." Sister Dannii Minogue's "Don't Wanna Lose This Groove" merged the vocals from the singer's "Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling" with the disco beats of Madonna's "Into the Groove."
"Mash-ups are best when they involve two songs that the listeners know," says Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, who produced the studio recordings for the CD portion of the two-disc set. "That's what was so promising about this project: We got to take songs that a lot of people are familiar with and totally reconstruct them." Shinoda says they had to figure out when to use an original master recording and when to rerecord something. "Tempo, key and style were all parts to a very elaborate balancing act."
The centerpiece of the DVD component of "Collision Course" is the July 18 live performance of the mash-ups at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, which debuted Nov. 10 on MTV with the network's new series, "MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups." The performance showcases artists who respect each other musically. To that end, they must make time to rehearse together. "This is not the kind of performance that can be phoned in," MTV executive vice president of music and talent programming Tom Calderone says.
The mash-ups on "Collision Course" are "Dirt off Your Shoulder/Lying From You," "Big Pimpin'/Papercut," "Numb/Encore," "Jigga What/Faint," "Izzo/In the End" and "Points of Authority/99Problems/One Step Closer." Shinoda adds that it was cool to see his band's "usually more serious" music in a "more light-hearted and fun" atmosphere. Jay-Z, it should be noted, is no stranger to mash-ups. Earlier this year, DJ Reset's mash-up "Frontin' on Debra" combined Beck's "Debra" and Pharrell Williams Featuring Jay-Z's "Frontin'."
Linkin Park stays close to fan base
When the red-hot rock band Linkin Park wanted to promote its hardcover collection of behind-the-scenes photos "From the Inside: Linkin Park's Meteora'' with a fan autograph session, it hit three cities: Los Angeles, New York and ... wait for it ... Dublin.
What was Linkin Park, whose first two albums sold some 18 million copies worldwide, doing in a generic big-box store in a generic shopping mall off the I-580 freeway in the pleasant, but underwhelming, if not generic, suburb of Dublin?
Although group rapper, production whiz and graphic designer Mike Shinoda seemed a little hazy on exactly where Dublin is, the location of the "meet-and- greet'' was no accident.
Linkin Park has a commercial tie-in with the electronics outlet Best Buy. The chain picked its Dublin location because, according to a store official, "We are one of the largest volume stores'' in the country -- meaning it moves a lot of Linkin Park CDs. What's more, Dublin is prime territory for the band's predominantly white, suburban teen fan base.
All of which adds up to a canny marketing strategy for a band that totally gets the concept of grassroots fan support. The six-man group -- whose latest CD, "Collision Course'' with rapper Jay-Z debuted this week at No. 1 -- is creating a new dynamic for success.
In some ways it was as interesting to see what Linkin Park didn't do as what they did. They didn't schedule interviews with major media outlets or even make sure their appearance in Dublin was announced in the mainstream media.
Linkin Park Delay
Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda recently told Launch Radio Networks it might be a while before the group gets around to making their next studio album, reports Blabbermouth.net. After more than a year's worth of touring to promote 2003's "Meteora" and their other recent projects, "We are trying to change up the pace a little bit," he said. "We'll probably be working on a lot of other projects before we get started on the next Linkin Park album. We want to give our fans some different stuff, so as not to be redundant. Everyone is looking for great creative avenues to explore. It's no secret that we like to keep working, so it's safe to say that you can expect a number of things from us in the coming months."
Shinoda said he's doing "a lot of hip-hop production," while DJ Joseph Hahn is working on commercials and film projects.
Linkin Park have just published "From The Inside", a coffee table-sized book of photos and stories from the "Meteora" tour. Linkin Park will publish a book called "From The Inside: Linkin Park's Meteora" later this month.The 144-page book contains photographs and handwritten notes that document the band's two-year "Meteora" world tour, as singer Chester Bennington recently discussed. "It's kind of like a documentary of our life up to the tour with Metallica, the Sanitarium tour, all of our fans, all of the touring," he said. "And it's really a cool-looking book. It's got a lot of great pictures, some funny little stories in there, and it came together really, really well."
Linkin Park won their first American Music Award last night for Alternative Music Artist.
As we previously reported, Linkin Park's collaborative "mash-up" EP with rapper Jay-Z, called "Collision Course", comes out on November 30.
Meanwhile, vocalist Mike Shinoda has designed a limited edition "Remix Series" sneaker for DC Shoes, with all proceeds going to a scholarship fund that Shinoda established at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where he attended school. Linkin Park will begin working on their third studio album, the follow-up to "Meteora", in early 2005.
The publicity had already been taken care of via e-mails sent to members of fan clubs. Phone interviews with a couple of local radio stations that match their fans' demographics are as close as the band came to promotion.
Sure enough, the fans turned out -- well over 1,000 in all -- but it was quickly clear that not all of them were going to get to meet the band. More than an hour before the start, some 500 fans -- many of whom arrived as many as five hours early -- had already received special yellow wristbands to ensure them a chance to meet the band. The overflow just created backdrop buzz, reinforcing the band's popularity, and -- oh, by the way -- building demand for the book, which just happened to be on sale for $26.99 a pop.
It is all reflective of a rabid and mobilized fan base that doesn't need ads in major newspapers or interviews with influential critics to create a connection with a band it adores. They feel like they already know them. They get e-mails from the band and may have shaken their hands before a concert. Loyal doesn't begin to describe them.
"We do a meet-and-greet before every show,'' said Shinoda. "They are pretty much like this, but we haven't seen any tattoos (here) yet. We autograph their arms with a Sharpie and the next time we see them they have fresh tattoos (over the signature, making it permanent). I know when I was growing up I was very loyal to some bands like Run-DMC and Public Enemy. But I have never gotten a tattoo.''
But the real key is that, once the fans made it through the long, long line, the band bent over backward to make it a positive experience. Screaming fans came at them with backpacks and pens, cameras and video recorders. Burly security guards sized everyone up, but it was impossible to do more than give the crowd a quick once-over.
The band took it all in stride. The six 20-something musicians signed posters, books and T-shirts. For two hours, they posed for pictures, high- fived the kids and went out of their way to engage everyone in conversation. In all that time, the only complaint came when they were told it was time for a five-minute intermission.
"Why are we taking a break?'' Shinoda asked.
But you had to wonder how relaxed they really were.
Just the night before, in Columbus, Ohio, a deranged fan rushed the stage during a performance by the band Damageplan. The man had a gun and used it to kill guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and three others in a shooting that also left two people injured before a cop shot him dead with a shotgun. I asked Shinoda whether the incident didn't give him chills.
"Absolutely,'' Shinoda said. "You can't hear that story and not be concerned. If there was anything I would say to the fans, it would be knowing where to draw the line. It is one thing to be a big fan of the group and something else to cross over the line. You'd like to keep everybody safe and keep yourself safe.''
A nice sentiment. But you have to wonder, as fans in all facets of entertainment, from pro sports to music, begin to become more and more involved -- and occasionally violent -- if performers aren't putting themselves at risk every time they step into, or before, a crowd.
Because this is just music, not life and death.
And DJ/producer Danger Mouse's unsanctioned "The Grey Album" - which featured vocals from Jay-Z's "The Black Album" laid atop beats created using the Beatles' "White Album" - pushed mash-ups into the mainstream in America.
MTV's Calderone credits the global popularity of mash-ups to a generation that knows no boundaries when it comes to music.
"Kids today like many kinds of music," he says. "One kid will like rock, rap, hip-hop and electronic. So it's natural for them to take different-sounding records and merge them together. In this way, it shows the depth of their [musical] libraries." With the Jay-Z/Linkin Park collaboration, the mash-up became three-dimensional. "Fans are watching the artists perform these songs live onstage."