The Chicago Tribune recently got to interview Chester Bennington, he called in from “somewhere in North America”. Chester talks about various topics, of course talking about LIVING THING doing well, the fans and critics, he says how he likes being a normal person that he wasn’t born into this world to be a rock star, then he moves onto ‘fans’ he discusses fans stopping him because they recognized him, he later talks about how he feels bad when he meets fans and he’s not 100% there sometimes, not giving them his all. Finally he tells the story about meeting Robert Smith and crying in front of him. Read the Q&A below or the full article HERE.
Q: Your last album did really well with critics. Did you feel like Arcade Fire for a week?
A: Yeah. It’s funny that you would say it, because we’re used to not getting a lot of critical acclaim. We’re used to the opposite. Typically, we don’t get a lot of praise for our creativity in the same way that other bands may. We’re definitely not the cool band of the month, but for some reason we stick around, and people like what we do. It was crazy. We were reading articles, and people were saying nice things about us. It was kind of a shocker.
Q: They were using words like “Radiohead.”
A: Yeah, that was getting thrown around a little bit after “A Thousand Suns.” People were comparing — not comparing but saying that “A Thousand Suns” was like our “OK Computer” or our “Dark Side of the Moon.” That was flattering, because those are two bands we really admire, but we just try to be ourselves.
Q: It seems to have polarized fans more than critics.
A: Yeah, with us we’ve always had a polarizing effect on people, and on our own fan base. … There’s always gonna be people who think they know what the band should be doing more than the band (does). I kind of find that funny, that people who aren’t in the band think they know what we should be doing better than we do.
Q: Your new album debuted at No. 1, which isn’t easy for a rock band these days. Do you (have a feel for) how difficult it is out there?
A: It was actually really surprising to me. All of our records have gone to No. 1, with the exception of “Hybrid Theory,” which is funny because that’s sold (the most copies). No other band has had that kind of success with the charts since we’ve come out, I guess. And I don’t think a lot of people think of us as that band.
Q: Ever wonder why you got picked?
A: I wish it was a popularity contest, and we got like, voted in, because then it would be easy to tell other people, ‘This is how we did it … ‘ It’s not something we deserve. It’s not like I was born into this world to be a rock star. … Everyone’s special, everyone has their own story. I like to go to the grocery store. I like to pick my kids up from school. I like to do my laundry. I just like to be a normal person. It’s hard for me to think about myself as a big rock star.
Q: Do you get to do those things unmolested, for the most part?
A: Yes, I do. We don’t have to deal with paparazzi. People who recognize me are fans of the band. I do get stopped on a daily basis. I just stop and say, ‘Hi,’ take a picture if they want one while I’m waiting my turn at the deli. That’s something that’s really important to us, to maintain some level of normalcy.
Q: If you snub someone, do you feel bad all day?
A: Yeah. There’s definitely days — I’m only human, and I have bad days too. There’s days when I might be at a meet-and-greet at a show and not be very present, or maybe I’m not feeling very well and I don’t give 100 percent. Some people can be a little too excited (laughs) and maybe a little offensive. There are times when I wish I could have taken something back or handled something differently, because seeing me, to that person it was very exciting. Me seeing me, to me is not very exciting.
Q: Who would do that to you, make you (freak out) like that?
A: I did cry when I met Robert Smith. I got a little goofy. I actually had to remove myself from his presence and go talk myself down and remind myself, ‘You’d probably be uncomfortable if someone did that to you.’ (Laughs.) And I went back over and apologized, and he was very gracious and kind, and he put his arm around me and told me it was OK.
Q: He didn’t tell you that boys don’t cry?
A: He didn’t roll his eyes and didn’t want to talk to me. He was very nice. I always remember that moment when I feel like being selfish and walking away and not dealing with it.
Linkin Park’s Brad Delson talked to the New Zealand Herald, the title of the article was quite interesting How to survive nu-metal, Brad talks about how Linkin Park transitioned from the sound they started with to something completely new and different, he also mentions how Rick Rubin helped them immensely with the change. Read the full article HERE, part of it below:
The reason Linkin Park have endured, says guitarist and co-founder Brad Delson, who sounds cheery and relaxed on the phone from Los Angeles, is the band’s refusal to “put ourselves in one box creatively and stylistically”.
And, Delson, a likeable, straight-shooting chap, is not scared to put the boot into some of the other less creative bands from the nu-metal scene – not that he mentions names.
“Back then there was an excitement about combining these seemingly disparate styles into one, and a lot of groups, unfortunately in that time, did it very crudely and I think a lot of people were turned off by that in retrospect.
“The only way to stay relevant is to push the envelope and take those risks and fortunately for us they have paid off.”
He’s talking about doing projects like 2004′s Collision Course, a collaboration with rapper Jay-Z, and going off on more experimental sonic tangents on albums Minutes To Midnight (which followed the mega-selling and still nu-metal focused Meteora) and A Thousands Suns, which included heavy, mantra-like songs such as When They Come For Me.
“On the one hand it’s a bold thing to do because the people who really love that initial sound were, I guess I’d use the word, surprised, by the changes,” says Delson with a laugh. “But I think those changes allowed us to grow into what we always wanted to become, which was a career group.”
It worked. Now, says Delson, there are young kids who are into the band who were barely born when Hybrid Theory came out and got into the band thanks to the Transformers films of recent years that feature Linkin Park songs.
He also gives much credit for their longevity to mega producer Rick Rubin – the man behind albums for everyone from Run DMC and Slayer to the Mars Volta and the Chili Peppers – who first worked with the group on Minutes to Midnight.
“He helped us create an environment in the recording studio that is very, very open. It has nothing to do with ego, and everything to do with our collective desire to make the best record we can make every time we go into the studio.
“So the challenge he posed for us [on Minutes to Midnight] was to do whatever felt organic to us in that moment in time. Ultimately that meant tearing down what we had built with Hybrid Theory and Meteora and starting over.”
Then, on A Thousand Suns, which they also did with Rubin, they pushed the experimentation to its fullest.
“At least our version of that,” offers Delson.
But on their latest album, Living Things, they sound more like the Linkin Park of old with the loud and quiet dynamic more prominent and a generally more aggressive approach.
“With this one I think the headspace was just different. We were at a point in time where it was less about what we wanted to move away from and more about being comfortable in our own skins and using all the tools in our tool box to convey the stories and the emotions of the songs that we wanted to write.”
It was Delson, along with high school buddies Mike Shinoda (producer, rapper, keyboards) and Rob Bourdon (drums), who formed the band way back in 1996.
And these days the 34-year-old is chuffed that apart from a few line-up changes they have managed to hold it together as a band ever since.
“I can imagine for most groups it would be a challenge to stay working in harmony for a long time because any creative project or group poses it’s own personal challenges. But I think we try to focus on our relationships as friends and our respect for each other as creative partners.”
It helped that they came through the fame and fortune period following Hybrid Theory and Meteora mostly unscathed too. Though going from being in school and playing music for fun to travelling the world and headlining festivals was a big adjustment.
“But now that we are a little older, and maybe a little more mature, hopefully we’re in a position to make the most of our opportunities,” he laughs.
“For me, I think the thing that I appreciate most is the ability to be really creative and have total creative freedom, there is no one, in a commercial context, telling us what to do. We’ve found ourselves in this lucky position that we can make whatever music we want,” he says sounding like a true nu-metal survivor.
“And at the moment I’m trying to focus on just enjoying the moment and appreciating what a unique opportunity we have and trying, even though it is hard work and can be really challenging at times, to not take anything for granted.”