By Kevin Smith
PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. RECORDS
Meteora is the follow-up to Linkin Park's debut album, Hybrid Theory. The band struggled to live up to the expectations set by the huge success of its first album.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday April 17, 2003
OK, so by now everyone who owns a television or radio knows who Linkin Park is. Most people know that the band's multi-platinum selling debut, Hybrid Theory, was easily the best selling album of 2001. That album also earned them three number-one singles and a Grammy award for one in particular, "Crawling." Their remix album of Hybrid, called Reanimation, was released this summer and also did very well for the mostly South Californians.
They are mostly South Californians because the co-lead vocalist, whose name sounds more like a door-to-door electric razor salesman than a rock star, Chester Bennington, is from Phoenix.
Bennington, along with the other co-lead vocalist Mike Shinoda, D.J. Joseph Hahn, drummer Rob Bourdon, bassist Phoenix and guitarist Brad Delson have been very busy recently. Aside from heavy video rotation, on rock magazine covers and probably on your little sister's wall, the guys are out spreading the word about their newly released sophomore LP, Meteora, and the Projekt Revolution tour behind it. The new album went straight to number one on the Billboard chart and has perched there ever since.
Having been asked every question in existence by now, guitarist Delson had a few minutes before a show in El Paso, Texas, to comment on Ali-G, his college education, UA, Greek monasteries and sobriety.
Wildcat: In the bio on the official Linkin Park Web site, you are quoted as saying, "Booyakasha!" Are you an Ali-G fan? Have you seen any of the new shows on HBO?
Delson: I love Ali-G. We became huge fans when we started touring in the UK, and you could only watch · you know the (video/DVD) format's different? So I can't watch American videos or DVDs. But our bus drivers had the Ali-G tapes when he was on the Channel 4, "The Ten O'clock Show," (British news satire show where Ali-G got his start) · the old stuff was the best, but his show on HBO now is awesome. We like his new characters too, like Borat and the new fashion guy.
Wildcat: I read somewhere that you were a communication major at UCLA. Has any of that stuff you learned in college been of any benefit to you now?
Delson: Directly maybe not, but indirectly, yeah, I think having a college education is invaluable. And I don't think that getting a degree in liberal arts is supposed to necessarily prepare you for what you're going to do exactly, but it's supposed to give you perspective and help you develop critical thinking skills that you can definitely use. I'm super-grateful that I got the education I did at UCLA.
Wildcat: Did you graduate?
Delson: Correct. Actually, Phoenix, our bass player, was my roommate there the three years out of four.
Wildcat: What does "Meteora" mean?
Delson: We were actually touring in Europe, and one of the bus drivers had put out some travel magazines. And one of them was a feature on Meteroa, which is actually a series of rock formations in Greece. And hundreds of years ago, they built these monasteries onto the top of the rocks. And if you see the pictures, it's pretty breathtaking. You can't even imagine how you could get up there, let alone how they could build these things. And although the record isn't about Greek monasteries, we kind of used the inspiration of those pictures and the epic, timeless qualities of it to kind of infuse the way we would start to write the record.
Wildcat: I heard you guys don't do much partying now. Did you ever? It's not like, "Let's enjoy the success we're having," Motley Crue-style?
Delson: I tried. I'm 25 now, I tried to drink, like, beer and stuff, but was never any good at it. So I pretty much just gave it up. I don't think I'll ever be good at it. It just kind of makes me tired and then I go to sleep. I'd say it's safe to say we're out here to play shows, meet fans and do music, which is what we love to do. And if we were home, we'd be doing the same thing. We didn't get into music for anything other than music. You know what I mean? It's like a lot of bands; you feel like music is just a means to some other end after the show. And for us, the biggest high of the night is being onstage, and there's really no way to top that. We enjoy the success, I just don't enjoy it · You know, I was raised a certain way. The way I enjoy my situation would be very different than somebody else. For me, you know, acting out in negative ways wouldn't be fun. It'd be a nightmare. We like to enjoy our success in positive ways. We like making music. That's why we do it, you know? We're in an amazing position because of the dedication and support of our fans that we get to make a career out of what we love to do ÷ and we'd do it even if we weren't making a single penny. So we're just incredibly fortunate, and we want to continue to give back to those kids who make this possible by doing things like make "Linkin Park Underground" and this LP and free tour we just did. And really just putting out things for the fans that make it worthwhile to be a fan of Linkin Park.
Wildcat: I'm not going to ask you about "the hype," but what do you think when you wake up in the morning? Is it like, "Whoa, I'm in one of the biggest rock bands around right now?" or is it like, "Time to go to work"?
Delson: It's not like I have to go to work, but, you're right; it's like, it's hard to really process it. Like, I consider myself a pretty normal guy. And even though the situation I'm in is pretty unusual, I try to stay grounded, you know? But it is a trip to think of all the things that have happened in such a short time. It's almost impossible to wrap your brain around it. You know what I mean? You kind of just take it one day at a time.
Wildcat: I imagine you guys have been offered many product endorsement deals. Is that something you guys would consider, like Papa Roach hawking Pepsi Blue, or would you guys "just say no" to something like that?
Delson: We consider doing things with companies that we're into. That makes sense. You know what I mean? We have a really cool thing where if you buy our CD, there's a lot of enhancements on it. One of which is the opportunity to get special merch(andise) that you can only get with the CD and that merch item that we have out right now is a special shoe that we designed with DC Shoes. So it's a Linkin Park, DC, double-label shoe, and it's only like $50. And it's a really cool thing for fans, especially kids who are into skating as well. So there's definitely things that make sense. But just taking money to sell a car or something else at this point in our career, it doesn't really make sense to us. Because that's not really what we're kind of focused on.
Wildcat: What are a few of your favorite albums of all time?
Delson: I really like an album called Diary by Sunny Day Real Estate, their first record, really seminal emo record. I like The Joshua Tree by U2; there's a really dope DVD on the making of that record. I really like Illadelph Halflife by The Roots. I like Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails. I mean, my taste is pretty eclectic, as is most of the band's, which is why we are what we are.
Wildcat: This is for a Tucson-based newspaper, but is Chester pumped to play his hometown in Phoenix the night before our show?
Delson: He loves playing Arizona in general. He's the only one of us who didn't grow up in L.A., so it's almost like we have two hometowns. When he goes to Phoenix, it's definitely like a homecoming for him. He is excited to get to both of those cities (Phoenix and Tucson) on this tour.
Linkin Park plays the Tucson Convention Center Saturday night at 7 with Mudvayne, Xzibit and others.