Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chester Bennington: Linkin Park

“We're willing to put our balls on the line.”

- Chester Bennington

It's been over a decade since Linkin Park released their debut album, Hybrid Theory, which spawned the breakout, radio-friendly crossover hits "Crawling" and "In the End." The SoCal rock/rap band, whose vocal interplay between singer Chester Bennington and rapper Mike Shinoda became their sonic signature, have come a long way since then.

But though Linkin Park's subsequent full-length offerings, Meteora (2003) and Minutes to Midnight (2007), were solid performers, they failed to match the excitement of the band's initial release. Consequently, when we were invited to a special laser listening event a week ahead of the street date for Linkin Park's fourth studio album, A Thousand Suns, we weren't sure what to expect. However, the album - and its presentation - quite frankly, blew us away. And, judging by the reactions of those gathered at Hollywood's Music Box Theatre, we weren't the only ones who felt that way.

Though not strictly a concept album, in an age of single song MP3 downloads, A Thousand Suns is somewhat of a concept by default - being a collection of tracks that are specifically intended to be listened to old-school style, in order, in their entirety. Having toyed with the idea of not even breaking A Thousand Suns into separate song files, the band chose to premiere the album in front of a select group of fans and press at the aforementioned listening party by playing it from start to finish, with Pink Floyd-style laser visuals serving to focus minds and energy, and underscore the vintage Dark Side of the Moon-style album effect.

Less than a week later, Linkin Park similarly exceeded expectations when they performed the first single off the album, "The Catalyst," during MTV's 2010 Video Music Awards. The epic performance, which was broadcast from the iconic Griffith Park Observatory, surprised fans and non-fans alike.

I caught up with the Linkin Park's frontman, Chester Bennington, by phone to find out how the band busted out of their music box.

Read my exclusive interview with Linkin Park's Chester Bennington on, and hit my photo gallery for more images from Linkin Park's Laser Listening Party at The Music Box.

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