Right-brain rock ‘n’ roll

Linkin Park, performing in Tel Aviv this week, trust that their fans will follow them down some uncharted paths.

November 12, 2010 12:24
3 minute read.
The US band Linkin Park

311_Linkin Park. (photo credit: Courtesy)

How the world of rock ‘n’ roll has changed! The production requests that American rock heavyweights Linkin Park presented to promoter Shuki Weiss ahead of their Israeli debut on November 15 at Hayarkon Park prohibit alcohol and tobacco smoke from the entire backstage area. Instead, the six-piece band has requested, among other items, a supply of Honey Nut Cheerios and Quaker Oats, and some homemade waffles with maple syrup.

So much for backstage mayhem because the real pandemonium will likely take place in front of the audience as the California nu metal rap rocking pioneers will be assaulting the young audience with their potent mix of modern rock, metal, hip hop and electronica.

Since releasing their debut album in 2000, the band has consistently scored multimillion-selling albums, with a sound built largely on the interplay between vocalist Chester Bennington and rapper/shredder Mike Shinoda. Their new fourth studio album, A Thousand Suns, was produced by their perennial favorite helmsman, Rick Rubin. Shinoda told The Jerusalem Post in an e-mail interview that there’s a reason the band keeps going back to Rubin.

“Rick gets a reputation of being a ‘guru’ for a reason, I think,” he said. “He gives the artists a lot of space to have their own successes and failures rather than meddling and pushing the album in a direction. He’s incredibly knowledgeable and talented, but he doesn’t force anything, and he lets the band make their own music. That’s been my experience, at least.”

Rather than resting on their laurels, the band really chose to make their own music this time, discarding the formula that has been their gravy and focusing on a more varied work that includes major dollops of hip hop and electronica. And it’s caused a minor tsunami among tried and true fans. One review noted, “The jarring departure from their earlier work has long-time fans diving off the bandwagon. I can see why there’s been a firestorm of criticism on the Web.”

According to Shinoda, the changes emerged from a desire for change.

“We started the process by deciding that we wanted to make an album that was more artistically driven, with less consideration for the mainstream, radio, etc., than before,” he said. “When we wrote something that sounded predictably ‘Linkin Park,’ we tended to be bored by it. When we wrote a demo that was really different sounding, it was a huge success. As the album grew, it was obvious that we were really opening up our right brain – the creative side – and relying less on our left, logical brain.”

In a live setting, though, both sides of the brain shut down for the audience amid the sonic onslaught that has propelled the band to the heights of rock stardom. And Shinoda is confident that fans will follow them down some uncharted paths instead of the same old.

“I’ve never felt interested in holding the flag of any kind of music, really. Our band has its own thing, and the older we’ve gotten, the more we’ve come to understand ‘our thing’ and we’ve found ways to let our own voice be heard,” he said.

That voice will be reverberating loud and clear on Monday night at Hayarkon Park, just as soon as they’ve finished their Honey Nut Cheerios.

November 15, Hayarkon Park. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Opening act Kuamy and the Halvas at 7:30 p.m. Linkin Park at 9 p.m. Tickets *8965 Castel or www.TKTS.co.il. Website: ww.linkinpark.co.il/Israel

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