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Linkin Park
With over fifteen million copies of their debut album sold by last September there is no denying that Linkin Park is an act that can be considered one of the heavyweights in the game during the first half-decade of the new century. Having released their debut album in October 2000 it is testament to the impact of the music that the album continues to be relevant nearly five years later.

They were relatively late entrants onto the nu-metal playing field, having been beaten there by bands like Korn, Incubus and Limp Bizkit. But with their constant innovation and ceaseless drive to connect with their fans, right about now, Linkin Park might just be the only game in town. It has been a while since other nu-metal acts turned out even a single track that has had the staying power of One Step Closer, Crawling, In The End, Somewhere I Belong, Faint or Numb. As it is clear, LP was successful in spawning more than the average successful single (per album) that has fuelled the career of other acts in the sub-genre. Their approach to the creation of music might be one of the reasons why these Northern California boys have managed to make an impression on young people around the world.

In the process of developing their sound, the sextet decided that they were not necessarily going to write songs about specific incidents in one or the otherís life. They thought that their music would have a greater chance of attaining a certain universality if they tried to focus their attention on getting to the ideas that are at the core of their own individual experiences; so one personís experience with loneliness or isolation can be enhanced by the feelings of other members who have experienced similar situations to arrive at a song or piece of music that taps into the collective feelings of a music-buying public.

There are the cynics that might choose to define this as the workings of a manufactured band. But unlike several pop acts that cannot be bothered to do much more than turn up at the recording studio to record lines written by others and mug for video cameras, this band actually works this way to ensure that their own personal experiences do not alienate their fans. This work ethic also extends to their touring schedule and the band performed 324 dates in 2001 to support their album. This ensured that they had the highest selling album in that year and confirmed that Linkin Park was far from just a way to get rich quick for these six guys. Not satisfied with simply playing a large number of tour dates in a year, the band also has a reputation for hanging around for hours after a concert to chat with and sign autographs for their fans.

Even though their debut Hybrid Theory sold exceptionally well at a time when the industry was beginning to experience a slump in record sales, there were doubts about the bandís ability to sustain the momentum with their follow-up album. Would Meteora be another multi-platinum album or was it destined to fade away like the sophomore projects of so many acts that hit the big time with their debuts? "We don't ever want to have the mindset where we need to sell 10 million albums each time out. That's ridiculous," says vocalist Chester Bennington. "It's a blessing to sell that many albums; it doesn't happen very often in this business--even once in your career is an achievement. Our obligation is to our fans. We're not going to get too comfortable and say it's a given that people will run out and buy our albums." And as rapper/producer/beatmaster Mike Shinoda was quick to add, "If you know us, you know the biggest pressure came from within the band."

That pressure was felt in a very real way during the writing of Somewhere I Belong, which would become the first single off the new album. Bennington and Shinoda wrote forty different choruses for the song before they settled on the one that appears on the track. And according to them forty isnít even the record! Bennington rewrote Runaway, a track from Theory, a hundred and fifty times and the frustration experienced in the writing of that track helped him come up with their hit One Step Closer. The pressure of the second album wasnít really different from that of the first for them because they apply themselves to each project as if it were their first; and they believe that it is up to them to go out and prove themselves again to their fans and the music buying public every time they put something out.

You can read the rest of our cover story on Linkin Park in the August 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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