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Star Magazine Article |
Obviously, we've had a really good year," says Linkin Park rapper Mike Shinoda. Tell that to N'Sync, Destinys Child, Britney Spears, Alcia Keysm Shaggy and everbody else who coughed on tour bus fumes as Linkin Park roared out of nowhere to become the top selling act of 2001 when their debut CD, Hybrid Theory, sold 4.8 million copies in the United States.
Actually, Linkin Park's good year dates back to the album's release in October 2000, when it opened at No.16 on the Billboad album chart-not bad for a band that had toured little outside its Los angeles home base. Hybrid Theory has never topped the Billboard album chart-its peak position was No.2-but it's seldom been out of the top 20, and 66 weeks after release, it's currently parked at No.3, with total sales of more than 7 million having sold a million-plus during each of the past 3 months.
Linkin Park became the first rock act to top Billboard's year-end sales chart since Alanis Morissette and Jagged Little Pill in 1996. They're part of the juggernaut Return of the Rock movement, as MTV has dubbed the music's resurgence.
Credit the band's work ethic-they did 325 shows last year, including several dozen that guitarist Brad Delson played with a broken foot. There's also the group's uncommon accessibility. Until recently, Linkin Park's performance were mere preludes to post-concert fans fests that saw the band members signing autographs until the venues chased them out or turned the lights off.
Linkin Park recently earned a Grammy award for nest hard rock performance (Crawling). Two years ago, nobody wanted to sign them. That's because the band's signature sound-a synthesis of hard rock and rap with electronice flourishes-had already grabbed the marketplace by the throat via Limp Bizkit, Korn, and Rage Against The Macthine. Linkin Park had been experimenting with that mix since 1996, with Delson and Shinoda going back even further. Buddies since the 7th grade, their afterschool hours were spent at the Shinoda household looking for the perfect beats.
The band started filling out with drummer Rob Bourdon, a high school pal, and DJ Joseph Hahn an art college buddy of Shinoda's. Bassist Phoenix, an original member, left before the band recorded Hybrid Theory to tour with another group, but rejoined a few weeks after the album was released.
The turning point was the arrival in 1998 of Chester Bennington, an Arizona punkster who had retired from music at 22 to log property maps on computers before hearing a demo tape and auditioning for the singer's slot. His powerful singing proved the perfect foil to Shinoda's kinetic rapping.
"This band would have a very difficult time with any different configuration."
"We don't pride ourselves on the fact that we mix rock and rap together-it's not something that somebody else hasn't done," Shinoda says. "The way we express ourselves, being able to write a good song, that's what we take pride in."