Linkin Park cook up collaborations, new album on tour
03.05.2008CAMDEN, New Jersey —The backstage parking lot at the Camden, New Jersey, stop on the Projekt Revolution Tour looks like a bus terminal. Korn, Snoop Dogg, the Used and of course Linkin Park each have multiple vehicles to transport the bandmembers, crew and gear. The insides of most of the buses look pretty much the same: There's a screen in the front lounge for TV, movies and video games, a middle section with around 12 sleeping bunks and a small rear room where musicians can go for something approaching privacy.
One bus, however, looks less like a college dorm and more like a studio. The basic furniture has been removed, recording equipment lines the walls and a drum set has been set up in the bunk area. In the back, Linkin Park rapper Mike Shinoda sits in front of a computer with a mouse pad in hand, flipping through numerous sound files his band has dumped into the machine. To his right sit a pair of keyboards and a mixer, and behind him is a turntable.
"A lot of this is what we wrote Meteora on," Shinoda said. "The turntable is just for getting ideas, and if I want to have Joe [Hahn] scratch. Also, Brad [Delson] can plug in here and play guitar and it will sound pretty good. So, I can pretty much do any member of the band's performances back here. It's not studio quality, but it gets our ideas down and we can definitely write a song that sounds pretty finished."
So far, Linkin Park haven't finished any songs for their next album, but they've recorded lots of riffs, beats and snippets, and plan to delve more fully into the writing process as the tour progresses. Many of the acts sharing the Projekt Revolution stage have offered to collaborate, and it's possible that the band might record with other artists on the side, but not for their next record.
"Our albums are what define us as a band, and they're what drives us to keep doing what we do and get us excited about new directions we can take," Shinoda said. "So we want to be 100 percent in control of those songs."
Onstage collaborations are another story. So far on the tour, Linkin Park have been joined during their set by the Used's Bert McCracken for "Faint," Korn's Jonathan Davis on "One Step Closer" and Snoop Dogg for "It's Goin' Down"
"I used to love it when I'd go to a show and different bands would get together like that," Shinoda said. "So we just figured it's a great opportunity to do it with all these bands on the bill.
"Jon [Davis] recorded with me on the 'One Step Closer' remix for Reanimation," he continued. "He did some vocals on the bridge and towards the end of the song, so we've been doing that. It's funny because he's really shy, so he doesn't stay until the end of the song. And the Snoop thing was fun because he came out and added his verse and chorus of 'Gin and Juice' over 'It's Goin' Down.' It was hard to figure out how to play, but it sounds good now."
One of the best-sounding songs during the band's August 3 set in Wantagh, New York, was something much of the crowd was unfamiliar with. "This is the first day of my last days," sang Chester Bennington over clicking samples, before a torrent of guitars and a hailstorm beat cut through the arena. The thrashy industrial number was a cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Wish" from their 1992 EP Broken. It was the first time Linkin Park played the tune in North America, but it definitely won't be the last.
"I really like that song," Shinoda said. "When we decided to play it, we knew most of the young kids in the crowd wouldn't know it, and maybe they need to hear it. Also, it's really fast, so even the kids that are into it don't know how to physically move to it, which is kind of funny to watch."
Projekt Revolution dates are scheduled through September 5 in Mountain View, California. Shinoda said the tour will be Linkin Park's last before they enter the studio to record the follow-up to Meteora.