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Metal hip-hop show should be a walk in Linkin Park

Korn, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park are among the bands considered leaders of the nu-metal/hip-hop genre, though Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington believes his band may be carrying the torch for the genre all by itself.

"I don't even know if it's a genre anymore, and if it is, I think we're it," says Bennington, whose Grammy-winning Southern California group is arguably doing well enough to constitute its own genre. Linkin Park's 2000 CD "Hybrid Theory," with songs "Crawling" and "In the End," came out of nowhere to sell 7 million, making it the best-selling album of 2001. The band's follow-up, last year's "Meteora," sold 3 million copies, and a remix CD released in between, "Reanimation," sold more than a million.
Clarifying why Linkin Park is in a class all its own, Bennington says, "Korn isn't known for mixing hip-hop beats anymore. They did that more on their first record. They're a metal band. So I think we're it. I don't think that's being conceited. I don't even think there ever was a genre. We created our own sound. It's not anything anyone else is doing."

Bennington believes the now defunct Rage Against the Machine "started sounding almost like an imitation of itself after four records." As for Limp Bizkit, he says, "I have no idea what they're doing. They're an awesome live band, but I don't know what they're doing anymore. The last I heard, they broke up. They'd released a record you didn't hear much about. There needs to be a serious tip to what they're doing to survive."

Korn has done a good job combining rock and hip-hop, Bennington believes, but he says most others haven't because they lack a real understanding of hip-hop. Strengthening Linkin Park's hip-hop element is Mike Shinoda's rhymes.

"We really enjoy it. It's not like we're just rock guys listening to rock all our lives and let's start rapping on our record because it's cool to do it," says Bennington, whose first hip-hop love was Slick Rick and the group 3rd Bass. He says the band is currently working with Jay-Z and Handsome Boy Modeling School.

"Mike lives hip-hop," Bennington says. "He loves rock music, too, but he lives hip-hop. He can talk hip-hop like anybody."

Bennington thinks Linkin Park's musical hybrid works well because the band considers hip-hop a universal style of music.

"You can mix it with any music," he says. "Unlike jazz or classical, you can take a hip-hop beat and mix it with anything and turn it into something new and different. You can't do the same in reverse."
Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution tour, coming to UMB Bank Pavilion on Wednesday, brings together acts that rock, rap or do a lot of both. Joining Linkin Park on tour are Korn, Snoop Dogg, the Used, Less than Jake, Ghostface, Funeral for a Friend, Downset, No Warning, MOP and Instruction.

"We got fresh faces, bands that are exceptional and who don't usually have the opportunity to play these type of shows just because they might be a new band and nobody wants to give it a go," Bennington says.
Bennigton says the one thing the acts have in common is quality.

"We wanted bands willing to go out and put on great shows, acts who aren't expecting to just show up and have the crowd handed to them because they're on a big tour," he says. "Everybody has to pull their weight.

"I also think what's Number 1 with us is diversity. You don't want a day of the same thing. I can't listen to any one thing for hours and hours. When you're putting on an (all-day) concert, you don't want people getting over it halfway through."

Bennington says Linkin Park is keeping things interesting during its own set by taking some of its well-known songs in different directions.

"We've changed some things around, added some interludes that are awesome," he says. "Our records are fairly short. To headline a major tour, we had to get creative and find ways to not just stand around and crack jokes."

Also keeping things hot will be high-powered collaborations onstage. Snoop Dogg, Korn's Jonathan Davis and the Used's Bert McCracken are all expected to take part in Linkin Park's set.

To add a festival feel to Projekt Revolution, the event will also feature a batting cage, a slam-ball court, pro-skater props and stunts, and an artist creating custom pieces. There's also a tent where visitors can create their own Korn, Snoop Dogg and Linkin Park mix CDs.

"There's all sorts of stuff going on," Bennington says. "You get a bang for your buck."

ST. Louis Post-Dispatch - August 18, 2004



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