Linkin leap pays off.
August 4, 2007
HEY don't know the meaning of the words "yobbo" or "feral" but the members of alt-rock superband Linkin Park are headed to the "friendliest place in the world".
The band's forthcoming Australian tour - announced last week - will be the first time the Californian group has made it to Adelaide.
"The people are so friendly in Australia,'' guitarist and band founder Brad Delson says.
"We've travelled all over the world and some of the nicest people in the world live in Australia - I'm really excited about going back there. I like the accent.''
And the nu-metal rocker insists he is not being polite.
"Don't you think the accent can sound a little `yobbo'?'' I ask.
"A little what?'' he says with a laugh. "What does that mean?''
"You know, a bit feral,'' I explain.
"A bit what? Sorry, I don't know that one either. I don't speak Australian.''
The Australian tour will follow the amazing success of Linkin Park's latest album, Minutes To Midnight, which sold 625,000 copies in its first week.
Despite having sold more than 50 million records over the past decade, Delson admits there were plenty of nerves when Minutes To Midnight was released.
"Nervous might not be the right word because we were pretty confident that we'd made a great record, but we were nervous about this massive creative departure we'd made,'' he says.
"We really didn't know what the result would be in the marketplace, but musically, we couldn't have done more. The album we made exceeded our expectations.''
Delson said the band took a huge "leap of faith'' in exploring different genres for its latest work.
“But in hindsight, it seems like it was the right thing to do,'' he says.
“It's so funny - I was watching a Bob Dylan doco and I heard the story of what happened when he started playing electric after establishing himself as an acoustic folk artist.
“People were really angry about it. He was getting booed by his fans (at the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965) and I saw a clip where people were saying that they hated it and they thought it was terrible.
“Now, of course, that is some of the best music he is known for.''
But anger isn't always a bad reaction, Delson admits. "It's reassuring in a way because we did make a huge change in our style and people didn't know what to make of it at first.
“But as they move their expectations to the side, they end up really falling in love with the sound and the lyrics. Everyone has a different opinion and when they have a strong opinion I think it's a good sign. We're always trying to challenge people.''
The leap of faith paid off for the US band, with Minutes To Midnight selling more copies in its debut week than any other album in the US this year.
The lead single What I've Done topped music charts around the world. Linkin Park formed in 1996 - though under a different name and with slightly different members. Since then, it has developed a reputation for being one of the hardest-working bands in the business.
The current line-up is Delson, singer Chester Bennington, Dave Farrell (bass, cello), Joe Hahn (turntables, programming, samples, beats), Mike Shinoda (emcee, vocals, guitar, keyboards) and drummer Rob Bourdon.
By 2000, after struggling for several years to pick up a record deal, the band broke through with album Hybrid Theory.
It became the bestselling album of 2001, selling 4.8 million copies.
From there, Linkin Park took its music on tour, performing an incredible 320 gigs in a single year.
“That's what they say but I think I've blocked out all that,'' Delson says. “I do have some grey hairs these days though and I imagine that has something to do with it.''
The band members would work on new songs in their specially designed tour bus as they travelled between concerts.
Fans have had to wait three years for Minutes To Midnight while the band took a much-needed break.
But now it is back to work as Linkin Park takes its new music on the road.
“We're really looking forward to it - I don't think we've ever played in Adelaide,'' Delson says. “The pace in Australia is just so kicked back. I like that.
“We're really excited to be playing out new material in Australia and we'll mix that in with some of our old stuff and just put on a really entertaining show.
“We'll have a lot of shows under our belt by that time so I hope we would have gotten it right by then!''
Linkin Park will play Adelaide Entertainment Centre on October 16.
Bookings @ Ticketek from tomorrow.
Minutes to Midnight is out now.