It may be hip but not so much hop.
August 21, 2007
The Flint Journal
The de-emphasis of rap on Linkin Park's newest million-seller, "Minutes to Midnight," is echoed on the fourth incarnation of the group's popular Projekt Revolution tour, coming to DTE Energy Music Theatre on Wednesday. Previous PR tours included at least one hip-hop act on the main stage, including Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill.
Not this one.
While there is one hip-hop group, Styles of Beyond, on the second stage, the attractions on the main stage this year include theatrical rockers My Chemical Romance, their buddies Taking Back Sunday, Dutch Goth rockers H.I.M. and German electro band Placebo, a personal favorite of LP frontman Chester Bennington.
"I think, as a whole, we kind of just decided that these were the bands we wanted to go out with," Bennington explained in a pre-tour conference call with journalists. "Genres have always been kind of what we do, but I don't think it's absolutely what we have to do all the time." Besides, he added, with a few exceptions, fans didn't seem to be that into the hip-hop artists on previous tours.
"I personally noticed in the past, with the exception of maybe Cypress Hill and Snoop Dogg, there was the enthusiasm of the hip-hop artists, but there really wasn't a lot of overall excitement, and I personally felt like the show kind of went into a lull in some cases, and I really wanted this to be exciting, energy-filled," Bennington said. "I want the band to be able to feed off of the crowd. I don't want to have to warm them back up after a show."
Not to worry. With excitable groups like TBS and My Chem, who can back up their theatrics with the grandiose songs of last year's ambitious "The Black Parade" CD, it looks like the six men of Linkin Park are in pretty good company this time around.
Even though it takes about a year to plan and execute, Bennington said this installment of the tour was a bit of a "no brainer" to put together, at least in terms of who they wanted on the bill with them (and who would help sell tickets).
"It was a lot easier this year for us to put this tour together because all the bands seemed really excited about doing the tour," he said. "My Chemical Romance was on my list from the beginning. Taking Back Sunday was on the list from the very beginning. And we just kind of went through it, and it was really great because almost ... 90 percent of the bands would do it."
The biggest complications came with a few bands that felt snubbed being asked to play the second stage, where the more adventurous, more underground groups, such as so-called acid punks Mindless Self Indulgence, recent Taste of Chaos tour alums Saosin and up-and-comers Madina Lake are among the attractions.
Some My Chem fans may have been surprised to see their heroes team up with a formerly rock-rap group like Linkin Park, but singer Gerard Way said his group admires and respects the headliners and liked the notion of doing something different.
"I think maybe the only thing that is atypical about the choice is the fact that we usually try to pick tours that are extremely different for us," he said.
While hip-hop is mostly out this tour, green is in. The bands are donating $1 from every ticket sold to LP's Music for Relief, which will pay for the planting of young trees around the country. "Hopefully, we're going to try to plant over a million trees during this touring cycle," Bennington said.
Tour buses are running on biodiesel fuel, and info booths will disseminate information about earth-friendly alternatives and recycling. It's an aspect that appeals to the members of Taking Back Sunday, whose guitarist, Fred Mascherino, is a vegan who drives a car that runs on vegetable oil.
"I think the main idea of this whole thing is really simple," TBS bassist Matt Rubano said. "By not majorly inconveniencing yourself, you can have way less of a carbon footprint."
A couple of musicians are MIA on this tour. My Chem bassist Mikey Way is on a temporary leave to be with his new bride (band tech Matt Cortez is pinch hitting), while TBS drummer Mark O'Connell recently dropped out after suffering a herniated disc (God or Julie's Aaron Stern is filling in).
Their absences may be more noticeable to fans than hip-hop will. With a new album that downplays Linkin Park's hip-hop roots for a more radio-friendly rock sound, it may just be an extension of the mindset the California sextet is in these days.
Bennington said they weren't interested in following the path traveled on their previous blockbusters, "Hybrid Theory" and "Meteora."
"We felt like we had to continue down that path because we kind of thought that's what people wanted to hear," he explained. "On this record, we went back to ground zero and really just decided that we're not going to write music that we think people want to hear from us. We're just going to write music that we feel like writing."