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Linkin Park may have staying power

Nu-metal powerhouses Korn, Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach have all endured sales slumps since 2000.

Kid Rock - the man who all but ushered in the rap-rock craze with his surprise smash "Devil Without a Cause" in 1998 - has clearly recognized the turning tide and remade himself into a chicken 'n' grits Southern rocker.

Meanwhile, rock stations across the country - including Seattle's KNDD-FM (107.7 "The End") - are dropping the nu metalheads they favored in the late '90s in favor of a "classic alternative" format that's heavier on early '90s grunge.

Clearly, the rap-rock backlash has reached overdrive. But one band that rode that trend seems destined to avoid VH-1's "Where Are They Now?" much longer than the rest.

Linkin Park, the main attraction tonight at the Tacoma Dome, remains one of the biggest bands on the planet after exploding onto the airwaves with "Hybrid Theory" in 2000 - an album that's gone platinum eight times - and avoiding the sophomore jinx with "Meteora," the third best-selling disc of 2003 at just under 3.5 million units sold.

Singer Chester Bennington shared his thoughts on the Southern California sextet's sustained success during a recent interview.

"We definitely don't sound like any other band, even including the ones that are in our genre, I guess, if there is one any more," he said. "I don't think people see us like that any more."

Sure, it was easy to lump Linkin Park in with other nu-metal bands early on, especially with a double-barreled vocal attack with Bennington alternating with rapper Mike Shinoda. "But we were really more of a band that was just trying to blend all the different elements of music we were interested in listening to and creating something we'd never heard before - music that we thought was missing," Bennington said.

One thing's for sure: This is the ultimate pop crossover act.
The band - DJ Joseph Hahn, guitarist Brad Delson, drummer Rob Bourdon, bassist Darren Farrellis and Bennington - is that rare group that can sound heavy without sacrificing infectious melodies and catchy hooks. Theirs is a sound that fluctuates between hushed vulnerability and enraged screams, growling guitar riffs and explosive breakbeats in a way that doesn't sound as cut-and-pasted as the Linkin Park's rap-rock peers.

But at the core of the band's appeal is a brand of universal, young angst as expressed through "One Step Closer," "Crawling," "Somewhere I Belong" and other hits.

Bennington attributes the band's lyrical accessibility to the tag-team approach to writing he and Shinoda have.

"It's a little different than your typical band that has one front person who writes all the lyrics," he said. "I have to tell (Mike) what I'm drawing from. He has to be able to relate to that in some way to write his parts or what he wants to contribute to this song. The only way to do that is to talk about the emotion behind the situation instead of writing about the situation itself.
"So it ends up turning out being something more universal and something people from all different backgrounds and all different experiences can relate to."
While the band took three years to release "Meteora," Bennington promised that fans would not have to wait so long for new material this time around.
"There's a good chance by the end of the year you're gonna hear some new stuff that's not on any of the records," Bennington said. "It's kind of early to start talking about it just yet. But we plan on releasing something by the end of the year, and it's going to possibly include some music that you're not gonna find on anything else except that one piece."

Could it be another remix CD, a la "Reanimation"? A maxi single with a few b-sides?
Bennington remained guarded on the subject. "We're just now starting to plan it out," he said.

Linkin Park
With P.O.D., Hoobastank and Story of the Year
WHEN: 7 tonight
WHERE: Tacoma Dome
TICKETS: $34.50
INFORMATION: Ticketmaster (253-627-8497 in Tacoma, 206-628-0888 in Seattle or

Fun facts
• Linkin Park initially went by the moniker Hybrid Theory until the group learned of a Warner Brothers act named Hybrid.
• The band is named after Los Angeles' Lincoln Park. The spelling was changed because the Web domain was already taken.
• DJ Mr. Hahn was a graduate art student and designed the soldier with butterfly wings from the "Hybrid Theory" cover. Says guitarist Brad Delson: "It represents the hybrid, the dynamic that exists on the record."
• Linkin Park won a Grammy for best hard-rock performance for "Crawling" in 2001.

Tribnet - February 13, 2004



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