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Linkin Park rockets toward 'A Thousand Suns'

The band is happy to experiment and isn't looking back. 'I don't want to scream anymore,' singer Chester Bennington says.

September 14, 2010|By Steve Appleford, Special to the Los Angeles Times

"When I was 20 years old, I would have told you 'I hate the Beatles. There is no way I will listen to that,'" added Bennington, whose personal model then was the roaring creep show punk-rock of the Misfits. "Now, I would tell you that I love the Beatles, and I didn't figure it out until I was 27: 'Oh. This is what everybody … talks about.' It was weird. It was like all of a sudden I like broccoli. Now I love broccoli."

Last week, Linkin Park faced some of its most devoted fans at a Hollywood listening party at the Henry Fonda Theatre, previewing the album for 1,200 listeners as a Laserium show conjured up images of raging suns and nuclear explosions, soaring spaceships and a robot DJ at the turntables.

There were cheers for some songs, and contemplative silence and applause for others. During a Q&A session afterward, all six band members listened closely to reactions, joking easily with the crowd, as when DJ Hahn deadpanned, "Negative feedback is like emotional rotten tomatoes."

Sitting together on stage, the band took in all the mixed emotions, both the praise and the uncertainty. Shinoda insisted the new sound didn't mean Linkin Park regretted its earlier music. And Bennington lifted his microphone to explain the simple desire to grow, to surprise listeners and themselves, and to "make music that is inspirational to us and makes us happy."

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