Linkin Park Live & Loud

11.05.2008
WITH 14 million copies sold worldwide and counting, Linkin Park's "Hybrid Theory" beat the holy crap out of the competition and owned the sales charts in 2001. Back with a new album, LP happily bucks the trendy analog sound and soldiers on with a gritty set of 12 dropped-crotch rap-rock masterpieces called "Meteora."
Through an exclusive phone conversation, Super! chillaxed with bassist Phoenix, one of the six upright gentlemen of the band, and shot the breeze on everything Linkin, including an inspirational place in Greece, their smelly tour bus, and rocking hard with Metallica. Here's how it went down.

"Hybrid Theory" was deep and dark. What's "Meteora" like, for those who haven't picked it up?
"Meteora" was an opportunity to push what we started in "Hybrid Theory." (It was a chance) to really explore what we could do musically now that we've been introduced and we had won over some fans. Not to get into total musician talk, but we wanted to work with different time signatures and different keys and really challenge ourselves to create a second album that we were all excited about and that we can see ourselves touring on for the next two years.

Out of all the names, why "Meteora"?
When we were still on the "Hybrid Theory" tour, we saw this travel magazine that showed pictures of Meteora, this place in Greece with a series of rock formations and monasteries perched on top. It almost looks like it's out of a movie or something. As we continued working on the album, the thought of that name, of that place, kinda stuck with us. When time came to name (the album), we decided ("Meteora") was a good depiction of what we wanted to do on the album -- create something a little bit timeless.

Out of all the artists you've performed with, which band did you guys learn from the most? The best learning experience?
I think for me, one of my favorites we've been able to perform with has been Metallica. We toured with them last summer on their "Summer Sanitarium" tour. That's a band I had been a fan of since I was like 10 and to go out and see how those guys play every night ... their live shows are just incredible. It's awesome! There's so much energy, it's great! I can't say enough good things about it. In addition to that, for them to be so accommodating and friendly to us really opened my eyes to how special that was, to be treated well and to be treated with respect by another group of people, with another band, out on a tour. And so that's always something we try to do with bands we're touring with, just treat them well. Yeah, it was great touring with Metallica and seeing how they run their ship.

Is it rough touring for as long as you guys have? Being rootless for a good two years, you're now described as a road-honed band. What does your bus smell like after a tour?
(Laughs) It's not a good place to be! It's gotten a lot better, though. In the beginning we used to tour in vans. Our big step up was our decision to get an RV (recreational vehicle). At that point, I think all six of us were packing up clothes that would last us for three or four weeks we'd be out on tour. During that time, none of us would have access to a washing machine so our clothes would sit in these trash bags in the RVs. Gradually, towards the end of that tour, we'd have a month's worth of nasty, sweaty clothes from shows and everything else. Six bags of them just sitting in your hot 100-degree Fahrenheit RV! You'd walk into it and it was absolutely disgusting.

That's pretty rough!
At this point now, though, we have more access to getting clothes washed, to keeping the bus a bit cleaner. Yeah, definitely it can get a bit nasty. (Laughs) Was that too much information?

(Laughs) Not at all! Now, the Philippines has been waiting for years for you to come to town. This is the first time, right?
Yeah, this is the first time for any of the six members of the band to have the opportunity to come to the Philippines. I think for me that's one of the most exciting things that touring brings, to travel and be able to see new places.

Oh we'll take you around! You guys are known for performances that are full of high impact energy. How important is it to choose the bands you perform with? You had Snoop Dogg. You had POD. Who chooses those bands?
It's really important 'coz obviously there's a difference if it's gonna be a festival show versus a one-time kinda thing. You don't have as much control over it as if it's your own tour. When we do go on tours, the six of us have a big part in picking whom we'd wanna take out with us. That's the fun part about creating a tour-creating the bill, just seeing how those different names are gonna fit together. With "Projekt Revolution," with Snoop Dogg and that kind of environment, it's awesome for us that we get to pick these different artists-Korn, The Used, all these different artists from different genres of music that we feel are doing great things-and put them together on one bill. I think that makes it really fun for us. Hopefully, that makes it real fun for the fans who come out and watch, too.

Yeah, for sure! Who's joining you when you perform in Manila?
I don't know yet. The best way for you to stay updated is through the website. At linkinpark.com, you should get information on that but for now that's gonna be a secret.

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