Interview with Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson and Snoop Dogg
Last summer Linkin Park proved that they could share the stage with the best of them, impressing new fans the nation over as they opened for the might Metallica. This summer, they plan on proving that they can command a stage of their own, recruiting fellow heavyweights Korn and Snoop Dogg to help them headline a true contender for (the?) tour of the year. Korn, meanwhile, are alumni of two OZZfests, as well as Lollapallooza, while Snoop Dogg has also toured the festival circuit, once even sharing a Lollapallooza stage with Korn on the mid-90’s. Together, the most powerful name in rock, the mightiest name in metal, and hip=hop’s most happening phenomenon combine for a Projekt Revolution package that raises the bar in mainstream appeal. Joined on the mainstage by punk rockers The Used and Less Than Jake, and on the side stage by metal-core breakthroughs Funeral For A Friend, rap/metal pioneers downset, and hip-hop’s Ghostface and MOP, the headling triumvate of talent will surely be the center of attention on one of the summer’s most culturally-spanning and musically diverse bills. Metal Edge sat down with Linkin Park frontman Mike Shinoda and guitarist Brad Delson, Korn frontman Jonathan Davis, and the legendary Snoop Dogg himself for an inside look at the upcoming festivities, getting a little insight into what we might expect from each…
Metal Edge: This is an interesting billing- Kin of like the early Lollapallooza’s with all the diversity.
Mike Shinoda: Not to correct you [laughing], but I wouldn’t want to compare it to Lollapallooza! I think this bill is very solid, and a great thing about it is that all of the bands- Snoop and Korn and us- are capable of headlining tours on our own, so to have us all in one place is going to be a really good tour for the summer.
Metal Edge: Snoop, you usually don’t play in front of audiences like this one, what are you expecting?
Snoop Dogg: you never know man, you know what I’m sayin’? My fans range, you know what I mean? So for us to come together and do this must mena that we have the same capabilities for doing what we’re supposed to be doin’. So I don’t think it’s so far fetched to where my fans are so different than Korn and Linkin Park fans- I think they all love music, and we’re gonna have a mixed variety of people out there. This tour, the Projekt Revolution tour, is about that. It’s about and making something different
Mike Shinoda: I think all of the bands can gear their stuff towards meeting a common ground and put something together that all the fans could enjoy. Hopefully, if you came to just see Snoop, you’ll be able to enjoy the other two bands…
Metal Edge: You’ve got two studio albums- It’s got to feel pretty special to be headlining a show of this capacity, with two legendary bands sharing the bill.
Mike Shinoda: We’re just kind of playing host. This is the third year that we’ve done Projekt Revolution, and it’s something we just hope to keep getting bigger and bigger, with a bigger show, and we think this is a huge step up. People are really going to be leaving with something special.
Metal Edge: For you, Snoop, do you really feel like you’ve surpassed just the hip-hop crows and emerged at a new level?
Snoop Dogg: I mean, you can’t say I passed the hip-hop crowd, because Eminem is hip-hop. You know what I’m saying? The same fans of his, are friends of mine, and we don’t have no limits on what we do. Like I said before, it’s music-People respect and appreciate good music, and that’s what this is all about, us coming out, performing, and putting together on hell of a show.
Metal Edge: What is it about Projekt Revolution that appealed to you?
Snoop Dogg: It just sounded like something I needed to be apart of, you know what I’m saying? I love making history, and this just seemed like another moment to change history, it seemed like something that could change the face of the game and step the whole game up entirely. So why not jump in?
Metal Edge: Mike, the other two Projekt revolutions haven’t been this big…
Mike Shinoda: I don’t think people know, yet, how big we want to take this, because we are still building. These are the beginning steps of something that’s promising to be really powerful this summer. We’re going to be adding groups to the bill- who knows how big the tour will get, but we’re just going to see how far we can take it. We’re putting information on all our websites, and the Projekt Revolution website, so just checkout wherever you feel most comfortable, because we’ll be having updates a couple times a week.
Metal Edge: Despite the fact that Mike corrected me for saying this earlier, I still think Projekt Revolution is reminiscent of early Lollapalloozas- you’ve got you, you’ve got a metal band, you’ve got a hip-hop artist, you’ve got punk…There’s total diversity.
Brad Delson: That’s kind of what Projekt Revolution is all about- We started it two years ago with Cypress Hill, Adema and DJ Z-Trip, and last year we did it with Guerilla Union All Stars, Xzibit, Mudvayne and Blindside- really eclectic (electric?) shows. Linkin Park fans, themselves, are really diverse and open-minded, because we’re combining so many different styles together. It’s natural for us, developing our own tour, to want to include artists that are also eclectic and cutting edge in what they do. This year we really wanted to take it up to that next level and just bring out headliners- Bring out Korn, bring out Snoop Dogg, they’re the leaders of what they do. We think that, combined, it will be one of the best shows people have seen in a long time.
Metal Edge: It doesn’t hurt that you’re not really going head to head with OZZfest either, since they're much heavier this summer, and don’t have a lot of mainstream commercial appeal.
Brad Delson: There’s a lot of great tours out in summer, and that’s one of the reasons we knew we had to have a apackage of bands that would blow your mind, as well as an affordable ticket price. We know that our fans are younger, and we know that they don’t have money to spend on more than one show, and sometimes they can’t even afford that. We’ve always tried to price our shows to be really affordable, as well as give people more than what they might expect in terms of talent.
Metal Edge: When a band does it right-and you do it right-there’s nothing like seeing a band get a crowd completely unnerved. To that end, you guys are like this generation’s Bon Jovi or Van Halen when it comes to cultural phenomenons.
Brad Delson: That’s the one thing that I really do see- The connection we have with our audience is so strong, and it’s really a diverse, all over the world, and those kids feel so strongly about our lyrics and about our music, that they almost have ownership in it…In a sense, they do, because we grew up organically, one fan at a time with our street team, and now with our fan club, Linkin Park Underground. Hybrid Theory, if you watche dit, the album sold the same number of albums every week for like a year, and you could actually see the owrd of mouth happening at the stores, people saying, “Hey check out this album!” It was just that slow build, and we’ve made it a priority to keep that as our focus- That dedication to our fans, in hopes that they will continue to have it for us. That’s really what we spent the last year doing, things that are based on giving back to the fans.
Metal Edge: What do you think it is that makes Linkin Park so identifiable?
Brad Delson: My opinion for our reason for our success is great songs- It sounds like it’s obvious, but people really don’t write songs these days. And I’m talking about classic songs- even though, stylistically we’re trying to break ground creatively- we study classic songs, and we write songs that we hope will stand the test of time. Then the second part of it, I think, is shifting gears and putting as much creative energy as it is we can into going out and getting our music out there, marketing it ourselves, and not slacking off at all- Touring the world and being ahnds-on. It’s really not always fun, but it’s worth it when you see how strong a connection we’ve been able to make with ourfans.
Metal Edge: And the end of that is, your fans stay with you longer. You don’t see your numbers cut in half with every release…
Brad Delson: It’s not an accident that we have a very dedicated fanbase. When we started out, our focus was always on developing our foundation and our core. We’ve been really lucky with radio, MTV, press, and having a lot of mainstream exposure, but we never counted on it. We always put the focus on our fans, so that…Our songs are doing great now, but let’s say that a year from now. Radio doesn’t like our songs- We’d rather sell out arenas, but we know that there are thousands of kids across the country that will still come to see us live, and we can still go out and play our songs with no mainstream coverage at all. It’s actually funny because, in spite of a lot of achievements we’ve had commercially, most people don’t know who we are. They really don’t! We don’t do a lot of mainstream anything, and a lot of people really don’t know who we are. It’s really funny
Metal Edge: I was talking to Nikki Sixx the other day, and we were talking about the difference in image between artists today, and artists when Motley Crue were on the rise- Had you sold as many records then, as you have now, you wouldn’t be able to leave your house… Now, is it as simple as throwing a hat on, to go to the mall unoticed?
Brad Delson: I can do that! Honestly, it’s very seldom that I get recognized anywhere. I don’t mind being in the public eye, but at the same time, it’s nice to be just like everyone else, too.
Metal Edge: Does that make success any more impacting to you? The fact that you’ve done it without a flamboyant image?
Brad Delson: We always want our music to speak for itself.
Metal Edge: It was ironic to me that Linkin Park came onstage with Nine Inch Nails playing, because I hear a lot of influences in Linkin Park that your fans might not even be aware of. As artists, do you feel any sense of obligation to expose the bands that came before you?
Brad Delson: No, we always try and tell people which bands have influenced us- Nine Inch Nails is one of them, Radiohead is one of them, Dr. Dre is one of them…The fact that we’ve got Snoop on our tour is like… I remember litsening to The Chronic in high school and thinking that it was the greatest record ever. Korn. Metallica. What’s amazing now, is that we’re able to play shows with groups that we grew up listening to- It’s surreal. You know what’s a rad record? Synchronicity, from The Police.
Metal Edge: That’s one of the things I find impressive about you guys- You can tell there’s more depth to the band than a single layer of influences.
Brad Delson: I think the wider your music library is, the more fun it is, and the more chance you have as a musician to do something truly unique, because your influences are that much more broad. You could potentially mix two things that no one ever thought to mix before and, to listeners, that sounds completely new. That’s what’s exciting, for us- To mix things in a way that people haven’t heard before. So, in a sense it’s familiar, but the way we’re doing it is like no one else.
Metal Edge: And, in turn, that makes my job a bit more exciting, because now I’m able to cover bands that are a bit outside the typical realm for Metal Edge, bands like KMFDM…
Brad Delson: KMFDM is rad. And isn’t Kraftworks starting to play out again? We hope, too, that someone who may listen mostly to rock might pick up our record, and can turn them on to go out and buy some industrial stuff, some hip-hop stuff… Even with this tour, everyone knows who Korn is, who Snoop Dogg is, who Linkin Park is, but everyone may not have seen all three bands live. Maybe they’ll see something really special that they’ll love, and didn’t even realize that they’d like…
Metal Edge: I think this tour is amazing because you’ve got two of the best live bands out there right now. Korn are at the top of the metal world, and you’re at the top of the rock world. You don’t get that anymore- Now it’s four cookie-cutter bands and a headliner.
Brad Delson: We just didn’t want to take any chances with the summer, there are too many tours out there. You have to have, hands down, the strongest lineup, so that your tour is the one that fans are dying to see.
Metal Edge: the tour that made the difference for me, was last summer’s Sanitarium tour. That’s when I saw you guys and said, “wow, they deserve every album sale they’ve had…”
Brad Delson: The Metallica tour was an amazing opportunity for us, because as much as we’d already accomplished at that point, we still have al lot to prove. And we still do have a lot to prove, and we want to continue to challenge ourselves. Especially playing in front of such a die-hard audience- They’re not going to give it to you, you’ve got to go out there and earn it every night. So we put on the war paint and went out there and attacked. I think what helped us to even know to do that, was OZZfest. We went on OZZfest and thought, “Oh we’re doing great, we’re gonna get out there and it’s gonna be all our fans…” We started out that tour and we sucked ass, dude! We totally had to rethink everything in the context of the tour- Who’s in the audience, and what’s going to get them going? And we just started atacking, and that was probably the most rewarding tour for us, because it was the hardest, and we wound up succeeding. We kept that same attitude with Summer Sanitarium, and it was the right one.
"Metal Edge" Magazine - September 2004