You could call Linkin Park a lot of things, but you could never accuse them of being lazy.
Frontman Chester Bennington’s back injury forced them to sit out their October tour through China, but it looks like the band is not slowing down anytime soon. It’s been just a few short months since the conclusion of this summer’s Projekt Revolution tour — featuring Busta Rhymes, Chris Cornell and the Bravery, among others — and already, Linkin Park’s members are planning their return to the studio. Even as their latest release, 2007’s Minutes to Midnight, inches toward the 2.6 million-sold mark, the band has been writing new material for months, Bennington said. Just don’t ask him what that material sounds like.
“Asking someone to describe what something sounds like is like telling a blind person to guess what I look like,” Bennington told MTV News over the weekend. “It’s almost impossible. I can tell you that it’s our first stab — and perhaps our only stab, depending on how good we do — at creating a concept record, so there are a lot of things that are going to either free us up in a lot of ways or restrict us in a lot of ways. In terms of describing what it sounds like … it sounds like peanut butter and jelly. It’s sounding delicious.”
According to Bennington, it was a friend’s idea to write a concept piece. Though he wouldn’t discuss the concept in detail, he said he was looking forward to the challenge.
“For me, you say the words ‘concept record,’ and the first thing I think of is theater or the opera or something,” he said. “There’s a story, and everything has to relate to that story. It sounds a little daunting to me, so, I think my confidence level will drop, but when it was presented to us by this friend of ours, we liked the idea. It was an inspiring idea, and it was something we could relate a lot of the things we like to write about to. It couldn’t have come strictly from us — an outside source brought it to us in a way that was exciting.”
Linkin Park plan to enter a recording studio before December to track the as-yet-untitled effort, at about the same time the band’s Road to Revolution: Live at Milton Keynes live CD/DVD is set hits stores on November 25. Bennington estimates that it will take six weeks to record the new album. He said the band would be open to working with Rick Rubin (who produced Minutes to Midnight) again on the project. They just haven’t yet decided in whose hands they’d like to put their first conceptual album.
Bennington has been working with producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Daughtry) on the debut disc of his side project Dead by Sunrise. He said he wrote all of the material for the band’s inaugural offering with a very specific mission in mind.
“I wanted to make sure the record was different from the Linkin Park record,” he said. “It’s not as hard as it sounds. If you take Mike [Shinoda] out of the equation — because I personally feel he’s created our signature sound — it automatically sounds different. It’s more of a standard rock record. There are elements to it where you can tell where the inspiration comes from, but it’s pure rock with melody.”
Dead by Sunrise — also featuring Orgy’s Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck — have been working on the LP over the last couple of years and should be finished tracking the disc sometime in early 2009, with plans to release the set in spring.
“I would say that, in terms of working with the band, it all works very similar to the way Linkin Park works,” he said. “I’ve written all of the songs personally, on an acoustic guitar, and we take it from its acoustic guitar level and build it. Whether it’s a heavy rock track or a ballad, or taking all the rock elements out and creating primarily an electronic-driven track, we do it together.”