If you needed more incentive to listen to Kevin & Bean’s Breakfast with Linkin Park this coming Tuesday to celebrate the September 14th release of A Thousand Suns, I have the insider scoop.
I got to listen to the whole album at the [lastfm]Linkin Park[/lastfm] listening/laser party last night, talk to Chester Bennington about making the record, and experience the staggering work of musical brilliance that is A Thousand Suns.
Had you been spying on me this morning, you would have come across me fisting a pair of holographic laser glasses, covered in gold glitter, and tiredly wincing at the slight twinge of a well-deserved wine hangover. No, it wasn’t the post-coital culmination of a disco orgy; I had just been rocked hardcore by the Linkin Park listening party/laser show at the Henry Fonda Theatre last night.
When I was offered V.I.P. passes to the listening party, I knew I was going to get a little rock ‘n roll higher education on a school night. And I knew I was going to pay for it the next day. My liver was made to party with the boys. My liver was prepared for total rock ‘n roll carnage. Linkin Park made sure the rest of my body got a savage working as well. It could be summed up in one sweet word: satisfaction.
Informed that I couldn’t bring a camera or a cell phone, I stuck inconspicuous wads of receipts in my purse and my least favorite lip gloss to serve as a writing aid. You know, in case some artist wanted to wax philosophic about having his whole life imprinted on wax for the world to listen to. I was prepared. But not as prepared as the giant line of die-hard Linkin Park Underground fans decked out in black. With the vague feeling that I was an impostor, I made my way to the V.I.P line and quickly slipped on my drinking bracelet. Trust me, I’m a girl who has my priorities straight.
Making my way to the pre-party upstairs, I surveyed the room quickly. It was comprised of a smattering of older industry people, music journalists, and “official” types with walkie-talkies. In that moment, I regretted not being downstairs talking to the real fans instead of being plied with tiny plastic cups of white wine and Ludobites‘ infamous chicken balls. Part of the magic of any show is the ardent enthusiasm of the fans; Linkin Park fans are the epitome of obsessive dedication. It really was a beautiful thing to see an affirmation of why I decided to tame this massive beast called the music business. Even, dare I say it, do the nastiest deed of all…networking.
Maybe it was my ugly grey poncho and borderline insane eye makeup or maybe I was just giving off that mojo that makes people want to make word babies with me; whatever it was, networking happened. And it happened well. I got introduced to the dashing promoter who helps put on the Epicenter show and got a wrestling proposition from Wes Scantlin of [lastfm]Puddle of Mudd[/lastfm]. It was everything my once-teenage dreams were made of and more.
The night was already pretty epic and then it got monstrous. While standing in a gracious group of industry taste-makers, Chester Bennington himself walked up. Perhaps the anticipation of a holographic laser show and the two glasses of wine influenced my perception, but it’s true what they say about superstar energy; Bennington had a light around him that was completely innate. No amount of [lastfm]Lady Gaga[/lastfm] outlandish antics could dim his intense, enduring flame.
I momentarily remembered the rumor that he was supposed to speak at my UCLA English department commencement ceremony and now I could see why; he opened his mouth and perfect diamonds of eloquently structured sentences poured out. Because I wasn’t allowed to bring any recording devices into the theatre, I could not get what he said word-for-word, but I got some pretty awesome and exclusive bullet points.
Bennington started saying that early on the band discussed making a concept record. That idea was overthrown because they didn’t want the creative and artistic limitations of picking a concept for the record and one of the things Linkin Park values most is creative freedom. After Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park had musical expectations from their fans as well as preconceived perceptions from the media; going into writing and recording the record they wanted the freedom to do whatever naturally felt good to them–regardless of that past. Producer Rick Rubin was a crucial part of their freedom. Rubin came at the album with the essence of a true fan and sincere music lover. Bennington reaffirmed previous reports that Rick Rubin does not require the structure of a 9-to-5 schedule, time limits or deadlines. This gave the veteran band freedom to explore their musical options under the guidance of a production genius. Once the recording was completed and they arranged the chronology of the songs he realized that it had organically evolved into a concept record. Bennington said that Rick Rubin loved the song “Robot Boy” so much that it essentially “made” the record.
It was definitely my favorite song of the night. When the laser show and listening part of the night finally started, I realized that I was sitting right behind the magic man himself, Rick Rubin. He jammed out to every song with the enthusiasm of a 12-year-old boy who just discovered the concurrent allures of girls and heavy metal. I was on my third glass of wine and I felt like a 12-year-old boy as well. Albeit a tipsy one. With boobs.
If you’ve never been to a laserium show that wasn’t a product of acid and twirling raver lights, you must go right away. I command you. The whole experience of A Thousand Suns playing with the lasers in the background was better than any live concert that I have ever been to. The album itself was experimental, artistic, electronic, and ambient. From start to finish the music told a cohesive story. It wasn’t just fragmented commercial hits; all the songs melted into each other creating a whole experience. I head some fans equating the sound to a Kid A-era [lastfm]Radiohead[/lastfm] but I think it was a totally unique sound.
When (not if) the album becomes huge on the airwaves, it will be a historic event in music that could change the sound of modern rock the same way Linkin Park did when they infused their rock sound with rap.
And I’m not coming at this as some mildly drunk fan-girl; my love for Linkin Park started for the first time last night. I came expecting to do some annoying networking and drink some free booze. I left totally reincarnated as a Linkin Park lover. And satisfied. Completely and totally satisfied.
Who needs sex when you have a laser show and A Thousand Suns?
Ok, that’s going a little bit too far.