Linkin Park is at the cutting edge of a new breed of bands mixing modern musical sounds, drawing their style from hard rock, hip-hop, hardcore punk and industrial music. But as much as the band's music is marked by stylistic diversity, at its heart one finds a song sensibility that sets the Los Angeles-based group apart from other rap-rock acts. It's part of what has propelled the band to stardom on their very first album, thanks to hits like "One Step Closer," "Crawling" and "In The End."
"Our approach to songwriting is unique . . . ," says guitarist Brad Delson. "We started writing songs about four years ago, basically just as a stylistic idea we had of wanting to meld our love of hip-hop groups with our love for really heavy kinds of alternative rock stuff. But it's not that same tough, 'we're going to kick your ass' kind of music. It's very emotional and introspective. It's more like, 'This is how I feel,' and we want to represent that in a really sincere way."
The band's ability to connect won them a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance at this year's awards ceremony. They were also nominated for Best Rock Album and Best New Artist.
The group emerged out of high school friendships among Delson, drummer Rob Bourdon and MC/vocalist Mike Shinoda. Shinoda met DJ Joseph Hahn when they were both studying painting at Pasadena Art Center. Vocalist Chester Bennington, a transplanted Arizonan who has been recording since his teens, completed the line-up. An early showcase won them a publishing deal with Zomba Music, which led to a recording contract with Warner Bros. Although the group had to change the original band name from Hybrid Theory to Linkin Park for legal reasons, their old handle became the title of their debut album, which has sold more than seven million copies.
The members of Linkin Park hope they will be appreciated for what they say as much as how they say it. "We try to push real things through in our lyrics," says Delson, "whether it's feeling insignificant or questioning your own thoughts or discovering the dark side of yourself."