Linkin Park The Hunting Party Tour Press Conference Transcript 01/09/15

Laurel Feakes [Iowa State Daily.]: My question is for Chester. And I was just wondering what inspired your foundation Music for Relief?

Chester Bennington: Oh, boy. Well, fortunately, some really cool things are inspired by really horrible things. Music for Relief actually sprung into existence as a result of the earthquakes that triggered the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean in 2004. We had actually just toured in Southeast Asia and within a few days of returning home, the earthquake and the tsunamis destroyed the coastlines of tens of thousands of miles and hundreds of thousands of people died and it was a horrible, horrible tragedy. And we felt like we needed to do something and give back.

We wanted to do something and give back to the communities of places we’d just been and we felt the connection. And so, we basically put a bunch of our money together and started an organization called, “Music for Relief.”  We got on the phone the next day together as a group with our partners in business and we formed Music for Relief and we responded. And crazy enough, we were the first music industry based relief organization in the world that responded. So, we wanted to continue providing relief for natural disasters around the world as a result and we wanted to create a place where the people that donated knew 100 percent of the money was going toward the cause that they specifically donated to. It wasn’t just going into a giant fund and being decided upon by a board member or board members that decided which disasters deserve how much money and which ones don’t. So, we decided to do that. We also wanted to encourage the rest of the music community, from bands to executives, to producers, to the fans, to get involved and, hopefully, make it a music community organization, not just a Linkin Park organization. And we’ve been doing it ever since and we’ve helped a lot of people and done pretty spectacular things and right now we’ve been working with the UN on some really important initiatives like Power The World and we’ve got some more coming up. So, please encourage your readers or listeners to go to and check out all the really great ways that they can either donate their time, money, or just talk about what’s happening in the world and do something cool to help somebody out.

Sean Chin: [Live In Limbo]:   So, you guys have been active since 1996 and how has your music evolved over the 18 years? And how has the foundation evolved in parallel?

Chester Bennington: I have no idea. I mean being in Linkin Park is like being in a new band every time we put a record out, you know? I think with the exception of Hybrid Theory and Meteora, every other album pretty much sounds different. And that’s a really cool thing. It’s fun to be able to just kind of walk in and go, “I want to make a country song today.” And like, everyone’s like, “Cool.” It’s so freeing to just be like “I want to write an R&B song,” or “I want to write a pop song,” or “I want to write a death metal song,” or “I want to blow in a jug and make a diddly.” I mean, we can do whatever we want. It’s really fun. And after we experiment we always find a way to bring it into the world of what Linkin Park is doing and make it sound like a Linkin Park song, and I think that’s exciting, but it’s really fun to be in the process that works that way.

Zachary Birdsong [Tullahoma News]: So, with that being said, when you guys go on tour, do you kind of feel pressured to provide fans with what they’ve come to expect from your live show? Or do you strive to go in a new direction?

Chester Bennington: I personally strive to go out and do stuff that people go, “I can’t do that.” Like, I want to sing harder; I want to run harder; I want to sweat harder; I want to be the person that’s the most exhausted by the time I’m done on stage. That’s what I want every night and that’s what my whole life purpose is for. I literally spend every waking moment of every day either doing one of two things. I’m either doing things with my kids or I’m preparing for a show. And, like, that’s all I care about. I want to go out and crush the stage every single night. And if I can’t do that, I have failed. I hope that answered your question.

Kinsey Haynes [WVUA-FM]: I have two questions. One’s for Austin and one’s for Chester. For Austin, I know someone touched on this earlier, but I want to know, like, what it’s actually like touring with Linkin Park since they’re one of your favorite bands. And then for Chester, I want to know, like, where the influence for the song, “War,” off the Hunting Party came from, because it’s very punk rock.

Austin Carlile: What is it like touring with Linkin Park? Wow! Super awesome. It’s great.

Chester Bennington: (overlapping) The most fun ever.

Austin Carlile: Yeah. It’s the most fun ever. We have a coffee meeting and there’s a yoga room. No. It’s great; it’s cool to see it on both sides of it. It’s cool to see it from a business aspect. Like Chester was talking about bands taking control of their own brand and then people that work for them being employees for the bands, the management. And it’s cool seeing the business side of it, just as well as the production side of it. And, you know, we get to the venues at, you know, 9:00AM, 10:00AM every morning and we wake up, walk in, half dressed, half asleep, tired day at the studio, or at the venue, then Linkin Park comes in. You know, they’re not there for sound check, a few hours before they play the show; they’re rock stars. They come in and go, “Oh, we want to do that.” We want to be able to come in and we want to get to a point where we cannot have to set up the venue for literally 13 hours all day wondering what we’re going to do, trying to figure out what to do in the middle of nowhere.

And it inspires us, and it makes us want to work harder and it makes us want to work and create and become artists that can support themselves, like Linkin Park does. And, you know, we were going out and playing in Germany and even played 12 shows in Germany on our last tour and every night, [there were] just thousands of people singing and screaming, and it’s unbelievable to me and it’s something that we want to set our sights to to do as a band. And we see Linkin Park as a band like ourselves. And just like Chester was saying, with each of his albums, he feels like he’s in a different band and feels like their songs change. That’s what we do as a band and I think we’re constantly evolving our sound and constantly evolving who we are as a band and who we want to be, because at the end of the day I don’t think with any kind of music you ever really know, because it’s always changing and you’re always creating as a musician. And just the fact to be able to take notes and to be on tour with a bunch of really awesome guys; it’s a blessing and it’s a great experience. It’s something I’ll definitely never forget.

Chester Bennington: You know, it’s interesting because in the same way, touring with Of Mice and Men, it’s inspiring to me because here are these guys, like you said, they’re at the venue 13 hours a day. They’re trying to figure out how to wash their clothes, to figure out what to do. They’re around each other all the time. They also have lots of decisions to make. These guys play something like fucking eight shows in a row, and I was like, “Dude, you’re going to destroy yourselves.”

It’s important to know, like, you don’t have to do that. You can actually, like, put a limit on that stuff so that you don’t have to wear yourself out. And you’ve got to think long-term. And these are the things that, like, I look and I go, “Wow! These guys actually are like really prepared to play eight shows in a row.” Like, that is bad ass. I don’t care who the fuck you are. That’s insane, and especially the shows these guys do. It’s not like you’re walking out  whisper singing and doing folk songs for 30 minutes. It’s, like, these guys are putting it out there. And so, it’s inspiring. It’s fun to be around a young band that loves playing music and will do anything, literally anything, to do it and show up every day with a smile on their face and go out every night and crush it and come up and play songs with us when they should be resting or whatever else they want to do. It’s fun to be around guys that are so hungry, because it makes me want – I want our crowd to love these guys so that they go play arenas. I want these guys to go play arenas; I want them to play stadiums; I want them to have the same success that we have, because it’s fun to watch them play. It’s fun to see somebody want it so bad. And it’s inspiring to me, you know? And it makes me go, “That’s what I do this for.”

I love seeing bands that make me want to be in a band. It’s fun to go out on the road with young people that when I watch them I go, “I want to be in a band.” And then I go, “Yes! I’m in one!” And it’s like “woohoo,” it gets me pumped up. And that’s what’s beautiful about music. I love my life. Mike and I were laughing today, like, my girls were like running through the house literally screaming their brains out and I’m going, “Get it out. Get it out. Come on,” and everyone in the house, like, there were people who may not be used to seeing that. It’s just kind of funny, living this lifestyle where you’re around creative people and you’re allowed to express yourself and it’s fun to be creative and be different and it’s a blessing. Every moment that we live is a blessing. It’s fun to see that transcend into younger generations. It’s fun to see my kids grow up in a home where they can express themselves and it’s fun to be able to see all these things happening, not only from within our own band, but within other bands that we tour with and it truly is a blessed life that we live being musicians.

Scott Yager [he Connecticut Sound Magazine]:  Hey, everybody. How’s everybody doing? This question is actually for Chester and for Tim. Now, you guys have such similar performance styles. Some might say you guys scream at equal volume at times. You guys remind me of each other. I know I got introduced to you guys at different points in my life. I assume you guys got introduced to each other at different points in your own lives. How would you describe the first time you heard Linkin Park, Tim, and try to describe the first time you heard Rise Against, Chester. And just what your thoughts were; what you thought about each other as performers before you met each other and now having worked with each other a bit.

Tim McIlrath: You want to go ahead, Chester?

Chester Bennington: I will because I remember it very specifically, exactly what I said the first time I heard Rise Against, and this is funny because they have actually, to my satisfaction, answered the question that I posed the very first time I heard Rise Against. The first time I heard Rise Against, it was, I believe, their very first single that they released ever; I can’t remember what it was, but it was an awesome song. And I remember I looked at my wife, because we were both cranking it, and I go, “Dude, this guy is bad ass, but I hope he can keep doing this for a long time,” because he sings so hard and is so bad ass. I was like, “Man, I don’t know how he does that.” Like, “How does he do that with his voice? That’s crazy!” I’m like trying to figure it out, but I just hope this guy can do this forever…like, that’ll be the test, you know? And here we are; they’re on their, what, seventh album and he’s probably getting better every album with his vocal chops. So, yeah, it’s pretty great. That’s exactly what I remember thinking the first time I heard Rise Against. Like, this is great; I hope this guy doesn’t blow his voice out.

Tim McIlrath: That’s actually super funny and, like, I’m not just saying this because he just said it, but it was kind of the exact same thing I thought when I first heard you guys. Seriously, I remember I heard you really early on because I had a friend who was just kind of, like, into all alternative music. And he was like, “Check these guys out. They’re going to be huge.” And it was before you guys were huge. And I’m like, “Well, what are they called?” He was, like, “Linkin Park.” And I’m from Chicago and Lincoln Park is a neighborhood, a popular neighborhood here. So, to me, I’m like, “Oh, they must be local.” “They must be from Lincoln Park,” and that was a big thing.

Chester Bennington: Yes.

Tim McIlrath: And then I heard it I thought the same thing; I was like, “How is that guy going to keep singing through his songs and not blow his voice out,” and this was almost, I think it was even before Rise Against started. And then I would go on, you know; we’d form our own band and people would ask you that question all the time, I’m sure, and they ask me the same question as well. Of course, the answer is, “Who the hell knows? Somehow we’re able to do this.” But –

Chester Bennington: (overlapping) That’s exactly what I say. I’m like, “I don’t know, dude. If I knew, I’d bottle it and sell it.”

Tim McIlratch: Right, exactly. Yeah, I have no clue. I just go out there and every day it still happens. I’m like, “All right. Cool. I’ve got another stake.”

Chester Bennington: I wake up in the morning and go, “Beep. Okay, it works. Thank you, God; let’s go.”

Tim McIlrath: Yeah. We’re going to live to fight another fight. Yeah. And I think I also stepped into your shoes for a minute last month at the KROQ shows and the San Francisco show where I was singing Bleed It Out with you. I got to sing one of your lines and I think that was when it was really solidified to me, like, “This guy’s a real singer.” Like, “He’s not up there just fucking around.” And kind of like what you just said, when you were talking about Austin not going out there and just whispering into a microphone on a bar stool. Like, we sing; and we do more than sing. We’re out there singing things that we probably should never have written in the first place; somehow we did it and we do it every night. And so, I walked away with kind of a whole new respect. Like, holy shit, because I’ve been asked to guest vocal with, like, some different bands and I’ll go out there and I’ll go, “This guy’s not singing.” Like, I can do that. And then going out there with you, I kind of walk in with the same attitude a little bit and then I’ll start to sing and it’s like, “Chester’s up there. He’s giving it.” I felt like, holy crap, man. Like this is, like he’s not fucking around here. And so, I was, I don’t know, I was happy to have that sort of ally in you.

Chester Bennington: Nice, nice. Thank you very much.

Tim McIlrath: Uh-huh.

David Stagg [HM Magazine]:  Hey, fellows. I hope you’re staying warm. Linkin Park is definitely known for their collaborations and those are an integral part of the punk rock ethic as well. It’s also a proud part of the younger up and coming scene that Of Mice and Men is part of. So, this question’s for anyone that’s allowed to answer. Are there any major collaborations planned we should look out for? Is there anything that you guys can see on the Hunting Party tour that we should let our fans know about?

Chester Bennington: Well, I mean, I don’t know. I just know that we always encourage other guys to come up and do songs with us. Austin’s come up and done Faint with us. Tim did Bleed It Out. And I know that we are going to open the invitation for those guys to come out whenever they want to and to do those songs with us, whenever they would; every night if they want to, once a week, only on Tuesdays. It doesn’t matter to me. We encourage that kind of stuff and, of course, I know that me, Mike, and Dave are going to be busting it together, so there’s probably going to be some interesting things happening where we have a little more time with the guys then we did in Europe. So I’m really good at writing songs about farts and pooping and dancing with no pants, to the dance with pants rhyme. They pretty much fit in any song you can write. So there’s always room for lots of writing as well. So, yeah, we’ll see what happens. It’s, like, it’s going to be like winter band camp, you know? It’s going to be fun; it’s going to be fun.

Tim McIlrath: I back that plan, yeah. We’re up for anything.

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