Linkin Park & Incubus Interview!August 1st, 2012 at 10:42 am by brandyzapata under CW Star, The Dayton's CW
So one of my favorite bands, Linkin Park, is headlining the Honda Civic Tour this year along with the very talented Incubus. One of their stops will be in Cincinnati on August 22nd, so not too far at all! Before the tour kicks off in August lead vocalists Chester Bennington and Brandon Boyd of Linkin Park and Incubus, respectively, agreed to be a part of a telephone conference where people could ask them questions. I was able to take part in the interview and I wanted to share some highlights from the whole conference call!
Press: Past Honda Civic Tours have been more pop-oriented, such as “”Blink 182, “My Chemical Romance.” What can fans expect from this year’s Honda Civic Tour?
Chester Bennington: Well, I think that for us, I mean, really, I think the most special thing about this tour is the fact that you have two headlining bands singing together on one bill, which typically can be kind of hard to do, specifically, because usually when you’re in a position to headline a tour of this kind, you know, there’s only room for one headlining band usually. So the fact that Incubus gets to come out and perform a full headlining set and Soul Production and Linkin Park gets to come out and perform our full headlining set with personal production and everything is kind of special. But also, we kind of don’t really look at what the other artists have done on these tours and kind of go, OK, what do we think we should do. You know, we’re just going to go out and do what our fans want from us which is, you know, play songs that they’re familiar with and catch up on some on the new music and become familiar with that. So really I think from Linkin Park’s standpoint, we’re just going to come out and put on the highest-energy show we can. And incorporate as much of the new music as possible. And I’m expecting that Incubus will probably do the same.
Brandon Boyd: I think that, I just think it’s a good moment and a great opportunity to have kind of just a, you know, two big giant rock & roll bands sharing a stage, I just think that’s going to be better than either of us would do in our own show, it’s like there’s, it’s two headlining sets, including Mute Mass [Sounds Like] which is going to be a good time as well. So it’s almost like a minifestival, which is amazing. And Incubus has done a Honda Civic-sponsored tour before. It may have been one of Honda Civic’s first ones, I’m not sure, but that was like, over 10 years ago. And I remember it being really really great. And I think the listeners and friends and fans and family who came out to those shows had a really great experience, too. So I know that we as a band are really looking forward to doing it again this year. And personally, this will be the end of our touring cycle for our newest record, and so we’re looking forward to just making some music and I’m very much looking forward to seeing Linkin Park with my own eyes for the first time since… I mean, I saw you guys, I think, once at a radio show, like over 10 years ago as well. So I think it’s going to be fun to be able to see you guys every night.
Press: Hey, you guys are committed to green energy on the Honda Civic tour. Do either of you wear your political affiliations on your sleeve, especially in this pivotal presidential election year?
Chester Bennington: Well, I know that within Linkin Park I’ve honestly never heard anyone talk about who they want to vote for, for example. I think it’s something that we kind of take very personally. It’s so funny, I was watching some comedy show the other day and they were making fun of how Americans won’t talk about who they’re going to vote for.
It’s such a secretive process. Whereas if you go overseas or something people are talking about who they’re going to vote for and who they don’t like all the time. It’s no big deal. But here in the United States it’s a little different for us. It’s such a private and personal moment to kind of choose who you think is going to be the best leader. And the last thing you want to do is influence somebody else to vote based on what they think of you as opposed to what they think of the politician they’re voting for.
So we definitely don’t really kind of brag about who we’re going to vote for, but we do talk about the things that are important to us. And the things that are very important to us at this point are really making sure that our tours are as environmentally friendly as possible, and also giving back to our local community as well as the world community that has been so good to us. So those are the things that matter to us. And in terms of the green movement and other things, one of the reasons why we’re so keen on that is because (Indiscernible) and the tie between natural disasters and what we’re doing as a society to the planet. So if we can counterbalance some things or offset some things that we’re doing just naturally through the way that we (Indiscernible) things on a daily basis, if we can make that more efficient and less wasteful, then we can provide families with renewable energy sources, so they don’t have to burn garbage, they don’t have to burn dung.
Those things actually go a really long way in terms of helping with the recovery process of a natural disaster. So for example if a community is deforesting the areas around their villages, and let’s say a hurricane hits, OK, now all of a sudden not only did the wind destroy the homes that so many people are living in, but it’s also now created flooding and mudslides and all of that kind of stuff.
Those things become very difficult and very costly and time-consuming in terms of the recovery project. So if we can encourage people to use the solar-powered lightbulbs, for example, that we’re giving out, via Power the World, instead of chopping down trees, when that hurricane does hit, it’s amazing how roots hold the soil together. [laughs]
So those are the kind of things that we’re interested in. I don’t necessarily know that either of the future presidential candidates are really thinking that way. So that’s where it’s kind of like I’m not sure exactly how political our green movement is.
Press: More of a human movement–
Chester Bennington: Yes, it’s more of a purpose-driven green movement in terms of just wanting to be more clean and efficient with our tours so we leave less of a footprint when we’re out there. But the big picture really is the tie between, you know, the effect that it causes in terms of the natural disasters that hit. So if we plant more trees and put more oxygen in the atmosphere, hopefully the storm systems aren’t so tough every year.
If we, you know, could help people have clean water and have access to renewable energy sources then they can focus on agriculture and they can focus on getting jobs and stuff and making money as opposed to hunting down water. Or moving a village because it’s been destroyed and there’s mudslides and all sorts of stuff happening. So hopefully that answers your question.
Press: Brandon, do you have a follow-up to that?
Brandon Boyd: Chester makes a lot of wonderful points, you know, and, um, I think that any type of meaningful movement and/or meaningful change that’s going to occur if you were to measure it based on who people were voting for and/or who even gets elected, it’s like watching water boil. It’s infuriating to try and hang anything worthwhile or legitimate upon that process even though it is a valuable process and an essential one. My point is, I truly believe that most of the meaningful change if not all, is going to come from the ground. And I think it’s wonderful that Linkin Park has the Music for Relief Foundation, and is able to make waves and make moves on the ground there.
We’ve been trying very hard and very joyfully with the Make Your Cell [Sounds Like] Foundation for many years to do the same thing, both with environmental causes, but also with humanitarian efforts, to inspire people as opposed to, hang our hat on a politician or, you know, stuff like that. It’s a, like I said it’s an infuriating, fascinating but infuriating process.
So I think that we’re just in a very blessed position to be able to have even, you know, a remote influence on the ground here. I think that’s where the most meaningful change is coming from.
Press: I’m just wondering if on the tour will you be playing in any of each other’s sets? Will there be any guest appearances by either of you or any members of the band? Or do you have anything like that planned?
Brandon Boyd: At the moment there’s nothing planned in the traditional sense but it really only takes a couple of days of making music and being on tour with new friends to become inspired by each other and each other’s mutual distinctions and idiosyncrasies and stuff and then for that desire to share a little moments to arise so I have a sneaking suspicion that some of us will be sneaking onstage in each other’s sets and I hope that you guys are cool with that. [Laughing] We have a tendency to sneak onstage with our friends’ events once in awhile. We took this band out with us years ago, Sparta, I don’t know if you guys remember Sparta. Amazing band. Kind of from the ashes of At the Drive-in. We became friends with them very quickly and started playing. We went and saw the movie Dodgeball when it came out in the movie theatres. Both bands together went and saw this film. We were laughing so hard at the movie that we started playing dodge ball in the empty arenas after the shows were over, and became so like enthusiastic about it that we started going band against band. And the drummer, Tony, of Sparta, ended up breaking his thumb from one heroic move, and rendered himself incapable of playing. And so then Kenny and Jose (Indiscernible) from our band learned all of the songs in Sparta’s set and played for like 10 days. They took turns being the drummer of Sparta and then Tony got well enough to play by the very last show in LA and played again. It ended up being kind of a fortuitous occasion. I’m sure it was really hard for Tony, having to sit out, but it brought us closer to the band. I’m not suggesting that someone in Linkin Park should go injured and one of us has to sit in, I’m just saying music is a communal experience and it’s one to share. As well as to sit back and revere when your friends and their bands are in a moment. There are moments to not disturb but there are definitely moments when it’s fun to disturb your friends. So probably. That’s the answer to the question. It’s a long answer.
Press: I know you’re both West Coast guys. But I know what you like most about coming to perform on the East Coast. Boston, New York, Philly. I know you have a stop in Camden coming up.
Chester Bennington: Well, I think that as the tour goes on the more comfortable the bands are going to be. And there’s a kind of groove that we get into. And starting off on the East Coast and really getting into that groove is going to be great. I think that the vibe changes as you shift through the United States. To like when you go through Europe or something. You know, a show that you play for people in Kansas. Or somewhere in Philly is going to be different from playing in Los Angeles. It’s just a different vibe. For me, I really enjoy playing the East Coast. [pause]
Brandon Boyd: Every place that you play, that’s one of the interesting things about being on tour, especially when you play one of these large places, some of the diversity gets lost in these venues because a lot of them are built by the same architects and owned by the same people and you can get a little bit samey in the vibe. And what really distinguishes them is the people that come and where you are and where the people are from. And that’s when you really get a sense of the distinctions between the places and that’s essentially what makes it really fun, is to travel to all the different places. LA is notorious for having a very jaded crowd, as is New York. But I think that I’ve never been to a Linkin Park concert in LA or New York, but I know for the Incubus shows, the Los Angeles audience as well as the New York audience don’t seem jaded to me at all. They seem as enthusiastic. Just in a different way. You know. You have a lot more musicians and people who are in bands and people who know people who are in bands. So it’s maybe harder to impress them but they still have their way of appreciating things and we’ve had some of our greatest shows. Some of our best markets are both of those places. But I personally love hearing the, sometimes you can catch accents in the crowds, people in between songs are yelling like “You suck” or “I love you, man” or on the East Coast it’s “Play that fucking song, man.” You know? There’s more… And the East Coast has got a little bit more grit to it, perhaps, which I find amazing. And on the West Coast you just smell pot a little bit more. A bit more thick in the air. So, yeah. Chester, are you back?
Chester Bennington: Well, that’s because the weed on the East Coast smells like cigarettes. [laughs] I returned. I’m just having a magical moment over here in Burbank. So anyways, yeah, sorry for dropping out there. I was just saying that for me, playing the East Coast is really, there are other subtle differences that makes every crowd a little different. I just am used to playing the East Coast primarily in winter, so I never really get to enjoy, like, being out in Boston because usually I’m inside because there’s like a two-inch glass sheet of ice on the building outside. And it’s raining at the same time. And it’s like “How is there a blizzard and it’s raining?” So it’ll be nice to actually be able to get out and enjoy the weather and you know, go out, and we’re already talking about, I was talking with some of the guys in my crew the other day and they’re like “We should do something like get a band on band soccer game.” Because we always play, we play our label every time we go to Europe. So we always end up playing our label in Germany and playing a bunch of reporters and stuff from different publications in a soccer match and we always beat them. And so, uh, I was like, “That’s a great idea. We should totally do that.” So I think as the tour goes on, there are going to be a lot of opportunities for band and crew to get together and kind of get to know each other more. And hopefully by the time we make it to the West Coast, the thing that will be the biggest difference is, somewhere along the line, in our travels from one place to the other, sometimes it comes up that we might want to do something special for our fans. I don’t know when or where that’s going to happen, but it feels like a lot of people are kind of wondering what to expect. Perhaps on an inspirational level where the band gets together and plays a song together or something happens where we can give our fans something a little extra. But that’s going to come out of a moment where, you know the best moments that we capture that we’ve found in our career are the ones that come out of a spontaneous idea in a really cool moment. And so, uh, we’re yet to have that moment yet. But I think that somewhere along the line, something special will happen somewhere that our fans will be talking about.
Brandon Boyd: I know a river in Ohio that we can go to and go camping and jump off of a rope swing and stuff. <—————-[If you are going to the concert in Cincinnati keep an eye out for this crazy event]
Chester Bennington: That’d be great. Let’s do it. I’m down.
Press: There are a lot of bands nowadays who are switching members, losing members…But throughout the years you guys have essentially kept the core members. So how do you all stand each other after such a long time, because it’s got to be kind of tough.
Brandon Boyd: It’s definitely, you know… I have a, it’s an old saying, but it’s a saying that rings true for me all the time. Being in a band is hard. You are essentially traveling in very small steel tubes, confined steel tubes with family members for extended periods of time. Kind of like inhuman periods of time. You love your mom, but how much flight time do you want to spend with her? You know, how long do you want to sit in the car with your dad and your mom and your brothers, you know what I mean? There’s that, but there’s also the understanding that it’s family, and it’s very much a familial thing. That even though there are times when they hurt your feelings or they might get on your nerves, essentially the majority of your experience with them is rooted in love. So as long as we can hold on to that sort of transcendent notion, everything usually is OK. And it’s OK to be angry at your family members sometime, and it’s OK for them to get on your nerves. The best thing to do, I think, is just to remember who you are. And understand the difference between a need to express frustrations and the difference between that and potentially your own ego, and little moments when your ego flares up for usually ridiculous reasons. Which usually, uh, I know for men, I speak for myself and for the guys in my band, them being my family, most of the times we ever have problems are when someone has underslept or underfed. So as long as we have enough sleep and enough to eat, everyone’s usually hunky-dory. And that’s the honest-to-God truth. Just get enough food and enough to eat, or enough sleep, and you’ll be fine. What do you think, Chester?
Chester Bennington: I think it’s funny. But that is actually the truth. I mean, we all have the, I think that within Linkin Park we all have similar aspects of our personality that we share with each other. We all are very driven. We all like to work really hard. We all like to do whatever it takes and be involved in every aspect of what we do. But it takes all of us. And I think that when we learned very early on, like there’s a few guys in the studio working on every song, so it’s a whole record, when you look at the business side of things, or you look at like the marketing side of things, the artistic side of things, and what each member brings collectively to the whole, is worth far more than what… Together, the band is worth far more than each of us is as an individual. And I think that that’s something we learned about our band very early. It’s not just about one guy or two guys or whatever, three guys. It’s about all six of us. And so, having six creative people who are totally different personality-wise around each other all the time, we have to be very realistic about what we expect from each other. And it is a family thing. And once you cross that line of being a friend and then it turns into, “Well, now we’re family,” I mean, life gets real, really fast. You know? I mean you’re now exposing yourself. I mean there’s the dating phase, which is like, “Oh, you’re so awesome,” and everybody is so great, and then when you move in together it’s like, “Oh shit. Who am I actually, like, getting myself involved with?” You know, it’s like you get to see all the dirty parts and you get to be around all the unsavory things about each other’s personalities and so we just basically treat each other with respect. We give each other the space that we need. And I think that being in my band is an example of the most functional relationship I’ve ever had in my life. But I’ve been in band scenarios where it’s just chaos. There’s no leadership and there’s too much ego and there’s too much pride and there’s too much opinion. All those things are very important, so I think what makes it work for my band, for Linkin Park is that, you know, we focus on things that are important for the band. And we don’t really focus on what’s the most important thing for me. It’s really about what’s the most important thing for us. And I think that’s something that we carry not only in our professional world but we try to carry into our personal lives as well. We share both of those things together.