Linkin Park‘s seminal album Hybrid Theory celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. To commemorate the event, the band held a virtual press conference where they gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the record, sharing stories about their newfound fame, and providing more information about the upcoming reissue of Hybrid Theory. GENRE IS DEAD! was lucky enough to attend and here are some of our favorite tidbits from the event.
What Mike Shinoda remembered the most about his 2004 appearance on MTV’s PUNK’D:
Shinoda: “…After we approved the show for airing, I remembered thinking, for some reason, I was embarrassed about my car. I had this Acura SUV and I was in the process of getting an even nicer car. Looking back at it, the car I had before that was a 1988 Honda Integra, it was this cheap used car and I didn’t know what a famous rockstar was supposed to drive! We were in these weird situations where our lives were being put in front of people, our privacy was being invaded and it was really confusing.”
The previously unreleased “Pictureboard” was one of the first demos recorded with Chester Bennington:
Shinoda: “The fans actually gave the song another name, “In Yourself.” And I didn’t know what it was. We played the instrumental of “Pictureboard” at one of our shows in 2000 or 2001. And the fans heard it and was like that’s something new. We don’t know what that is. So, they just named it and called it “In Yourself.” So, that was buried in the Linkin Park archives for years…Brad was saying ‘Pictureboard’ might be the first demo that Chester ever cut with the band. [The song] was written by us before Chester and then when he tried out for the band, he demoed that song.”
How Hybrid Theory was the original name of the band:
Brad Delson: “The band’s name was Hybrid Theory and someone had a notion that we should change it. We probably should’ve been like ‘F you’ but we were like all right. And Chester’s like ‘how about Linkin Park?’ Okay, what does that mean? He’s like ‘I don’t know.’ We’re like ‘sounds cool.’ So, Hybrid Theory was actually the band. And the notion of combining these styles of music, everything that we had made in all these different permutations kind of led up to getting to make this album. It’s like being in the movies; getting the record deal, going to the studio and then all of a sudden it’s like oh wow! This is real.”
What it was like looking back on old concert footage and photos when putting together the box set:
Shinoda: “When it started coming together, this project felt real. Rob [Bourdon’s] parents were contributors to the book. They went into their attic and found a box of stuff. There’s people that have worked with the band for years that have contributed images and stuff. One of the things I love about that book is everybody in the band contributed stories, so along with the pictures of all these little moments in time as we’re making the album, those pictures and stories got curated and presented. It’s a fun scrapbook in a sense.”
Delson: “I think the thing that hit me [watching the concert footage] was wow I’m really young! I seem like an adult, I don’t look that different, hopefully, and just doing the math. I’m a young kid, basically, maybe an adult by some stretch, in this kind of whirlwind. How did we even navigate it? That’s what was wild to me. I feel like I’d be able to navigate it now, maybe, because I’ve gone through all that and I have very specific life skills and odd ones, but at the time it was all new to us. So, it was just kind of like holding on.”
How “In the End” went through several changes before its release:
Delson: “We used to rehearse at this incredible, not luxurious, rehearsal space in Hollywood called Hollywood Rehearsal. At the time it was very sketchy and in one of his boldest displays of commitment, Mike basically locked himself in the rehearsal space at night. He stayed up all night and played us this thing. I remember it as a seminal early version of ‘In the End’ and it has this verse about the skylight and I think you were writing about the skylight in that room. And I think that’s the version that’s included in this package.”
Shinoda: “I don’t remember if those are the exact words in the demo or if it was an iteration after that because ‘In the End’ was one of the songs that got a few different lyrical treatments. The thing that I know we walked out of that room with is the chord changes, the chorus, the bridge, and the percussion track. it was like here’s basically an indication of what Rob should play. And the verse was always the thing that wasn’t right yet. At the time I loved it, but we all talked about it and the guys were like I think you could do better. I’m sure at first I was like NO but after a while I was like, yeah you’re probably right.”
Delson: “I think why it’s important to put out all this music is there were moments on these early demos that stand on their own. Mike’s verse on this demo is legit.”
If you want to chat with Linkin Park, you’ll have a chance this week. The band has announced a fan Q+A and a livestream of previously unreleased concert footage recorded in Las Vegas in 2002 for Friday, October 9th. The event starts 5 PM BST/12 PM EST on watch.linkinpark.com. Get tickets here. A second showing will also be held 12 hours after the premiere. A portion of proceeds from the stream will be donated to Crew Nation and the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA).
The 20th-anniversary edition of Hybrid Theory comes out on October 24th.