When Linkin Park’s “Living Things” debuted as No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last month, it marked the fifth time the band has achieved the top spot since 2000, the only band to do so this century.
Lead singer Chester Bennington is proud of the distinction and credits the band’s diehard fans for giving them such a “cool statistic to have associated with us.”
“I’ve always felt that we just made the best record that we could make at the time. It really is a testament to how enthusiastic our fan base is about what we do in the studio,” he said. “It’s not really a goal that we set out for as a band. I think that the true test of if what we’ve done is good or not is obviously how well the songs hold up over time.”
Comprised of Mike Shinoda, Rob Bourdon, Joe Hahn, Brad Delson, Dave Farrell and Bennington, Linkin Park has managed to stay intact over the last 15 years with a stable lineup.
“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,” Bennington said. “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.”
On Aug. 11, Linkin Park will head to Jiffy Lube Live for the first night of their upcoming world tour.
“This is kind of like our first offering here in the States of new music, and so the good thing that I think is we’ve got a really great response from our fans and from critics on this record,” Bennington said. “All the songs have a lot of really great energy and I think that’s going to lend itself really well to the live show.”
While the singer admits that the first show of a tour shouldn’t be any different than the last day of the tour, he does still feel some pre-tour jitters.
“The first show is always the most nerve-wracking for me personally, just because, you know, my throat isn’t like a guitar that gets put away in a nice velvety case and hidden from the outside world until I’m needed again,” he said. “Performing is the most important thing for me, and so every show has to have the same intensity and the same level of technical skill.”
As nice as all those No. 1 records are, for Bennington, Linkin Park is all about playing live and performing in front of their fans.
“When you go play a show, it’s like the best thing in the world, like you want to go out and play your hardest and put your heart into it. For me, I get all of my fulfillment as a musician in playing the music live,” he said. “Writing the song and having people listen to it is great, but if I never got to perform the songs that people liked, I don’t even know if I would be in a band, honestly.”
Now, Linkin Park isn’t a band that you sit on a chair in an arena to watch play. If you haven’t experienced one of their concerts before, be prepared for something crazy.
“No one wants to come to a Linkin Park show and stand there and look at the band and listen to beautiful music,” Bennington said. “People want that, but they also want to be kicked in the face and they want to run into each other and they want to jump up and down and sing and have a really great, high-energy time.”
All together, the band has sold more than 50 million albums, has two Grammys and was named by MTV as the sixth greatest band of the music video era.
“I think for us, we’ve kind of had the advantage to cross a bunch of different styles of music and bring them together, and we worked very hard from ‘Minutes to Midnight’ on to change what we felt was the perception of what Linkin Park is,” Bennington said. “We appreciate all the accolades, but we’re focused more on putting the live show together and where we’re going to be in six months, which videos to make and which ones not to make and all that good stuff.”
Looking ahead, there’s plenty of touring upcoming, followed by another return to the studio.
“We’re planning on going to South Africa for the first time, which I’m very excited about,” he said. “We’re planning on going to South America, going back to Europe, going to Asia, and doing another U.S. tour next year. After that, we’ll go straight back into the studio and make another record.”
Don’t be surprised if that album becomes the sixth to top the charts, as the band’s popularity is showing no signs of dying down.