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Linkin Park alters sound of annual pet Projekt

The forecast for the Linkin Park-headlined Projekt Revolution show Wednesday at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel?

Less rap and more rock. In other words, no major hip-hop artists are on this year's edition of the annual tour, now in its fifth year.

"There was enthusiasm for the hip-hop artists, but there really wasn't a lot of overall excitement, and I personally felt like the show kind of went into a lull in some cases, and I really wanted this to be a really exciting, energy-filled (show)," said Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington during a conference call. "I want the band to be able to feed off of the crowd. I don't want to have to warm them back up after a (set)."

Since nu-metalers Linkin Park launched the Projekt Revolution tour in 2002, there always has been a strong hip-hop presence with such spitters as Cypress Hill, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, M.O.P. and Ghostface previously onboard. This year, only the little-known Styles of Beyond represent hip-hop on the bill.

"It's tough to have a really kicking rock band come out and then have The Roots come out on stage afterwards," Bennington said. "It can flow if they're the right mix, but I think through trial and error we've realized that we want to put on a really energetic show, and sometimes people don't really want to have to think too much when they go to a concert."

The guys of Linkin Park didn't think too much about hip-hop when recording their latest album, the Rick Rubin-produced "Minutes to Midnight." The No. 1 album, released in May, eschews the rap-rock formula used by the band on such previous hit albums as "Hybrid Theory," "Reanimation" (which featured hip-hop remixes), "Meteora" and "Collision Course" (with Jay-Z), in favor of a more straight-ahead rock sound. The band's rapper, Mike Shinoda, provides few rhymes in favor of more singing this time around.

So, who exactly is Linkin Park?

"We kind of want to be a band that's kind of ambiguous, that's our goal," Bennington said. "We want it to be difficult for people to try to (pigeonhole) us into something. I think that as our career develops and keeps growing, we'll hopefully be a band that's known for writing good music. I think we're a rock band, but rock music has typically been a kind of music that is known for taking different styles of music and mixing them together, blues and jazz."

Linkin Park was born in Agoura Hills, Calif. — although Bennington is from Phoenix — in the mid-'90s but hit stardom with the 2000 smash "Hybrid Theory." To this point, the band had been known for its edgy merging of rock and rap with a penchant for working with cred-heavy hip-hop musicians. So far, Linkin Park has sold more than 35 million records and has a philanthropic streak, raising funds for the victims the 2004 South Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Charley and Katrina.

On this year's Project Revolution, $1 of each ticket goes to the American Forests group, which helps people improve the environment with trees and forests.

So if there aren't any major hip-hop artists on this tour, then just who is onboard? Post-emo's Taking Back Sunday and Newark's own My Chemical Romance, among others.

"I've been a fan of My Chemical Romance for a long time," Bennington said. "I've seen them live a few times and they always impressed me, and I couldn't wait to have a chance to take them on the road with us."

By Chris Jordan

Asbury Park Press - August 24, 2007



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