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Park Royal

Linkin Park is due to rock Stadium Merdeka tomorrow. IZUAN SHAH speaks exclusively to the band’s guitarist Brad Delson.

THE members of Linkin Park have grown up a lot since their debut album Hybrid Theory shook things up in the music scene three years ago. Linkin Park is a phenomenal force in the modern rock scene and platinum success from the recent Meteora album has pushed the band up the ranks of headlining acts around the world. But for this well-grounded bunch, the hard touring life seems to be a lot more fun and relaxed lately despite the constant media barrage and overwhelming fan adoration. In short, the Linkin Park boys haven’t forgotten to be nice blokes. The band plays Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow – Linkin Park’s only show in this region outside a tour of Australia/Japan/South Korea this month. Before a sold-out show in Sydney last Saturday, Brad Delson, the band’s jovial guitarist took a few minutes to chat over the phone from backstage. His bandmates – vocalists Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington, bassist Phoenix, drummer Rob Bourdon and turntablist DJ Joe Hahn – were already limbering up and raring to rock in Sydney. But the guitarist proved a complete sport, fielding questions on how big his band has become, those familiar headphones he wears onstage and in video clips and how much they look forward to playing Kuala Lumpur.

First of all, thank you for choosing Kuala Lumpur as your only show in South East Asia. You have no idea how many of your fans here are really treating this like a once in a lifetime event.
Brad Delson: It’s a once in a lifetime thing for us, too. We’re grateful for all the fans we’ve been able to have in this part of the world like Malaysia and Indonesia. We appreciate this amazing opportunity to finally play our first show for our fans there.

This year has been a big year for the band. You’re doing the full-blown world tour thing and your album’s selling well around the world. What is the general feeling in the band right now?
Brad Delson: The feeling in the band has been to not get carried away with whatever we’ve achieved in the past and to just continue reaching out to our fans with these new songs that we have. We’re really appreciative of everything that’s happened this year.

Meteora is an album you can listen to on the headphones as well as jump up and down to. It definitely affirms your reputation as a hardworking band in the studio as well. How much of this do you filter out into the live arena atmosphere?
Brad Delson: I’m really glad you recognise that (laughs). When we’re writing, we put a lot of thought on how it will come out onstage and the energy that the songs have. When we’re done with a record, Mike (Shinoda) puts headphones on and gives the album a last run-through just to check out how it sounds like in that context (on record), to make sure everything is just the way we want it to come through on that level.

Stadium Merdeka is a historic venue here and we’ve heard that you’re looking forward to playing in an outdoor venue as you’ve been doing a lot of indoor shows lately. Why is playing outdoors such a delicious prospect?
Brad Delson: Well actually, we’ve had experience in both indoor and outdoor venues, but what we’re really excited about is to play at the Merdeka Stadium, which is like the biggest and most historic stadium in Malaysia. We’re definitely not taking such an opportunity for granted and we’re super-excited to play our new songs for so many great people who will be there. To be able to play our first proper show in South East Asia at such a place is a big deal for us. It’s just surreal.

How does Chester, your singer, keep his voice in shape being on such a rigorous tour schedule and considering how hard he sings on the new songs?
Brad Delson: (Laughs) Ah, I don’t know how he does it. I don’t think even Chester even knows. People have asked him before, like, ‘What’s your secret?’ and he just never knows what to tell them. I guess he’s just been blessed with a powerful set (of vocals). He’s been doing all right throughout the tour so far and he’s always ready to go.

We understand that you’ve been given a set of rules for the concert that might compromise your full performance. Have you heard anything about that?
Brad Delson: Well, there was talk, I think, of having us tone down our show in KL but I feel that from our side, we know that fans generally know what our shows are like and I think they’ll expect us to play our normal show and carry ourselves the way we normally carry ourselves. We’ll definitely be giving our best and I just can’t wait to get there and give the fans a real show that represents us. We’ll definitely be bringing our ‘A’ game to Malaysia.

Can you tell us a bit about the upcoming Live In Texas CD/DVD? Why Texas?
Brad Delson: That was filmed when we were a part of the Summer Sanitarium Tour there earlier this year with Metallica, who a lot of us grew up with, and who is for me, personally, one of the reasons I got into music. And it’s a huge honour to have played on that tour. We had brought our sound crew and our full stage set-up there and we were able to film those performances. We’ll be releasing it on both DVD and CD format and I think it’s a tribute (to fans) and all of the dedication and hard work of our fans. We also do things like the LP Underground (Linkin Park worldwide street team), which is also another way for us to have that relationship with them. Playing live is the purest thing for me as a musician, to have that connection with your audience and have them sing your own songs back to you, and be able to capture the energy of that experience.

Lastly, people here would like to know why you always have those huge headphones on?
Brad Delson: “(Laughs) I’m sworn to secrecy. It will remain a mystery.”

Linkin Park’s concert tickets are priced RM127 for the field and RM102 and RM82 for the open terrace seats. Tickets are available at Hard Rock Cafe KL, Video Ezy outlets in Klang Valley, and Music Valley and Tower Records outlets nationwide. Browse my for more outlet details, or call the hotline (03-74919999). For merchandise details, call 03-27155555. Fans can also purchase tickets at the Stadium Merdeka booth from 11am. - October 14, 2003



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