Just when I thought it was going to be a breeze of a day working at Q101-FM and was ready to coast into the weekend, Q101’s Music Director and afternoon host Tim Virgin came into the studio and simply said, “dude, Chester from Linkin Park is gonna call in about 15 minutes”.
“Fair enough” I thought, and figured the logical topics to talk to him about include the band’s upcoming show on Jan. 26th at the United Center, and the fact that the band’s current record ‘A Thousand Suns’ threw just about every fan and critic for a loop. This 4th album sounds little like the previous three, foregoing their signature crunchy guitars in favor of more (and darker) electronics and percussion.
Any time a successful band declares that they’re making a “concept album”, their entire fan base seems to instantly anticipate the effort cautiously. Such apprehension is well founded seeing that throughout rock history, concept albums have either been brilliant: ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, The Beach Boys ‘Pet Sounds’, ‘Tommy’ from The Who, David Bowie ‘Ziggy Stardust’, ‘The Wall’ from Pink Floyd… or, downright deplorable: Styx ‘Kilroy Was Here’, KISS ‘Music For The Elder’, Garth Brooks ‘The Life Of Chris Gaines’, or ‘Psychoderelict’ by–ironically, the same man who also wrote ‘Tommy’—Pete Townshend.
During our chat, front man Chester Bennington mentioned to me that they certainly didn’t aim for ‘A Thousand Suns’ to at all be a rock opera, and instead wanted it to be more like their ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ moment. The goal was a cohesive piece of music designed to be listened to all at once, in order (not on shuffle), from start to finish.
Interview with Chester Bennington of Linkin Park:
It would appear that the experiment worked, considering the album debuted at #1 in America and #2 in the UK, as well as hitting #1 in Canada and a handful of other countries. Seems that even the fans who were at first dissenters, eventually came around.
Thousands of Linkin Park faithful will have their first crack at hearing these songs when they play the United Center on Wednesday the 26th. Tickets are still available, and you can get them here.