Linkin Park is celebrating Hybrid Theory’s 20th anniversary with the ultimate trip down memory lane – including the release of the first ever demos Chester Bennington performed on.
The band – consisting of Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson, Rob Bourdon, and Joe Hahn – first formed Linkin Park in 1996, and are still together 24 years later.
But frontman Chester was a late addition to the band, and didn’t join until 1999 – with Hybrid Theory, their diamond-status debut album, being released in 2000.
Celebrating the time period that helped launch the band into rock juggernauts, Linkin Park are releasing a collection of demos and rarities of the time period – with one song being the first thing Chester ever recorded for them.
Speaking at the international press conference, Brad explained: ‘With Pictureboard, unless my memory’s super wrong, which is very possible… I think that was the first thing I heard Chester’s voice on.
‘I remember getting that, and being like, “Hey, what do you think of this guy? He just sent us this recording,” and, not like crying with joy… but almost! Being like, “wow, I don’t even know what that is”.
‘He’s so tiny and vulnerable on the verse, and then you can hear all those timbres and harmonics, like overtones in his voice on the heavy part.
‘To me it just blew my hat off my head, and then we’re like, “we got to meet this guy”.’
For Mike, another song has particular resonance for him, and he’s glad made the new collection.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, he explained: ‘We’ve released a song for this box set called She Couldn’t. There were no heavy distorted electric guitars. Our entire rhythm track was mostly sample.
‘In one song, like super, super early on in our relationship together with Chester, this was the type of song that would become part of our identity way down the line.
‘It was pointing the compass in the direction of like, 2010 or 2007. It was all in there. We just had to discover it.’
‘We were in a sense so protective of the identity of the band and what we were trying to do,’ Mike said of their first run-throughs with Chester.
‘We had this vision of what it was supposed to be, coming into focus, and it wasn’t there yet, but we really wanted to get it right.’
Chester, who died in 2017 at the age of 41, worked closely with Mike in the creation of his vocals, with his gravelly yet soft singing voice instantly recognisable.
‘When Chester came in, I remember we all couldn’t stop talking about how talented he was, and what a voice he had,’ he said.
‘When we were making demos together, and doing stuff for the first time, he was still discovering who he wanted to be as a vocalist as well.’
Now fans can see the progression of the band in the making of Hybrid Theory – with a deluxe edition of the album – which held songs including One Step Closer, In The End and Crawling – being released to mark the album’s anniversary.
It includes an 80-page book featuring previously unseen photographs, three DVDs of live shows and making of the album, and five CDs – one of which is dedicated exclusively to these rarely heard demos.
Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory 20th Anniversary Edition Super Deluxe Box Set is available October 9.
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