The name “Linkin Park” brings to mind a picture of a group of funky, tattooed boys, heavy metal music, and lyrics with deep meanings. A band that is widely known and loved by every hip-hop fan, Linkin Park re-invented hip-hop music and took it to a new level. Winner of many accolades and awards, Linkin Park has ruled the hearts of millions of people all over the world for years. But fame never came on a platter to them, they have hit numerous roadblocks and seen massive failures before becoming one of the world’s most loved band.
1. The band was established by three high school friends, Mike Shinoda, Rob Bourdon, and Brad Delson. They roped in Joe Hahn, Dave “Phoenix” Farrell, and Mark Wakefield later on. However, unsuccessful attempts and a standstill in the band’s activities resulted in Wakefield and Phoenix’s exit.
Three friends, Mike Shinoda, Rob Bourdon, and Brad Delson who went to Agoura High School in California turned to harness their musical interests after graduating. They established a band of their own named “Xero” along with Joe Hahn, Dave “Phoenix” Farrell, and Mark Wakefield. Though they managed to record a few songs and a demo tape, they could not strike a successful deal with any record label. Such sluggish activity led to the exit of band’s lead vocalist, Mark Wakefield. His exit was followed by Phoenix’s departure on a tour with another band named Tasty Snax and eventual exit from Linkin Park.(source)
2. Before rising to fame as “Linkin Park”, the band had changed its name twice. They began their journey with the name “Xero” and changed it to “Hybrid Theory” before adopting the name “Linkin Park.”
The band was not founded as “Linkin Park.” They started off with the name “Xero.” The reshuffling of band members due to the exit of a few old members and entry of new members also saw a name change from “Xero” to “Hybrid.” The band witnessed a lot of transformation in these early years which ended with its final name change to “Linkin Park.” In fact, the then lead vocalist, Chester Bennington. wanted to rename it as “Lincoln Park.” This was after a public park which he regularly passed in Santa Monica. To their dismay, the domain name with “Lincoln Park” was already in use and hence they changed it to “Linkin Park.”(1,2)
3. In their initial days, the band recorded and produced its songs in Mike Shinoda’s makeshift bedroom studio due to limited resources.
Freshly graduated, the boys did not have any fancy studio in which to work in the beginning. One of the founders, Mike Shinoda, had arranged for a temporary studio in his bedroom where the band used to practice. Though they had very limited resources at their disposal, they began producing and recording songs in this studio and came up with a demo tape of four songs.(source)
4. While in high school, Rob Bourdon and Brad Delson started a band named “Relative Degree” with Mark Wakefield. It was their dream to play one show at “The Roxy Theatre,” a West Hollywood club for upcoming bands.
During high school, Rob Bourdon, Brad Delson, Mark Wakefield, and a bass player from the group “Karma” set up a band named “Relative Degree.” Their genre was mainly funky hip hop and rap. The band cherished a dream of getting a chance to perform one show at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, California. The band wrote 12 songs and rehearsed for a year. Mike Shinoda, who was also their high school friend, never joined the band but did include some of his sample beats in their songs. Their dream came true on May 17, 1996, when they finally got a chance to perform at The Roxy. However, the band lost direction after that and disintegrated.(source)
5. During his childhood, Chester Bennington was a victim of sexual abuse. It began when he was around seven years of age and continued until the age of thirteen. Chester was scared to reveal this to anyone for the fear of being considered as a liar or gay.
Chester Bennington had a very tough childhood. At the age of seven, one of his older male friends started molesting and sexually abusing him. He was beaten up and was forced to do things. Chester wanted to seek help but his confidence was completely shattered and he hid this fact for the fear of being mocked by others. Chester revealed the abuser’s identity to his father eventually but decided to let things be when he came to know that the abuser was a victim himself. He quietly weathered the abuse till the age of thirteen. The abuse, along with his parents’ disturbed marriage, led to an emotional turmoil and he felt like killing people and running away. Chester turned to drawing pictures and writing songs to find some solace.(1,2)
6. Mike Shinoda and Mark Wakefield used to make joke songs, just for fun, on weekends during high school and college.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Mike Shinoda described his first interface with hip-hop music that began when he was around 13 years old. Till that time he was unaware of rock & roll and would listen to B. B. King songs. He would try to make some hip hop beats and rap. But most of his time would be spent on making joke songs on weekend with his friend Mark Wakefield. The trend of gangsta rap had just emerged that time and they made a lot of joke gangsta rap songs. They also ended up making a demo tape of such gangsta rap songs named “Pooch Pound” that included spoofs of big hip-hop records like Snoop Dogg and many others. They made a song called “North Coast Killa” to outperform their Canadian gangsta rivals.(1,2)
7. Before beginning his career as a professional musician, Chester Bennington used to work at Burger King.
Chester Bennington faced a lot of difficulties before becoming a professional musician. When he was 11, his parents underwent a divorce and he began to stay with his father. He took to drugs and heavy drinking to overcome the emotional disturbance in his life. When he was 17, he began staying with his mother. During that time, Chester started to work at a Burger King restaurant to earn a living.(source)
8. Rob Bourdon, the drummer of the band, began playing the drums after watching an Aerosmith concert.
Aerosmith was Rob Bourdon’s inspiration to begin playing drums. Rob’s mother, Patty, was a friend and an ex-dating partner of Aerosmith’s drummer, Joey Kramer. Due to this rapport, Rob could go backstage and see the whole band and production. Joey Kramer had also given a kick pedal to Rob once.(source)
9. Just before joining Linkin Park, Chester Bennington had almost decided to quit music due to failures and frustration. Even after joining the band, Bennington was homeless and used to live out of a car.
In 1996, Chester Bennington married Samantha Olit and the two stayed in Phoenix. Chester worked as an assistant at a digital-services firm and also pursued music through his band “Grey Daze.” However, things did not work out and he left the band in 1998. Frustration built up as he struggled to find another band, and he was on the verge of quitting music altogether. His wife supported him and stopped him from quitting. A year after this incident, Chester Bennington received a call from Jeff Blue, the Vice President of A&R at Zomba Music in Los Angeles, offering him to audition with “Xero.” After his successful entry in the band, Chester still struggled to make ends meet. When he came to L.A., he was homeless, slept on couches, borrowed from friends or relatives, and even secretly slept in his car.(source)
10. Chester Bennington was prone to accidents and injuries. From being bitten by a recluse spider to breaking his wrist, Chester has suffered a lot of injuries and accidents in his life.
Chester Bennington was an accident and injury-prone person. He suffered health issues during the making of their album “Meteora” and missed some of the recording sessions. In 2001, while on tour for the Ozzfest, Chester was bitten by a recluse spider in his hotel in Boston. In 2003, while shooting the song “Numb” in Prague, he underwent surgery due to severe abdominal pain and gastrointestinal issues. The same year, the band had to cancel their European tour owing to the viral infection caught by Bennington. In 2007, while performing at Melbourne, he tried to jump off the stage and suffered a wrist injury. In 2010, he suffered from ligament tear while playing basketball at Chuck E. Cheese. In 2011, he fell ill resulting in the canceling and rescheduling of band’s shows. He injured his ankle in 2015 while playing basketball and underwent another surgery.(1,2)