Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park – Does Rock’n’Roll Kill Brain Cells?

Testing musicians’ memories after a lifetime of abuse

Which of your songs featured in the film Dracula 2000?
“No idea.”
Wrong. It was ‘One Step Closer’

Where did Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington work before he became a musician?
“I know of a lot of different places he worked, and one of them was a coffee shop. I think he worked in McDonald’s too. No, hang on, it was Burger King.”
Correct. He worked for the fast-food chain in 1996

Where was your very first show?
“The Whisky a Go Go in LA.”
“I remember that gig. I was wearing the most ridiculous thing ever. I had this white beanie hat on with blue goggles and white gloves, I think because it made me feel more like a performer and not the normal dude that I knew I was. So I had to get into costume in order to get psyched up and get into character. We were awful, just horrible but we survived.”

What colour was guitarist Brad Delson’s hair in high school?
“If it wasn’t black it was blond.”
Wrong. It was purple
“Well, it wasn’t for very long.”

Complete these lyrics: “She said, ‘Some days I feel like shit…’”
“‘…Some days I wanna quit and just be normal for a bit’.”
Correct. Taken from the track ‘Where’d You Go’, the fourth single from Mike’s side-project Fort Minor’s 2005 debut album, ‘The Rising Tied’

What position did your debut, ‘Hybrid Theory’, reach in the UK Album Chart in 2000?
“I have no idea. Was it Number 10?”
Wrong. It was Number 4

Who else was on the bill at Linkin Park’s first Projekt Revolution Tour in 2002?
“I don’t remember. Can I look it up? I kept thinking Korn played, but they came later.”
Wrong. It was Cypress Hill, Adema and DJ Z-Trip

Who ran across the stage wearing a pair of giant green Incredible Hulk gloves and a pink hat as a prank at one of your gigs in 2003?Correct
“Lars was hilarious, we had no idea he was going to do that at the time. That came after we went onstage for a prank at one of their shows during their Summer Sanitarium Tour during the same year. Nobody pranks Metallica, but we went on and made light of one of their heaviest songs, I think it was ‘Master Of Puppets’. We sat in the middle of the stage with a picnic and blanket and Chester was skateboarding. It was really funny and it was a huge honour to do it because their security never normally let anyone through. But we had a good relationship with those guys.”

Linkin Park

What type of spider gave Chester a nasty bite during Ozzfest in 2001?
“It was a recluse spider.”
“They apparently have a very dangerous bite. He was very sick, and it was weird because the bite spread all over his skin. You could see the grey poison all over his body. The scariest thing was he didn’t even know about the bite because he was asleep in his bunk when it happened. It bit him on his belt line. Oh God, it was so gross.”
In some cases the wounds inflicted by recluse spiders are so serious they require skin grafts

What did Chester jokingly say Linkin Park should be called before the band settled on a name?
“That would have to be 10pm Stocker. He thought of that name because I lived on a street called Stocker Street and, if we tried to record after 10pm, my neighbour would literally kick the wall connected to my bedroom. We were in the bedroom screaming our brains out and the guy next door and his wife were trying to sleep on the other side of the wall.”
Correct. Before Chester arrived, the band also called themselves Xero before changing it to Hybrid Theory and, finally, Linkin Park, a homage to Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park

Total Score: 6/10
“That’s not bad I suppose. Some of those questions I really had no idea. I was expecting worse.”

This article originally appeared in the October 30 issue of NME

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