Within one year Linkin Park went from a little-known Los Angeles group with no respect and no contract to the band with the best-selling album of 2001, Hybrid Theory. Their rap and metal sound was not new but, given a chance to shine under the Warner Bros, label, they found a huge following with their pop sensibilities and angry lyrics, making the term “nu-metal” mainstream. Their freshman effort yielded eight million sales in the United States alone and ten million worldwide, with 100,000 units still moving per week as of early 2003. Their second album, Meteora, sold 810,000 copies in one week and delivered two number-one hits within two months. With a hard-working attitude that is famous industry-wide, the group shows no signs of letting up.
Brad Delson, Mike Shinoda, and Rob Bourdon—the founders of Linkin Park—met in high school in Calabasas, a Los Angeles suburb. Their friendship developed from a love of music—especially the music of artists such as Nine Inch Nails and the Deftones—and admiration for musicians who mixed sounds that most people considered taboo. Aspiring to do the same, the trio started a band called Xero in 1996 that mixed rock, rap, and electronica. After high school they continued to make music together, crafting material that they still.
Group formed in Los Angeles, CA, c. 1999; released multiplatinum debut CD Hybrid Theory on Warner Bros, label, 2000; toured with Family Values and Projekt Revolution Tours with Cypress Hill, 2001; released second multiplatinum CD Reanimation, 2002; released third multiplatinum CD Meteora, 2003; toured with Mudvayne and Blindside on Projekt Revolution tour, 2003; toured with Metallica, Limp Bizkit and the Deftones on Summer Sanitarium Tour, 2003; contributed to Matrix Reloaded film soundtrack, 2003.
Awards: Grammy Award, Best Hard Rock Performance for “Crawling,” 2001; MTV Video Music Awards, Best Rock Video for “In the End,” 2002, and Best Rock Video for “Somewhere I Belong,” 2003; World Music Award, Best Selling Rock Group, 2003.
Play to this day. As songwriters they did well, but they lacked the manpower to perform as a band, so they kept their eyes open for new talent. While attending art school in Pasadena, Shinoda met Joseph Hahn and was impressed with his abilities and strong work ethic. He invited Hahn to join Xero as their deejay.
Began as Xero
The band members, who clearly shared the same enthusiasm for making music, worked hard on their material. This was no hobby—they were perfectionists who wanted each track tight both technically and creatively. When the Xero’s members felt their material was ready for the pros they went from label to label with the best demo tape they could muster and pushed hard for a contract. Although they were rejected over and over again, during this time they developed a stellar reputation on the Los Angeles club scene—packing them in even at the famous Whisky A Go Go. Performing in such high-stakes venues helped the band gel and made them even more determined to get their sound out.
Xero also used the Internet to promote their music, posting MP3s (compressed digital music files) on their website and asking listeners for their opinions. This helped them develop an international audience that was enthusiastic about their growing library of songs. Through a combination of touring and meeting fans, they recruited people to their website, intending to create a community of “LPUndergrounders.” Band members asked their online fans to spread the word, share their free MP3s, and buy their merchandise. It worked: by the time the band released their first album in 2000, they had 1,000 fans in New York City alone and hundreds more in many major European cities.