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Hybrid Origins: A Look Back At The Early Days

 

 

Last year Hybrid Theory turned 20 years old. Linkin Park released a brand new edition of the album featuring b-sides, previously unreleased demos and a book containing unseen pictures and commentaries by band members. During promotion, they also shared many new stories about the origins of the band and recording process of the album that were unknown even to hardcore fans.

 

We at LPLive decided to post a wrap up of all the shared information, complemented by brand new interviews conducted by our staff* with people involved with the band in this period, also serving as a complement to Jeff Blue’s recently released book “One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park.”

 

This project was started in early 2016 by our staff member Lestat as a follow-up to his articles about Chester Bennington’s origins and eventually evolved into a collaborative LPLive project. If you haven’t yet, make sure to read his lengthy articles about Sean Dowdell And His Friends? and Grey Daze to learn more about Chester’s history since we won’t be repeating any of that information here.

 

This story begins with Mike Shinoda...

 

 

Mike Shinoda took piano lessons for several years before he became interested in music production, something his music teacher Eileen couldn’t help him with. He left, purchased a sampler with the help of Styles of Beyond producer Vin Skully and started creating mashups of his favorite artists and making beats out of old-school rock & roll and blues songs. In no time he was rapping over these beats and, with his school friend Mark Wakefield, recorded parodies of popular hip hop artists resulting in a demo titled Pooch Pound. An old schoolmate posted the following in the Avid Pro Audio Community:

 

I went to agoura high school with some of linkin park (with mike shinoda and brad delson anyway) I don't know them personally ---(I kinda knew their brothers) Mike was involved in the student gov't and used to freestyle on the PA during lunch on fridays when they would play on campus radio. Brad had a few bands before the ones you mentioned...I saw one called "Prick", they opened for hoobustank who was also from agoura (I spelled it correct---back then it was hoobustank not hoobastank--legal battle of some kind changed it) who was already very well known. This almost 10 years ago though. I moved away, heard linkin park on the radio and friend later told me who was in it.

 

Not much is known about The Pricks, Brad Delson’s first band, but the show in question took place in June 1995 at Douglas Robb's parents' backyard. It was actually Hoobastank’s very first live performance as mentioned a few times by Robb over the years. This year, in an interview with Rick Rubin for the Broken Record podcast, Mike Shinoda confirmed Mark Wakefield (Delson’s neighbour) was in the band as well: "They were both in several bands before Xero. Mark and Brad were in one called The Pricks, they were this awesome rap-metal band. I loved their stuff." The unauthorized documentary "Conspiracy Theory" details how Mike Giangreco, a famous Hollywood booking agent, got a hold of their demo tape through Hoobustank (actual spelling at the time) and gave Brad Delson jobs as a bouncer at The Roxy Theatre and Whisky A Go Go and as a waiter at his restaurant. Giangreco would allow Delson to borrow his equipment whenever he needed to play live.

 

Delson wasn't the only one who played in other bands before Linkin Park. In school, Rob Bourdon was in a band called No Clue (later Physical Evidence) that played covers of Nirvana, Suicidal Tendencies and Bad Religion before they started creating original songs. Not much is known about their activities.

 

In highschool, his parents made him join the Calabasas High School Jazz Band. Members of another local band called Karma were in the audience of Bourdon’s first performance with the band and asked him to audition for drums. He didn’t get the job, but through their bass player he met Brad Delson and Mark Wakefield and the four of them started a new group named Relative Degree. Their sound was described in the LPU 1 newsletter as "rock with a funky incorporation of hip hop and rap elements." They wrote 12 songs with samples provided by Mike Shinoda and played a show at The Roxy on May 17, 1996 before losing focus and parting ways.

 

Mike used to crash into their rehearsals and became friends with Brad. When Mike and Mark started experimenting in creating original songs, Brad provided guitars for them. They sent a demo tape to an indie label/publishing company called Immortal Records whose mailing address was included in one of the CDs they owned and received a phone call from their A&R representative Paul Pontius who encouraged them to put a band together. Brad was the first to join the group. They then recruited Rob, whose skills always impressed Mike; Brad’s college roommate Dave “Phoenix” Farrell, with whom he had played small jazz events; and Mike’s college friend Joe Hahn came in as soon as they started rehearsing. In the Broken Record podcast, Mike explained they eventually sent more demos to the label, but Pontius wasn’t interested in them anymore.

 

Brad was studying communications at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) when he attended a class taught by Jeff Blue, who had just signed Korn and Limp Bizkit. Jeff was working with a young woman named Macy Gray and stated he was looking for an intern to help build her career. Brad went to Jeff’s office the next day and made a good enough impression to grant him the job.

 

There have been some conflicting reports from Mike and Joe regarding Xero’s first demo. While Mike claims the tape had 4 tracks, Joe says it only had 3. Jeff Blue provides a possible explanation in his book. He describes the first Xero demo Brad brought to him with Fuse, an untitled track, Stick And Move and Reading My Eyes. "The second song, with no title, incorporated a lot of hip hop. I loved the beat, the rapping was old school, and it had a simplistic guitar line with tasty harmonics that was instantly memorable. The song transitioned into an Alice In Chains-style chorus followed by a Rage Against the Machine-style guitar breakdown, with a hard-edged bridge that really impressed me." The artwork was a Xerox photo of what appeared to be a mountain and the inside featured a faded photo of four band members and a close-up photo of Mike Shinoda. This is possibly the same tape they had previously sent to Immortal Records. On the occasion, Brad explained the band didn’t like the second song and were writing a brand new track called Rhinestone (early version of Forgotten). This would be the first known Xero song not credited solely to Shinoda/Wakefield.

 

A second demo with the famous baby cover and Rhinestone replacing the untitled track came right after and Brad announced Xero would be making their live debut at the Whisky a Go Go on November 14, 1997. Rob Bourdon explained to Crazewire in 2001 that the band actually had to pay to get in the bill that night. Jeff Blue’s notes on the show were "Vocals off key. Awkward stage presence. Decent songs. Didn't connect with the audience." Despite that, he thought Xero had potential for greatness and offered them a publishing deal at Zomba.

 

Contrary to popular belief, Bourdon told Crazewire the band didn’t accept the deal right away. In fact, Blue gave Brad a proposal for a publishing deal on December 4th and his answer was that they’d think about it. Mark and Brad were convinced Jeff was the right person to help them, but Mike and the others disagreed. They shopped it to other managers for 9 months in hopes they would find a better deal.

 

Xero Backside Records

Xero at Backside Records Burbank | Photo from the store

 

Meanwhile, the "Conspiracy Theory" documentary mentions the band spent a lot of time in local record stores searching for new releases and showcasing their musical talents. This is supported by a photo Mike Shinoda posted on his Instagram back in October of Xero playing inside Backside Records Burbank. With a little research, we found out the store actually had a second photo of this performance on display. The date reads: June 24, 1998. Thanks to a flyer of a June 20th show at The Roxy Theatre provided to us by Anna Shinoda in 2013, we know they were performing under the name Xero 818 in that period. “When we started the band we were called Xero, and then there were some other Xeros so we called ourselves Xero 818, like when you can’t get the Gmail account you want, [so] you just put a number… That’s what bands were doing at the time,” Brad explained to Kerrang! last year. 818 was one of the area codes for the San Fernando Valley area from where the group originated.

 

When the band decided to take the Zomba deal, Jeff hired his surfing buddy, Danny Hayes to represent them as their attorney. They all (except for Phoenix) signed the deal at the law offices of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in Los Angeles. This is the origin of the famous Xero band photos shared a long time ago on Jeff Blue’s MySpace page and Mike Shinoda’s blog. To celebrate, the band played a Zomba Signing Party at the Hollywood Athletic Club on October 10, 1998.

 

Xero Danny Jeff

Xero with Danny Hayes and Jeff Blue

 

Their first demo recording session for Zomba was on August 25, 1998 at Paramount Recording Studios (Studio C specifically) with producer Darryl Swann. Mark was uncomfortable doing vocals and made everyone except Mike, Brad and Darryl leave the room. All tracks were recorded to tape. Soon after, in September or early October, Mike and Joe brought Jeff Blue a copy of Rapology 14 with Fiends.

 

 

Lee Cadena

Published: June 9, 2021

 

Lee Cadena was the national rap editor at Urban Network Magazine and creator of the “Rapology” CD series, promoting new and upcoming hip-hop artists. Through a division of his company called LCM that offered artist management and development services, he consulted Xero in 1998. He was one of the early supporters of the group and, as we recently learned, the voice on High Voltage and on the "Lee Interlude" - as listed on 2001 setlists. We believe he is also the person talking in the background of the rehearsal video of Esaul (early version of A Place For My Head named after Mark Wakefield's roommate) from Frat Party At The Pankake Festival.

 

 

Before Fiends, two other Xero tracks were featured on his Rapology series: Closing and Drop. Both likely recorded in Mike’s 4-track cassette recorder as they were heavily based on samples, whereas Fiends was a full band performance and represented an improvement in quality.

 

Unfortunately, Cadena passed away at 55 years old on July 16, 2018 at home due to kidney failure after a long stay at UCLA Hospital. We briefly spoke to Cadena in 2017 and this is what he had to say about the band:

 

Joseph used to work for me and I had Mike stopping by my office and I had him do some graphics for me
I helped joseph hone his skills by getting him with some Beat Junkies
I helped them get themselves together as a group (Xero) and would introduce them at places like The Whiskey A Go-Go. The Troubadour and The Mint here in L.A.

 

Rapology Covers

Rapology covers by Joe Hahn and Mike Shinoda

 

The graphics by Mike Shinoda were used on Rapology 12, 13, 14 and Sixteen. In addition, he provided illustrations for Frane's Fantastic Boatride by DJ Frane (see on Bandcamp) and The Underground Tapes by Saukrates (see on Spotify). Joe Hahn contributed original artwork for the cover of Rapology 11, which depicts himself on his turntables with logos of Xero and Styles Of Beyond on display.

 

 

Lis Lewis

Published: June 9, 2021

 

In Jeff Blue’s book, he says a lot of negative criticism Xero received from record labels were centered on Mark Wakefield’s live vocals being off key. Over the years, band members have talked about Wakefield having a really bad stage fright to the point he got physically ill before taking the stage.

 

The book describes a Halloween 1998 show the band played dressed as characters from the movie Dead Presidents at a fraternity in Long Beach. Danny Goodwin, VP of A&R at Virgin Records, was impressed with the band’s first professionally recorded demo and went to the show decided on signing Xero, but became wary of doing so once he witnessed Wakefield’s performance. Danny Heyes and Blue both agreed something should be done about it.

 

A fact not mentioned in Jeff’s book is that a vocal coach named Lis Lewis was hired in an attempt to remedy this situation. Part of the professionalism in this business is to keep all work with vocalists as private as possible, but she was kind enough to share a little information for this article.

 

I did work with Linkin Park a long time ago when they were Xero and before they were signed, I think in 1999. If I remember correctly Mark Wakefield, Xero’s singer, was sent to me by Jeff Blue. I worked with him privately for a while and then they had a Roxy show for record labels (it might have been the Whiskey) where I did a vocal warm up backstage with Mike and Mark and I think there might have been one more person but there my memory ends. Mark went on to manage Taproot who I also worked with. I hope that helps.

 

The show she is referring to took place at the Whisky a Go Go on December 10, 1998. It was a public showcase with over 30 industry scouts from major labels in the audience. The show went terribly bad, with the band receiving 7 official rejections in the next 36 hours and Mark Wakefield being fired from the band.

 

 

TJ Demonte

Published: May 30, 2021

 

Limp Bizkit played a series of club dates in October 1997 before joining Primus for a national tour. The last show took place at Webster Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut on October 22nd, 1997 and was the famous concert that started the relationship between Fred Durst and Staind. According to Wikipedia, “Staind acquired a concert slot through Aaron's cousin Justin Cantor.” However, this is not the case.

 

Directly from Hartford, CT, we talked to TJ Demonte, lead singer of Sugarmilk, the other band on the bill that night.

 

Originally named Crumb, Sugarmilk had played successful shows around New England / Boston and New York City and played regularly with The Toxic Field Mice and Staind. This means TJ and his bandmates were already acquainted with Staind at that point. "Don’t know where that Justin Cantor reference comes from, but that is complete nonsense I / we invited Staind to play the Limp Bizkit show." This can be verified by numerous interviews where Mike Mushok, lead guitarist for Staind, talks about that night.

 

Aaron and TJ

Aaron Lewis and TJ Demonte

 

Upon seeing Staind’s cover for their album Tormented, which pictured a bloody dagger punched through a bible while a Barbie hung upside down on a crucifix with nails protruding from her plastic frame, Durst, a very religious person, became irate and concluded that Staind was a group of Satanists and unsuccessfully tried to throw them off the bill. Despite his efforts, Staind took the stage and Fred Durst watched the show from the side of the stage convinced he would be proven right. But Staind were no Satanists and the cover was supposed to depict a normal person going through a difficult time, something reflected in the album’s lyrics. Durst, who was working on forming his own production company, was so impressed with the performance that he signed the band to Flip Records.

 

On the other hand, things didn’t go so well for Sugarmilk. A show review from The Hartford Courant reads: "Technical problems led to long delays between the acts, killing whatever momentum might have been gained." In addition, the band had recently replaced their bass player and guitarist and the new lineup delivered what they described as a lackluster performance. These lineup changes resulted in the demise of the band.

 

Fast forward a little over a year, Staind was in the studio with Fred Durst (who had worked with Jeff Blue) and TJ got word of a new band looking for a singer. "Aaron looked out for me when they ran into Xero, at the studio cutting demos. The next thing I know am in touch with Jeff and Mike.... etc..."

 

TJ explained he was going to be the very first audition for the band, on Aaron Lewis's recommendation, following Mark Wakefield's departure. "We helped get Staind signed opening for Limp Bizkit, there is a good story there. So aArron returned the favor when Xero wanted a singer. At the time they were more rap metal with Mike as the forefront the the singer was the refrain or chorus only."

 

After Aaron got the demo sent to his house, TJ had to record a video for Jeff Blue and the band talking about himself. "I signed an NDA and they asked for a video of me and sent these early tracks." Jeff and his guys were looking to fit an exact physical appearance of a singer. He couldn’t be too skinny or fat, had to look decent, among other things. In his opinion, this was similar to how Backstreet Boys were assembled.

 

"I have versions of the tunes when the rapping was the focus of the tune and the singing was the refrain or hook only..... I have my tracking vocals with the audition tape, as well as my demo that got me a Next Day Air Fedex package from Jeff Blue, with lyrics, this demo and the other studio tracks partially finished along with Mike's 4-track ideas" The songs on the tape were rough and he didn’t think the demo was particularly great; especially for Mark’s vocals, but there was something special about Mike’s rapping.

 

Xero Instrumentals

Xero audition tape: 01. Rhinestone 02. Pictureboard 03. Esaul

 

"I received two tapes ones with Mark vocals and one instrumentals." Since TJ isn't familiar with Linkin Park's body of work, at first he couldn't tell us exactly which songs were on the tapes. "I am fairly certain I have "Pictureboard" on my demo tape as this should be a 1:1 for the Chester tape." Once Pictureboard was released with Chester on vocals as part of the 20th anniversary edition of Hybrid Theory, he confirmed the presence of the song. "Pictureboard has no vocals it is a a little faster BPM instumental with slight arrangement changes and more of the sample." He also confirmed Esaul and Rhinestone being on the “Xero Instrumentals” - title handwritten by Mike Shinoda himself - cassette tape, but it’s unknown whether the vocal tracks were the same or not. The vocal tracks were sent for reference.

 

An original song named Fall Again and his version of Esaul were sent to the band and they wanted him to fly out immediately to audition in person; but he never did. "The said they spent their advance on gear and could not afford 900 plane ticket for me togo to California, after agreeing to pay, they then said I would have to find a motel. I got nervous that this was a scam, and made the worst decision of my life."

 

Following the discovery of an instrumental version of Rhinestone on his SoundCloud page in September, several people have contacted TJ trying to purchase the audition tape, but he turned down every offer. "I never attempted to leak or detract from any of these tracks, I had NO idea that there was so much interest around this tune..... The original XERO tape was in a case, in my closet for years, the song on Soundcloud was there to substantiate a one-off crazy story ....." The song had actually been uploaded in 2015 but managed to go unnoticed for 5 years! It has since been removed.

 

TJ was eventually recruited by former Sugarmilk bandmates Steve Cronin and Matt Raftery to front a band called No December. They toured regionally throughout the Northeast and received some local radio airplay before calling it quits. So what is TJ doing now? "I am still a vocalist, musician, videographer and digital artist," he told us.

 

Watch our interview with TJ Demonte below and check out his work on:
SoundCloud | Instagram | YouTube | Vimeo

 

 

 

Kirk Harper

Published: June 13, 2021

 

Kirk Harper was the singer for a band native to Arizona called Oil. Kirk was approached by Jeff Blue after one of his shows in early 1999 and asked to cut vocals for a Xero audition. Funny enough, his band had played shows with Grey Daze in 1996 and 1997, meaning he actually knew the vocalist who ultimately landed the job.

 

Xero Danny Jeff

Oil's first promo photo circa 1996 | Reproduction: OilMusicAZ

 

He and Oil’s drummer, Clancy McCarthy, went on to work on George Lynch’s infamous rap metal album Smoke This. The band was completed with Californian musician Gabe Rosales (from a death metal band called Gooch) on bass. The album was released later that year by Sacred Groove Records under the condition that the label could call it a Lynch Mob album - no label would have released it otherwise. The musical style drew negative reactions from longtime fans of Lynch's band and resulted in the breakup of the line-up, whose members were demoralized following a short tour.

 

We've reached out to Kirk and he agreed to share his story with Xero and answer a few subsequent questions.

 

I would be honored to help out with some information for you on your story, i have an immense and profound respect for my friends from grey daze! The story is fairly simple, ironic and beautifully tragic for me haha but a story none the less, when LP still went by the name Xero they were being handled by Jeff Blue from Zomba Music. Jeff happened to be in Phoenix for New Year's Eve and hanging at a bar my band Oil was headlining that night, side note during this time me and my drummer Clancy were recording the Lynch Mob smoke this record so things were pretty crazy at the time. Long story short after the show Jeff approached me outside and said he Really liked what he saw in my vocals and stage performance etc and thoght i would be perfect for this band he was working with from LA so he sent me a disk with 4 or 5 tunes and no vocals and asked if i could cut vocal tracks on the tunes and send them back to him asap of course i said sure and a buddy of mine at saltmine studios help me cut the tracks and do a quick mix so we could get it back to jeff and the guys. I got a call from Jeff telling me that he and all the people in their office were freaking out that they All Loved the songs and my performance on the cd so Jeff said i needed to talk to Mike and gave me Shinoda's number and we spoke seemed a very nice guy and apparently gave alot of heed to Jeff and what Jeff said about how it was going down so i thought i had the gig, i was really excited because inside i KNEW these songs were special and different then all the other nu metal out at the time so next step was head to LA and meet the guys and do some jamming but Jeff wanted to talk a bit more with me just to gleen an understanding on what everyone expected and how things worked etc etc and i made my fatal mistake and asked a business question, i guess i shouldn't have but i did. I asked " so Jeff, your company has been working with these guys for a while now yes"? Yeah he says. I say so "how much money have you guys invested so far"? Jeff says none of my business and how dare i ask i kinda laughed and said to him im perfectly ok with getting fucked on this deal i just need to how fucked im getting? I laughed he did not and told me that they had spoken with Chester from Grey Daze and i said Chester is awesome and the rest is history.

 

Q: Would love to hear your take on the songs. Do you still have them?

 

No i don't have a copy of the tunes with my vocals and honestly i never thought i needed to burn a copy for posterity sake because i figured id be recording them all for real so a bit of short-sightedness on my part!! I got to hear them again when Hybrid was released and the were different but i thought very good!! To be candid the band would probably not been as wildly successful with me as the singer so it would be foolish of me to think otherwise. Im happy for my friend Chester, hes been nothing short of outstanding and he is such a great person who truly deserves it!! Best of luck to you brother and if you need anything else let me know and maybe send me a link so i can read your stuff!!

 

Q: I assume you don't have the tape they sent you as well anymore, right? Any chance you would remember what songs were on that tape? It's actually one of the biggest unsolved questions among LP fans. Hey, if you have any stories involving Grey Daze or flyers for Oil/Grey Daze shows I would be happy to have any of it as well.

 

Let me do some looking!!

 

Q: So you have told me that you first met Jeff Blue outside a club Oil was playing a New Year’s Eve gig in. Then he sent you a CD, you’ve quickly cut demos at Saltmine and sent them to Jeff. You’ve got a very positive feedback and was in contact with them until the unfortunate conversation and Jeff told you the band had spoken with Chester. Story goes that Chester got in touch with Jeff/Xero around his birthday in March, 1999, so I guess the NYE gig Oil were playing was on December 31st, 1998 - January 1st, 1999. But do you think it was really three months between the gig and the day it fell apart? Or does it seem like it all happened in a matter of days/weeks?

 

Oh no it was literally about a 3 week process
The week after the show I did my recording at Saltmine the next week Mike Shinoda and I spoke several times and had nice conversations and the next Jeff was saying they were passing on me and looked to reach out to Chester

 

Q: Just curious, did you ever have a chance to discuss it with Chester?

 

Honestly I didn’t. It was a whirlwind and I felt like Chester was destined for that gig! When Jeff asked me if I knew how to get in touch with Chester I said of course but he could find him for himself because I truly felt like the deal was good but due to the resistance on Jeff’s part to discussion of what kind of investment he had with the band(kids at that time) felt sketchy to me and I didn’t want play a role in something that would or could hurt my friend… could it have been my own feelings sure little did we know that things would work out so well at that time. In retrospect it may have been a double edged sword but a legend was born! Thank you again man and ALL THE BEST TO YOU!!

 

Kirk Harper still makes music in the roots, rock, funk, americana, alternative and country genres. Follow his work on:
Facebook | Bandcamp | SoundCloud

 

 

Kyle Christner

Published: July 4, 2021

 

Phoenix went to Mission Viejo High School where he met Mark Fiore (Linkin Park’s current videographer), Eric Pfeiffer and Mark Keller. Together they started a Christian ska punk band named Tasty Snax that got signed to Screaming Giant Records in late 1997. Following Wakefield’s departure from Xero, Phoenix also left the group to go out on tour with Tasty Snax in promotion of their debut album Run Joseph Run.

 

With both Mark and Phoenix gone, the band had two problems at hand: finding a new singer and finding a new bass player. This period in early 1999 was likely when Andrew Lanoie auditioned for Xero. One of the tracks used in his audition process was the version of Pictureboard with Mark Wakefield on vocals that has been floating around since April 2019. Jeff Blue recalls in his book that this was one of the band’s favorite songs and made all the way to the Hybrid Theory sessions. It was only left out of the album by his suggestion.

 

 

Speaking for the Investing for Freedom podcast last year, Lanoie said they got together two or three times before the band decided to go with the other candidate for the spot. That’s when Kyle Christner comes into the picture. Recommended by Jeff Blue’s personal assistant, Ariana Murray, he became Xero’s bass player at the time when the band was still auditioning singers. “Once I learned the few songs that they had already, I was just basically playing the bass on their song. And we were auditioning singers and I was like ‘so am I your bass player now?’ Like ‘yeah totally.’ I'm like ‘okay’”

 

Chester Bennington auditioned for Xero in March 1999. Following a videotaped rehearsal with his friends from Size 5 and a studio recording produced by Ghery Fimbres - for more details, read our Grey Daze Story - he flew to Los Angeles to meet the band.

 

They were unsure about Chester at first and kept him waiting for a decision for 5 weeks while still auditioning other singers. “There were a couple of other singers that they were auditioning and I was like ‘okay, you bastards need to hire Chester because this dude can sing and they're like ‘yeah, but he's got this like greasy, weird curly hairdo and he doesn't know how to dress.’ I'm like ‘you can fix those things,’” Kyle explained. Meanwhile, Jeff Blue states he secretly shopped Chester's audition tape to other labels, getting interest from Jive Records, and used that to convince them to keep Chester.

 

In the Broken Record podcast, Mike Shinoda explained their concerns went beyond Chester’s physical appearance. For one, his personality was a lot different than the rest of the band member's. They wanted to get to know him first as a person before they could commit to him. Chester was also involved with drugs while Rob Bourdon was completely straight edge, so they didn't know if that would be an issue. In the original LP Underground newsletter from 2001, Rob revealed he struggled with drugs prior to joining Xero.

 

Once Chester officially joined the band in late April/early May 1999, they changed their name to Hybrid Theory, a name suggested by Joe Hahn, because of the negative impact their final showcase with Mark had on the Xero name - Jeff Blue told Genre Is Dead. “Their first singer couldn't sing at all. He was terrible,” Kyle adds.

 

This is actually a strategy Jeff Blue had used with Macy Gray when Brad Delson was assisting him developing her. Since most industry executives had passed on her before, they sent out new demos under the name Mushroom to trick people into giving her another chance. This worked out well and got her signed to Epic Records.

 

With the new name and new lineup, Hybrid Theory started making new music and playing showcases. Kyle tried to bring more complex bass lines to the band, more along the lines of Tool, Pantera, Primus or Mr. Bungle. “I'm a laid-back easy-going type guy who liked to play really weird nut job music. They wanted to play the most mainstream thing they could possibly do. And in retrospect I just went ‘No, this isn't really what I wanna do. So why am I trying so hard?’ And it was basically just because I wanted to help them succeed. Then they did, and they did well. So what are you going to do?”

 

Songs like Over To Me (Blue), Could Have Been, Part Of Me, Turn To Grey and Ashes were written with him; while new versions of Xero songs such as Rhinestone, Esaul, Pictureboard, Slip, Step Up and Carousel were also recorded with the new lineup.

 

Speaking of Could Have Been, which came out in the Hybrid Theory 20th anniversary box set last year, he explained, “I just thought that ‘here's a great idea. I'll just do a slap bass solo thing at the end and just write it out and we can fade it out, whenever.’” He continued, “when I heard the demo, it's not even on there. It just cut.” In his book, Jeff Blue does mention the solo in the first demo CD he heard with Chester, in the first week of May 1999, so it might have been removed in a later demo. The bass solo was restored for the box set.

 

In May 1999, they entered the studio with producer Mudrock to record the famous Hybrid Theory EP, a demo CD that was passed around to new fans and record companies. "Most of it, we did in Shinoda's bedroom because he had Pro Tools or something. I think it's Pro Tools on his computer in his bedroom. So we would do the stuff in the studio, the main tracks. And then, because it's too expensive to just do all the overdubs and everything, we would do all the overdubs in Shinoda's bedroom." Their studio time was used to sample Rob Bourdon's hits from his drum kit. "It was mainly just getting the drum tracks down because he [Mike] lived in an apartment in Glendale and so we couldn't really record drums in an apartment in Glendale." Rob doesn't play live on the final songs, his drum sounds were actually programmed.

 

Once Kyle heard the final result, he realized the band had completely replaced his bass parts. “I was trying to impart these melodies that would be mimicked or enhanced the vocals. That's really what I was trying to do and then I hear the damn thing and I'm like ‘this is basically the exact same thing as the guitar part and I definitely did not do that.’” Nevertheless, Kyle is credited on the original 1999 issue of the EP. His name has since been omitted in the 2001 fan club reissue and the vinyl issue included in last year’s Hybrid Theory box set. He is, however, credited for additional bass on the Forgotten Demos disc.

 

Following many negative comparisons to emerging nu metal acts such as Disturbed, Korn and Limp Bizkit; Hybrid Theory played a showcase for Joe McEwen (head of A&R at Warner) on August 09, 1999 and finally got interest from the label. According to Jeff’s book, this was their 44th showcase. Kyle told us most of them took place at S.I.R. Rehearsal Studios. “It was always to like 8 people.”

 

The band had already been rejected by Red Ant, Capricorn, Epitaph, DV8, Lava, Radioactive, DreamWorks, Elektra, Atlantic, Warner (3 times), Reprise, Arista, RCA, Interscope, Flawless, Universal, Universal/Republic, Capitol (3 times), Virgin, Disney, Hollywood Records, A&M, MCA, Island/Def Jam, Mercury, American Recordings and Columbia.

 

Although they had been publicly using the Hybrid Theory name since May, the band’s legal name was still Xero. The proposal Danny Hayes and Jeff Blue wrote to Warner actually said "Xero."

 

After turning down a job offer from Sony/Epic, Jeff Blue finally took an A&R job at Warner Bros. Records and signed the band around October. Before signing however, the band decided to fire Kyle Christner. “I've never been told why I was fired, they just said ‘we don't want you in the band anymore.’”

 

Despite everything, he says there’s no resentment on his part. “I don't have any ill will for those bastards but it's nice to be able to tell my side of the story, you know?”

 

Below you’ll find a transcript as well as the audio of our lengthy conversation over the phone with Kyle regarding this period of the band. It starts with a beat from the unreleased track Ashes and at the end of the video you’ll hear a short clip recorded by Mike Shinoda of Kyle playing Jerry Was a Race Car Driver by Primus. Both clips appeared online in June 2019 after Linkin Park sold some old equipment online. The photo was taken by Kyle’s friend Suzy at the Los Angeles subway, as he told Linkin Park Argentina in 2011. Pictures from that photoshoot (without Kyle) were actually used on hybridtheory.com.

 

 

LPLive: so with it being the 20th anniversary of hybrid theory this year i know it was actually in october but we're just kind of doing kind of a year-end wrap-up of the whole thing because the band's been doing stuff all year so um just wanted to talk to you because i know you played with them for about a year or so before the album came out so just had a few questions

 

Kyle: it was about nine or ten months something like that

 

LPLive: okay um so how did you first hear about the band because they weren't exactly like a big deal at the time that you got on board with them

 

Kyle: no they uh they had a publishing deal with zomba music okay and my friend ariana worked uh as she was a pa for uh jeff blue who was working at zomba music who basically got the band their publishing deal and subsequently moved to warner brothers and got them signed to warner brothers

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: and so uh she told me like i don't know if you'd be interested but uh this band is probably going to be signed and um so if you want to do this it's not really your your thing like your style but it's you know it's a gig and i was like well you know i'll check it out

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: so that's basically how it happened

 

LPLive: okay yeah you know i just i actually read jeff's book that he just put out and i remember an ariana being mentioned as one of the people he worked with so she's actually in there i don't know have you read his book yet

 

Kyle: no i haven't

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: i have not

 

LPLive: cool yeah you get mentioned in there a couple times um

 

Kyle: oh really?

 

LPLive: yeah um so what was your audition process like did you just kind of i can't imagine there were a lot of people really gunning for that spot at the time

 

Kyle: no there was no one else

 

LPLive: okay so it was pretty much just hey the only

 

Kyle: in fact i i had to ask them like so do i have the gig or not because i was just basically you're auditioning singer

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: like once i i learned the the few songs that they had already i i was just basically playing the bass on their song

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: and um and we were auditioning singers and i was like so am i your bass player now like yeah totally i'm like okay

 

LPLive: So it was that informal?

 

Kyle: It was that informal, totally.

 

LPLive: okay that's actually the next thing i was going to ask because i'm this the whole timeline of this has always been a little unclear because like they were auditioning bass players and singers at almost the same time so you were there before chester got there

 

Kyle: yeah i know i'm the one who told them to hire Chester

 

LPLive: really

 

Kyle: They didn’t wanna hire him. Yeah.

 

LPLive: there's um yes in jeff's book i guess there was something about like he he came in and auditioned and they didn't want to commit to it and like they were still rehearsing with him while also auditioning other singers

 

Kyle: um yeah yeah there were a couple of other singers that they were auditioning and i was like okay you bastards need to hire chester because this is like this dude can sing he is you know

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: and they're like yeah but you know he's got this like greasy weird curly hairdo and like he doesn't know how to dress i'm like you can fix those things

 

LPLive: yeah he really didn't fit in

 

Kyle: You can’t fix his voice. Yeah. You can’t fix his voice. His voice is good. He is a solid solid pick.

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: and um and so they were like okay we're hire chester and then i was like well so am i in the band as well

 

LPLive: so they pretty much solidified that lineup like simultaneously then

 

Kyle: yeah pretty much uh right around the same time

 

LPLive: okay i and i've got that as roughly like spring of 99 maybe like well march would have been when chester did his audition tape because his birthday so probably like april

 

Kyle: yeah i think it was 99 and then yeah and then they they fired me in uh i think it was october september or october of 2000 and then signed with warner brothers like the next month

 

LPLive: gotcha okay yeah that's what i got here was october

 

Kyle: that kind of sucked

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: because i've done all this work with them and then they're like yeah no

 

LPLive: so yeah what i've got here is that right around the same time they were talking about signing the deal with warner was when they parted ways with you

 

Kyle: yep yeah

 

LPLive: okay so you weren't in on like the whole um the label deal or anything where you were gone by then

 

Kyle: no yeah no i was i i did all the showcases and everything with them uh leading up to that

 

LPLive: sure yeah um

 

Kyle: i just didn't get a a you know a line on the contract with my name on it

 

LPLive: you didn't get to sign the paperwork

 

Kyle: yeah that's basically what it boils down here

 

LPLive: okay yeah so um obviously like were you there that first day that chester walked in and like met everybody

 

Kyle: yeah

 

LPLive: yeah okay so was your impression of him pretty much like the same as like well this guy doesn't match his voice like at all

 

Kyle: yeah but i don't i don't uh you know i i'm a weird ass individual myself so um you know he came in wearing like a shiny shirt and his hair was all like you know twisted into little ringlets and shit you know and uh he came in and he just just blew like he just went crazy like and i was like and they were like yeah i don't know he doesn't really seem to fit in i'm like as far as he can sing

 

LPLive: yeah it's crazy that like they wouldn't have been so sure of him at the time but like i know they were also like just coming off of a whole bad thing with their last showcase with their first singer like went really bad

 

Kyle: yeah so yeah their first singer couldn't sing at all he was terrible

 

LPLive: yeah and it was kind of one of those awkward things where like he was for their friend but he couldn't cut it so

 

Kyle: right right exactly yeah

 

LPLive: yeah um

 

Kyle: and then and then their bass player went to to you know start a christian rock band and you know i'm just like

 

LPLive: and then he came back right around

 

Kyle: what do you people want to do you know like that's the way that was basically my attitude coming in what do you want to do do you want this band to succeed you're gonna have to make some sacrifices and you're gonna have to realize that just because you went to high school together doesn't mean that you're you know gonna have uh everybody in the band anymore because some of these people don't want to be in this band that's that's commercially successful and so you know that was the thing and you know and then when chester came in I was awed you hire chester he's awesome he's got a great voice

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: you know and they were reluctant and i was like dude what the hell's the matter with them and that's probably part of the reason that i got fired

 

LPLive: really

 

Kyle: is that i i you know i just played it on the line for like no seriously

 

LPLive: so you were kind of the the odd man out as far as like hey and

 

Kyle: that's the best way to put it yeah

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: i'm the odd man

 

LPLive: alright and then what exactly led to you being fired i guess

 

Kyle: i have no idea they never gave me a reason

 

LPLive: they just told you one day hey we're

 

Kyle: i don't want to work with you anymore

 

LPLive: huh

 

Kyle: and i had the flu at the time

 

LPLive: oh that sucks

 

Kyle: yeah they told me to come down to the studio where we were hurting because it was important we needed a band meeting and i just got married and i had the flu and i was like i really don't feel like going there like it's important i was like okay i'll come down and they tell me I was fired and I was like you couldn’t have done this over the phone

 

LPLive: but

 

Kyle: you know

 

LPLive: no he

 

Kyle: it's not like it's that big a deal for me really

 

LPLive: these days it's that meeting could have been an email back then it was like that meeting could have been a phone call

 

Kyle: yeah totally that's exactly the way that it was

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: it was it was really like it was really the wrong way to go about things and and um you know that that hurt my feelings because it was like you know they didn't even care enough after you know nine or ten months of of like i mean literally daily uh working on a project with these people

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: you know they they don't even have the common courtesy to uh i told them i have the flu i feel like ass right now i really don't want to go anywhere and like you know it's important at the band meeting we have to do it okay fine

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: you know so that um and then the fact that they released the uh the ep that we made uh having erased all of the music that i had recorded

 

Kyle’s Roommate: ???

 

LPLive: so you're talking the the

 

Kyle: roommate

 

LPLive: that's cool the hybrid theory ep

 

Kyle: you know the the ep that they released

 

LPLive: yeah with the baby on the cover

 

Kyle: yeah i don't know yeah no i only listened to the music um i don't remember what it was like but yeah they re-recorded all of the base parts so they didn't have to pay me any royalties and and it's much more pedestrian than it should have been

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: um in my opinion because the the things that i played on it were actually rather melodic and and harmonic

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: and um and they just went yeah yeah we're just gonna re-record it and i think brad is the one who uh who re-recorded all my bass parts

 

LPLive: sure yeah i've

 

Kyle: So they didn’t have to pay me anything

 

LPLive: yeah i've got

 

Kyle: and they didn't and i was like you know that hurts more than anything else you know i don't even care really i mean it'd be nice to have a bit of royalties from the linkin park you know empire

 

LPLive: right but you didn't get any kind of the song writing or anything

 

Kyle: i didn't you know i had some really good ideas on that you know

 

LPLive: yeah i've

 

Kyle: and uh and so that's really what what it boils down to is that i just you know i was like okay fine you're firing me doesn't matter

 

LPLive: yeah so

 

Kyle: but you're gonna put out you know music that i've worked on i i mean i helped write that music

 

LPLive: right

 

Kyle: and you're not even gonna use the tracks that i had laid down

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: you know or give me any credit for it that's like that's not cool at all

 

LPLive: yeah i've i even noticed like because they reissued that ep the first year their fan club like a couple years later and your name's not in it i think your name is in the booklet like on the original one but there's only like so many copies of that and it sounds like like you're not actually even playing on it they just stuck your name in there just to you know say whatever

 

Kyle: yeah that was not because i listened to it and i was like that's not me playing the bass

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: it's obvious it's completely and the bass is just buried in there you know the bass part they're just buried and because they're just like you know

 

LPLive: just root notes and stuff yeah

 

Kyle: You know? Like, that’s the bass part that’s like now. What they should have, it was like

 

LPLive: sure yeah

 

Kyle: That was like making it interesting and giving it some life and some substance and um yeah no that's not what we want apparently so and plus if you use kyle's bass parts then you have to pay him royalties and that thing like i said i don't i don't even care about the royalties just the fact that they did that

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: you know to me creatively yeah i was actually i was actually trying to you know create something with these guys though

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: That’s the part that hurts the most

 

LPLive: yeah i was going to say like a lot of there's a lot of the early demos floating around well a lot of them are on the box set now that just came out um and some of them have like a lot more of kind of a funky i'd say like sort of a 311-ish kind of influence on them and um there's could have been the song on the box set that's got the slap bass solo at the end i know that was you

 

Kyle: oh really

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: that got in there

 

LPLive: yep

 

Kyle: do do I get credit for it?

 

LPLive: yeah they um yeah on the uh i got it right here the whole demo cd it says additional base by kyle christner

 

Kyle: it's misspelled right like there's an extra e in there isn't it

 

LPLive: um is there no there isn't

 

Kyle: oh they got it right

 

LPLive: they got it right jeff's book had it wrong

 

Kyle: yeah yeah because it's just t-n-e-r not t-e-n-e-r

 

LPLive: okay i was actually going to ask you about that because i've seen it both ways so make sure i got that right here um i was pretty sure it was the no e so

 

Kyle: oh so that yeah that slap thing at the end which was just a throw away

 

LPLive: i was gonna say that pretty much sounded like a one take and it's done kind kind of thing

 

Kyle: yeah it totally was it was just you know it was like just fire up the the thing and i'll play the song and then yeah and at the end i was just like i was just it i just thought that here's a great idea i'll just do a slap bass solo thing at the end and just you know write it out and we can fade it out whenever you know

 

LPLive: yeah well they didn't fade it out on the box that they just kind of cut it at the end like where you sort of just gave up and stopped it just played

 

Kyle: yeah. No, I had to. I was like, you know, I had nowhere else to go. It was just like

 

LPLive: yeah i play bass too and you were doing like some double stop things and just kind of okay it sounded like i'm done just yeah

 

Kyle: yeah it sounds like you were in the room

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: because that's exactly what happened there but like you know i was like fuck it

 

LPLive: that's exactly how it goes yeah yeah but um

 

Kyle: because it because i knew that it was gonna be faded out at that point you know

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: like i'd already gone through all of the like you know like it should have just been faded out at that point but you know when i heard the the yeah when i heard the demo it's not even on there it just like cut

 

LPLive: yeah that was that was a song that we never knew existed until the box that came out like it was completely unknown which is surprising that they still have songs that we don't know about from back then because there's so many demos already around

 

Kyle: yeah it's i mean it was a it was an interesting part of my life you know playing with those guys because it was you know it was one of the first times that i've been in rooms doing showcases doing you know signing contracts and things you know all of that um all of the business and of the music industry

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: um so i learned a lot but um by the same token it was like you know i'm glad that i am not or wasn't playing with them anymore you know because

 

LPLive: just just because it sounds like they kind of gave you a raw deal there

 

Kyle: yeah yeah and and you know i'm i'm a laid-back easy-going type guy who liked to play like really weird nut job music they wanted to play the most mainstream thing they could possibly do you know

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: yeah and i was like and in retrospect i just went yeah no this isn't really what i want to do

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: so why am i trying so hard you know and it was it was basically just because i wanted to uh you know help them succeed

 

LPLive: yeah yeah

 

Kyle: then they did and they did well

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: so what are you going to do

 

LPLive: and

 

Kyle: because the nature of the industry is you know like bands like linkin park survive and they do well and

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: you know bands like the ones that i've been in and have created uh do well in bars and and have a local following and i'm totally okay with that because that's really i'd rather make the music that i want to make and not make music for the masses you know

 

LPLive: sure yeah i get that you wouldn't get any of those music school kids to like join a band that's that mainstream i don't think unless they wanted to do it for the money there's

 

Kyle: yeah precisely that's i mean that's really what is that's what it boils down to so you can make music for the people of america and europe and whatever and and you know and everybody can get into it or you can make music that's actually interesting and you really like it and a few thousand people will go oh that's awesome

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: you know

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: so that's i'd rather be in the latter category you know because really that's what it is you know

 

LPLive: yeah and it

 

Kyle: ???

 

LPLive: i think even they like later in their career because like they weren't as successful but the music they did was more all over the map from like their third fourth album onwards that was like what

 

Kyle: oh really

 

LPLive: they were trying to more walk that line of still being able to sell records but doing not the same thing every single time

 

Kyle: yeah yeah

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: and then uh yeah honestly i mean some of the later stuff that i heard from linkin park i was like hey they're actually trying to branch out a little bit

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: this is alright i can deal with this you know that it you know but like that first record i was like oh god this is just boring it is absolutely boring

 

LPLive: yeah it's

 

Kyle: every song is like four chords and nothing going on

 

LPLive: yeah i like

 

Kyle: like nothing

 

LPLive: that sound was a total like nostalgia thing for me because i was like in high school when it came out and um i still you know it's on my spotify and everything in my car but it's like usually when one of the songs from that record comes up i'm like eh i just skip it i've heard it enough times yeah um

 

Kyle: no i understand that and i get i mean i get the nostalgia thing as well especially for someone because obviously you're several years younger than i am because i think i was 28 or 29 when i was in the band

 

LPLive: oh so you were a bit older than they were

 

Kyle: yes

 

LPLive: okay gotcha i thought that you were all kind of around the same age

 

Kyle: no no no i i i i'd already been around the block a couple of times

 

LPLive: gotcha okay

 

Kyle: um yeah i know i think i was 20 just 20 and

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: uh when i was in the band and um i just turned 28. so um yeah they were all in their early 20s

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: at that point

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: so uh that once again another i'm guessing part of my being fired is that i was older than them you know

 

LPLive: sure yeah maybe that played into it they just wouldn't told you

 

Kyle: i was the grandpa on the band i've honestly i've never been told why i was fired they just said we don't want you in the band anymore okay well you could have done this over the phone though i'm sick as fuck you know this has happened

 

LPLive: so so

 

Kyle: wasn't really hurt saving but i hadn't to come down to the studio because i mean the studio was literally like across town

 

LPLive: was that the studio on hollywood and vine

 

Kyle: like i had to drive 25 or 30 minutes just to get there

 

LPLive: yeah was that like a a rehearsal studio they had on hollywood and vine

 

Kyle: yes

 

LPLive: okay i was i was wondering if they were already in there or not because there there's some like old rehearsal video of them but it's with the guy who played bass after you so

 

Kyle: yeah

 

LPLive: um

 

Kyle: yeah yeah that yeah it was it was hollywood and vine as i recall and yeah and i lived ???

 

LPLive: so it was like la traffic and having to drive across town to go

 

Kyle: yeah

 

LPLive: yeah that sucks

 

Kyle: yeah like it was light outside when i left and it was dark when i got there so that's the the trek that i had to get fired

 

LPLive: so ??? ???

 

Kyle: i was like you know what i'll pick up my gear tomorrow i'm too sick to load up my gear tonight i'll just take care of it tomorrow

 

LPLive: so when they did that hybrid theory ep um i guess that would have come out shortly after you got fired or maybe it was already out by then i don't know

 

Kyle: no i think they as far as i know that it came out after the first record came out

 

LPLive: okay yeah well i yeah they put it out as a fan club cd and then there was like i guess when i say it came out like

 

Kyle: don't have really followed the band

 

LPLive: sure yeah it wasn't in i wouldn't say it was in stores or anything but like they had copies of it it was probably mostly stuff that they sent out to labels because they still weren't signed um do you remember recording i mean obviously your tracks got replaced but i know that some of that was uh they had mudrock producing it do you remember working with the with him

 

Kyle: oh yeah

 

LPLive: okay where were you recording was that just at the rehearsal studio or did you book time somewhere

 

Kyle: um most of it we did in uh in shinoda's bedroom

 

LPLive: really

 

Kyle: yeah yeah because he had uh pro tools or or something yeah i think it's pro tools on his computer in his bedroom

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: so we would record we would do the stuff um in the studio the main tracks uh and and then you know because it's too expensive to do it to just do all the overdubs and everything

 

LPLive: right

 

Kyle: um we would do all the overdubs in shinoda's bedroom

 

LPLive: yeah it it wasn't like the the final hybrid theory thing where you've got four tracks of rhythm guitar on everything and it's just you know as fleshed out as it should possibly be

 

Kyle: no no no it was mainly just getting the drum tracks down

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: because uh he lived in an apartment in glendale and so we couldn't really record drums in an apartment in glendale so we had to ???

 

LPLive: i remember i remember him saying something like they would

 

Kyle: the drum tracks down and then basically everything else would just go on top

 

LPLive: i remember him saying something like they would sample this like rob's hits from his drum kit and then like program drums like so it's like his drum sounds but it's not actually him playing live because they couldn't like record in the apartment or whatever i don't know

 

Kyle: yeah that's that's pretty much it yeah if if there were weird punches or something like that yeah

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: they would just be a sample of it

 

LPLive: yeah so so a lot of those demos that are going around i imagine it's probably a mix of you and brad and whoever else like just depending on time frame and some of the songs they were doing i'd imagine they probably did them and they already had a bass track on them when they brought them in or okay

 

Kyle: well yeah because i i gotta i mean when i joined the band when i auditioned for the band um they had uh they were called xero with an x and um and i think brad had done all the bass no no i'm sorry he hadn't it was um

 

LPLive: ??? Dave

 

Kyle: what's his face

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: um who had done all the bass tracks and they were so it was it was laid down um but it wasn't it wasn't terribly melodic you know

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: in my opinion yeah and that was what i tried to bring to the band is that you know i wanted to bring more melody to the band and then when chester came along i was like this motherfucker can sing you know and obviously i can write a goddamn great bass line so you're you're looking at like you know taking this this garage band to the next level because you got two people at least that can really you know just bring melody melody and harmony to the the to the sound and and then they fired me

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: and i was like okay and then they re-recorded my bassline to be like these you know one note basslines and i'm like

 

LPLive: with a with a pick

 

Kyle: what the hell is the matter with you people you know and apparently that's what they wanted or warner brothers wanted or jeff blue wanted or i don't know i have no idea because i had absolutely no contact with them whatsoever after that ??? it just fell apart completely

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: and um part of it was me feeling a little bit hurt by it because i put so much time and energy into it and but most of it was with them just going no we just don't we don't like him for some reason just like that and ??? i'm a very likeable character

 

LPLive: you seem like it you mentioned jeff blue i actually wanted to talk about him a minute because he's a very polarizing name to bring up with some people um there's some people like oh he discovered them he was the one person who always believed in them other people's like no he was kind of trying to control their songwriting and make them do things a certain way like what kind of relationship did you perceive that as being like

 

Kyle: with jeff blue?

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: um i'm

 

LPLive: if you don't want to throw anybody under the bus that's fine

 

Kyle: i'm not a i'm not a negative person

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: but quite honestly i never liked jeff blue

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: i never liked him um and i i think we should probably leave it at that

 

LPLive: okay yeah he he is a um like just based on some of the stuff i've heard about him like when i read his book it came across as a little bit less self-indulgent than i was expecting but still like also like it seemed like he really wanted to take a lot of the credit so um yeah but if that's as much as you want to leave it at that's totally fine

 

Kyle: oh yeah i mean he already had a relationship with the band before i joined you know

 

LPLive: yeah yeah he had um like seen them i think like their first show and done like a development deal with them or something

 

Kyle: yeah yeah and he and he you know and he like i said before he said don't sign a contract with anybody else because i'm probably moving to warner brothers and i'll get you guys signed the warner brothers

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: so i was like okay you know that was that that was basically you know it but as far as him you know in general that's ???

 

LPLive: yeah alright yeah there's a whole bunch of stuff in in that book about like what you said with he was trying to bring them to the label and make it like contingent on him getting the job that they would sign the contract um and just the whole he says you guys played something like 44 showcases and got turned down every single time i don't know if those were all with you but

 

Kyle: no that sounds about right we played a shit ton of showcases

 

LPLive: yeah was that always that like your your studio like you'd bring people in or did you play shows like

 

Kyle: no no most of them were at S.I.R.

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: in hollywood

 

LPLive: gotcha he mentions sir a couple times in there

 

Kyle: yeah yeah and it was always to like 8 people

 

LPLive: my favorite story there is there was one i can't remember off the top of my head what executive this guy was but he um chester got like really up in his face while he was performing and like accidentally spat on him and the guy just kind of walked out

 

Kyle: i forgot about that holy shit he ???

 

LPLive: he was just like sorry man i kind of got carried away there

 

Kyle: yeah no chester used to do that he would get he would you know come off the stage and just like especially you know these showcases he would get right in the person's face

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: and um and yeah he did he spat on this record executive ??? was you know and i'm back there playing bass trying to not laugh because you know because you you couldn't stop chester at that point right he got rolling like that you couldn't stop it

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: it was just like okay ???(guy walked out)???

 

LPLive: yeah i just

 

Kyle: you go chester

 

LPLive: i was fortunate enough to meet chester a couple times and just like there's always this disconnect like just talking to him in person like what just the kind of quiet friendly unassuming guy he is and then like for him to just get up in your face and be just like screaming at you was there's there's a lot of a yin yang kind of thing going on there

 

Kyle: yeah yeah definitely and that was part of the reason why i told the rest of the fellas like hire this motherfucker he's exactly what this band needs you know he needs to to uh get in everybody's face literally you know because you know the music is fine it's it's not exactly in my vein but i can do it and um but chester he can make it visceral he can make it you know something palpable that that people are gonna go holy shit i just saw this band and they were amazing and the lead singer like almost spat on my face ??? you know so you know that kind of thing uh like it that was why i was like hire Chester and they and they were like

 

LPLive: they were like maybe

 

Kyle: i don't know man he doesn't really look like we do that's a thing that you can fix the easiest thing

 

LPLive: yeah there's a whole bit in the book too where chester was like i guess getting frustrated because he was from phoenix and he was basically homeless while he was out there rehearsing with them he's like are you going to hire me or not

 

Kyle: yeah yeah and they were they were totally like you know on the fence about it and he was hanging out in in los angeles and you know his wife was back in phoenix and and i was like you guys need to make a decision because you know i'm i'm the new fish i'm i'm not you know

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: i don't have a say really

 

LPLive: yeah and

 

Kyle: whether or not you're gonna hire him but i think you're stupid if you don't

 

LPLive: yeah so like were you like officially speaking a member of the band or were you kind of like a hired gun situation or

 

Kyle: um i was kind of a hired gun

 

LPLive: okay because i asked that

 

Kyle: although although you know i like i said you know we recorded that ep and all of my bass tracks were very melodic and very you know

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: harmonic and and i was trying to make something uh you know more along the lines of like a perfect circle or tool or

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: even even pantera you know like just heavy but but just with a solid groove to it

 

LPLive: yeah yeah

 

Kyle: that's where i was coming from

 

LPLive: the song that always jumped out to me and i don't know like how much you remember song titles there was a song called blue that one had a very kind of funky groove to it i was like that that feels like something that would have been more of a kyle thing

 

Kyle: yeah yeah that one actually uh it does stick out to me because i remember recording that song and um and when i heard the ep i went i didn't play these bass tracks that's not me

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: it doesn't even sound like my bass tone you know like it's completely they just completely wiped me off ??? the bass but yeah that yeah that type of thing you know that just really groovy and you know and this is like pre new metal ???

 

LPLive: yeah like th that was you had like korn and limp bizkit but they were still like not

 

Kyle: they weren't blowing up yet

 

LPLive: there there wasn't a million imitators yet

 

Kyle: right exactly and you know and and um yeah so i was like you know why didn't you take metal and add in these elements of like 70s light rock sure and and make it interesting and and melodic and fun and or sentimental or whatever you know

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: instead of just like you know like you know i mean even pantera has those elements you know

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: and they're like one of the heaviest bands i've ever heard in my life you know and but they've still got this like lovely beautiful melodic essence to them

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: and that's what i was trying to impart you know as as the bass player because being a bass player you get to kind of control the the music

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: you know what i mean you you get to control what's going on in the band

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: so the rest of the band can be doing whatever the hell they want but the bass player is the one who's going this is where we're going as an entity

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: you know and you can do it smoothly you can do it in an ugly way you can do it horribly you can do it just just the same way that the guitar player is doing it if you want

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: but you have the control and um and so i was i was trying to impart these you know melodies that would be mimicked or or enhanced the the the vocals you know that's really what i was trying to do and you know and then i hear the damn thing and i'm like this is basically the exact same thing as the guitar part and i definitely did not do that

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: that's why i was like yeah no that's definitely not me playing and so and i know why because you know

 

LPLive: yeah there's always been like a lot of people talk about like the demos songs that didn't make the albums sometimes people like them better than the stuff that did and it's like i just listened to that stuff it's like it definitely feels like it's a lot more all over the map and on the one hand for the sake of making an album having something that's more cohesive i understand that but like it was it felt less ambitious to me yeah

 

Kyle: well if i can offer you one bit of advice on your quest here

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: talk to mike shinoda and tell him that you want to hear the actual tracks from that ep

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: the actual bass tracks because that will give you a little more insight into where we were as a band at that point because i was part of the band at that point i was i was there you know it was are you being fired um that's what i would suggest because it it and you know i'm pretty sure he'll he'll deny any sort of culpability in that and you know

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: but but if you can talk to him and he'll actually play those tracks for you yeah you'll understand that you know i was trying to make that band considerably more melodic than they ever were

 

LPLive: yeah they um

 

Kyle: and that's really what it boils down to

 

LPLive: i i feel like with the the stuff on the box set too like you saying that they never contacted you about could have been that's actually completely opposite of what mike said because he um he brought up he's been doing his twitch streaming and stuff and he brought it up like yeah we hadn't talked to kyle in so long we weren't sure if like we'd be allowed to use the song but i guess he just assumed that his management people contacted you and i guess nobody did

 

Kyle: i went and got married i went to las vegas and got married and went on a honeymoon for two weeks that was why i didn't contact any one of them

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: and as soon as i got back into town i i started making phone calls to all of them

 

LPLive: really

 

Kyle: that's the real story yep

 

LPLive: okay so have you have you been in touch with them since then like at all or

 

Kyle: no no no

 

LPLive: and it really made me angry that chester killed himself because i was like i uh you know i really liked him

 

Kyle: how could you how can anybody not like that guy is kind of all how i always felt about him

 

LPLive: yeah no he was just um yeah he he was an arrogant bastard but so am i so

 

Kyle: sure

 

LPLive: that's why we got along well too you know yeah no i i've never have a ??? or ??? about chester he was a wonderful man

 

Kyle: yeah so like early on i always hear that like he didn't really get along with the rest of the band early on i feel like he did later like after they had some time but there's a lot of stuff in jeff's book

 

LPLive: i have no idea

 

Kyle: about him feeling like an outsider because he was the new guy which i mean that i can see that but

 

LPLive: yeah no like i said i i have no idea because by that point i was fired i was sure i was done i wasn't in the band anymore but i always got along chester

 

Kyle: yeah

 

LPLive: so i i guess just like to wrap it up just like to kind of promote whatever you want us to promote as far as what have you been working on nowadays like are you still playing music are you

 

Kyle: oh yeah

 

LPLive: okay you got any like

 

Kyle: of course yeah i'm ??? come on man

 

LPLive: well i i'm just gonna say i know you're still playing music because you can never take that out of somebody but are you liking any bands any like stuff that's you know online that we can check out or

 

Kyle: um no nothing nothing going on online um right now we're really just rehearsing

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: we got two separate uh projects happening um and uh one of them is called bad cannon um which is just like full-on metal and um

 

LPLive: okay can cannon with two n or one n

 

Kyle: uh two n's

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: like you know with the balls

 

LPLive: yeah yeah cannon

 

Kyle: not like not like the you know the history of uh that came out of it the literacy

 

LPLive: yeah

 

Kyle: not the uh and then the other one is called the library men

 

LPLive: the live ribbon

 

Kyle: no the library men

 

LPLive: oh like library men okay

 

Kyle: yeah which is basically a cover band but uh

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: but we’re the most ridiculous cover in history so uh yeah and and we’ve all adopted some random british accent

 

LPLive: i was gonna say when you first picked up the phone i almost heard a little bit of a british accent i was like i don't think he's british

 

Kyle: no i'm not but i can do a damn good well

 

LPLive: you’ve been practicing

 

Kyle: yeah well a little bit a little bit ??? but it sort of just comes out you know especially with the library

 

LPLive: right yeah i was like the way he pronounced that i was like wait a second oh that's got it got it

 

Kyle: yeah totally that's that's exactly the way that it should be because um yeah frank has this like uh uh um what's his face uh he was married to uh oh shit elizabeth oh oh my god my brain is farting right now um i can't think of his name but he's got this like slow drawl type of an

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: english accent and then tony's got this other you know thing that's going on like you know and but mine is totally kind

 

LPLive: nice

 

Kyle: so it's like we're all from different parts of england except that we've none of us have ever been there so that’s that's really what it boils down to uh yeah so it’s it is just cover something you know

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: bad cannon is like this you know heavy metal uh thing going on but but it's all originals and then there's the library because we just we pay attention to music we've been paying attention music for hundreds of years

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: between all of us you know literally over a hundred years of just listening to music

 

LPLive: right

 

Kyle: so you know that's really what that is about and so yeah

 

LPLive: yeah yeah well good

 

Kyle: and as soon as we can break out and do some music in front of people thank you 19.

 

LPLive: right

 

Kyle: uh we'll be we'll be packing places in and and you know my my my girlfriend who i've been with now for before like five months something like that

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: um she's like i never heard you play bass and i'm like you've heard me play bass and he's like no i've never heard you really play the bass and i'm like okay let me use some of the songs that i wrote

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: yeah and so i i played some of the stuff some of the waffle stuff because waffle’s been you know the band that i really adore and treasure and you know it was my baby it was it was my ??? and she was like holy crap man

 

LPLive: i was gonna say too like it's good to have like some other references of stuff you're playing in because the only band that i ever really remember seeing like after you were in hybrid theory was nosedive

 

Kyle: oh yeah yeah

 

LPLive: and i know that was like probably probably by like 2003 or four that was done so that's been 15 years or so since i've heard of anything that you were doing

 

Kyle: yeah no waffle was who was the band that uh that was my ???(episode)??? that was uh you know i basically wrote all the songs i you know i did all the arrangements i you know and it was just the same thing because it was a three-piece band and um yeah it was it was really like just crazy like you know because we we formed in in 94 i think

 

LPLive: okay so that was before you were with the linkin park guys okay

 

Kyle: oh yeah yeah well well before that yeah and um yeah and it was it was you know i should’ve 22 at the time 21 22 somewhere in there and uh mr poopypants our drummer was like i think he was 20. yeah i didn't name him mr poopypants that was from another band that we were in later but he ??? he is still mr poopypants now ??? got his name after pulp fiction

 

LPLive: pulp fiction i was gonna ask

 

Kyle: um but we uh yeah no no we we wrote these songs that were um we were all influenced by uh primus mr bungle tool uh pantera oingo boingo um and and i mean there's the list goes on but but those are probably the top five and so we wrote these songs that are that were just like completely ridiculous you know

 

LPLive: what do you think of the new mr bungle stuff

 

Kyle: um

 

LPLive: if you've heard it i don't know

 

Kyle: i have heard it

 

LPLive: okay

 

Kyle: i have heard it and i like it i do like it

 

LPLive: yeah i i dig pretty much anything mike patton's done he's

 

Kyle: yeah well you know the tomahawk stuff and you know it feels a little forced

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: that's just me saying that

 

Kyle’s Roommate: ???(i'm just understanding it)???

 

Kyle: but um but no my my girlfriend had never heard mr bungle

 

LPLive: oh okay

 

Kyle: and so i played her uh played my ass is on fire i played her uh retrovertigo and and she was like holy shit i was like right it's just ridiculous it's so amazingly good

 

LPLive: Yeah

 

Kyle: like it's so musical and and this is this goes back to where i was with linkin park

 

LPLive: but that kind of ???(played)??? in like your uh

 

Kyle: ??? like that

 

LPLive: yeah and that came through in your bassline

 

Kyle: ??? no no we we need to be more like bon jovi and i’m just like

 

LPLive: that's such a weird

 

Kyle: It’s not that i don't like bon jovi just come on ??? a little something you know that’s really what it boils down to

 

LPLive: hearing them say we should be like bon jovi is such a weird left field reference for like what you think linkin park is but

 

Kyle: yeah but but that's exactly what they were going for

 

LPLive: Yeah

 

Kyle: you know that's or at least that's what the record label was going for but you know i don't know because i was out of the band by that point

 

LPLive: sure

 

Kyle: you know when i was in the band i was i was like pushing toward primus or mr bungle and um you know and then all of a sudden this record comes out and it sounds like a bon jovi record and i’m like okay

 

LPLive: Yeah

 

Kyle: so that's really what you were after really you know

 

LPLive: Yeah

 

Kyle: so so there you go yeah so you have it now you have a sound bite

 

LPLive: yeah that's that's a lot to go on i'm gonna um i mean i'll transcribe all this from the audio and probably i'll have to edit a little bit down but like i'll um i'm not gonna like change anything you said i'm not gonna be a dick like that

 

Kyle: well thank you for that

 

LPLive: i'm not a journalist i'm just a guy

 

Kyle: no no you're a journalist now

 

LPLive: oh

 

Kyle: that's what things are

 

LPLive: oh no i just accidentally became a journalist

 

Kyle: in 2020 it’s yeah you are technically a journalist

 

LPLive: oh crap

 

Kyle: yeah so get used to it there sweetness

 

LPLive: oh yeah i'll text it to you when we get it all done posted

 

Kyle: yeah no i look i look forward to seeing it and i thank you for reaching out to me because um i don't have any ill will for those bastards but it's nice to be able to tell my side of the story you know

 

LPLive: sure awesome well yeah it's been great talking to you man

 

Kyle: yeah likewise you have a great evening i will talk to you later

 

LPLive: cool you too man

 

Kyle: alright bye

 

LPLive: bye

 

 

 

Antoine Gautier

Published: June 24, 2021

 

For a long time, Hybrid Theory’s rehearsal space was Hollywood Rehearsal Studios (later “HiFi Hollywood Rehearsal Studio”), located on the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. This is the infamous place where Marc Ostrick filmed the band for his Lockout web series and where Mike Shinoda locked himself for days to create the original demo for In The End.

 

Hollywood Rehearsal

Mike Shinoda working at Hollywood Rehearsal Studios | Reproduction: @m_shinoda on Instagram

 

One of the other bands that made use of this facility was Lipressure (check them on Spotify). Their drummer, Antoine Gautier, was personally given a copy of the original Hybrid Theory EP by Mike Shinoda, so we’ve asked him to speak about his time with Hybrid Theory:

 

So before and some time after they were signed with Warner, we were rehearsing in the same studios, on Hollywood and Vine. Lorraine Ponce was managing the spaces and would sometimes introduce band members from different. Back then, I was drumming for a rap/rock band called Lupus and after, Lipressure. So both bands met each other via Lorraine. I remember having few short drum talks with Rob. We actually never hung out or shared gigs, LP's members were not the "in your face" type of guy, more keeping it to themselves. Jeff Blue was already in the picture and probably managing them. I remember my frontman, Dave Bryant, who had no shame, trying to convince Blue to come check us out, something he never did btw !

 

I unfortunately don't have Lorraine's email but perhaps her cell phone is still the same so you could find her on WhatsApp. She knew them pretty well, specially Mike and Chester. I actually just tried to find her on facebook. One person could be her but she also may have change her last name via mariage...

 

Lorraine Business Card

Lorraine Ponce's business card

 

 

LMNO

Published: June 20, 2021

 

James Kelly, better known by his stage name LMNO (acronym for LeaveMyNameOut), is a rapper and producer from Long Beach, California and a member of underground hip hop crew The Visionaries. He met Mike Shinoda when Linkin Park was still called Hybrid Theory and was invited to work on the band's debut album. It never materialized, but Shinoda produced and recorded vocals on a song for LMNO, who was working on his own debut album. Shinoda and Joe Hahn would later collaborate with The Visionaries on a song that remained unreleased until 2015. It is now available for purchase on Bandcamp thanks to Alex Ocana (aka 2Mex), another member of the group.

 

2Mex has been battling several health problems for some years now. Complications from diabetes resulted in the amputation of his leg in 2016 and now he is back in the hospital suffering from heart and kidney issues. If anyone wishes to help, The Visionaries have reinstated an old GoFundMe campaign to assist in covering his costs.

 

Now stay with our interview with LMNO.

 

Q: To start, could you please explain how did you first meet Mike Shinoda?

 

I met Mike & Joe through Kevin Sakoda

 

Q: So this was when Linkin Park had already signed with Warner?

 

Yes, I was in Vancouver Canada working on my first album LeaveMyNameOut when Kev hit me up about featuring on their debut album

 

Q: That's interesting because back in the MySpace days, The Visonaries did a blog post saying you recorded a song with Mike around 1999 when the band was still called Hybrid Theory. So you're saying this collaboration was meant for the Linkin Park album? Or was it something unrelated?

 

The song was produced by Mike, it wasn’t for the Linkin Park album we just wanted to work since I was out of town while they were finishing up their album. It was a dope experience

 

Q: I see. Was this song ever released anywhere?

 

I released it on a mixtape format not an official album release, I will like to eventually release it properly, the song is dope.

 

Q: That's pretty cool. I'm sure fans would appreciate that. Just out of curiosity, what was the song and the mixtape called? Was it on the Check Out Time: Five A.M. mixtape?

 

It’s not that mixtape... I believe it was the promotional mixtape for my P’s & Q’s album…
I would love to work with Mike again & make more music!

 

Q: In 2015 2Mex released a demo by The Visionaries featuring Mike and Joe. We first heard about this collaboration in 2001, so we were very excited to finally listen to it. Can you talk about the writing / recording process of this song?

 

The Visionaries recorded the song at Kevin Sakodas, Mike wasn’t there Joe wasn’t either

 

Q: We've heard Mike and Joe recorded their parts for their track with X-Ecutioners while on tour and they sent DATs back and forth to each other. Was this a similar situation?

 

Yes very similar
The song Mike & I recorded was at his old apartment together, before they super blew up, which when Mike picked me up from the train station we stopped to eat at Baja Fresh before working & he told me they were going to be mega successful, a bold & real prediction!
I have a ton of respect for him for that!

 

Q: Oh, that's a very interesting story. Thank you for sharing. I was under the impression he sent you the beat while you were in Canada. This happened after they were done recording Hybrid Theory?

 

I just got back from Canada when we linked up & yes H.T. was finished…
It was a really dope session

 

Q: About that demo with The Visionaries, did it ever get a proper title or working title?

 

Honestly I’m not sure

 

Q: Last question: have The Visionaries ever shared the stage with Linkin Park?

 

Yes we have, we opened up for them at some arena, twas unreal!

 

Q: Interesting. Was this during the Hybrid Theory tour or later in their career?

 

Later, the show was a quarter full when we hit the stage & then they brought us on stage to do a song of theirs during their set (not sure what the song was) & it was full capacity packed to the ceiling, Crazy Packed!

 

Q: Thank you very much for everything! This was really helpful!

 

I am glad to have been of any type of help & their story, a real blessing

 

Bakersfield Pass

Bakersfield, CA 2001.11.20

 

The Visionaries released their 5th studio album (their first in 14 years!), cleverly titled V, on November 20, 2020. Make sure to check it out on Bandcamp.

 

 

Scott Koziol

Published: June 17, 2021

 

Once Kyle Christner parted ways with Hybrid Theory, Barry Squire, an A&R executive who had passed on them but was friends with Jeff Blue, referenced Scott Koziol to the band.

 

Back in 2009, one of our staff members’ old fansite LPAmerican interviewed Scott Koziol. Since the site is long gone and the interview covers almost everything we needed to know from him, we’ve decided to include it in this article for archival purposes.

 

Scott Koziol was a temporary bassist of Linkin Park. He played for the video clip "One Step Closer", of the album Hybrid Theory. He left the band when the actual bassist, David Farrell returned to the band in 2000.

 

So... A few weeks ago we got a way to contact him. He was very attentive, answered some questions and sent to us some recent pictures. We thank him so much for the support. Check the full interview below:

 

LPAmerican: How do you describe your experience with Linkin Park?

 

Scott Koziol: "I was blessed with a unique opportunity to collaborate with the members of Linkin Park. They are innovative artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs. I had only been in LA for about 6 months when I met the band. They showed me around town, introduced me to a variety of new art, and pushed me in new directions. They work very hard to strive towards perfection musically, visually, and artistically with the greatest respect for their fans. Quality over quantity. It was a life changing experience that influenced me significantly."

 

LPAmerican: How do you feel to know that you are in one of the video clips (One Step Closer) that showed the world who is Linkin Park?

 

Scott Koziol: "That's a great track and cool video... I'm pleased that so many people dig it and that it created new opportunities for the band."

 

LPAmerican: How did you met and joined the band?

 

Scott Koziol: "I was referred to the band by the infamous Barry Squire who runs a LA musician referral service. Rob Bourdon gave me a call, we chatted for a bit then he sent me a CD of a few tracks to learn. I had a few auditions with the band then we started rehearsing in Hollywood 6 days a week for about 8 hours a day in preparation for Live performances and the recording of Hybrid Theory."

 

LPAmerican: After leaving the band, did you participate in any other musical projects?

 

Scott Koziol: "I've participated in Live performances, jam sessions, and recording sessions for a variety of singer-songwriters, developing, and Major Label artists."

 

LPAmerican: Currently, are you still working with music, or are you going to a different path?

 

Scott Koziol: "I worked for Apple from Oct 2004 thru Oct 2008. I was using my artistic skills and playing almost everyday, but my schedule was very busy so I did not take very many gigs during this time. I visited college campuses to teach students, faculty, staff, and administration about Apple. I was doing workshops, presentations, and public speaking engagements on the topics of collaboration, music, digital communication, and increased productivity thru effective usage of technology. I learned so much from my Apple training while collaborating with amazing people at the schools and Apple. I'm on the Cal Poly(SLO) Journalism Advisory Board so I occasionally visit the campus to collaborate with the Journalism and Graphics(GRC) departments. I'm a voting member for the Grammy's and participate in activities involving the organization.
My position with Apple ended a few months back and I started taking Bass gigs again in 2009. Currently I'm working with an esession.com artist from Washington, an independent artist from Pennsylvania, and another unsigned artist from Cleveland. Many of the artists I've been working with over the last few years are out of town so I record the Bass at my studio and we email files back and forth as the songs develop."

 

LPAmerican: Do you play any instruments besides bass?

 

Scott Koziol: "Yah.. I play a bunch of stuff.. I'm way into getting a beat going in GarageBand or Logic Pro then playing anything that is lying around from traditional instruments to household items or even dog toys. I've been playing a lot of guitar lately using plus getting sounds out of all kinds of silly stuff from Keyboards, Vihuela, & Guitarron to unconventional percussion instruments.."

 

LPAmerican: What is your favorite kind of music?

 

Scott Koziol: "I listen to a variety of music from a wide range of styles. Lately I've been listening to the Deftones, Daughters of Mara, Nine Inch Nails, Anthrax, MIA, A.R. Rahman, John Zorn, Billy Holiday, Robert Plant with Alison Krauss, Led Zeppelin, Thelonious Monk, Kings of Leon, The White Stripes, and Bob Marley to name a few... I was listening to the Linkin Park EP the other day which still sounds killer and they remain one of my favorites.
When I'm playing Bass, I love to play in Modern Rock or Metal groups that have amazing songs and an incredible vocalist. I like to accompany Female ballad singers and work on material with up and coming singer-songwriters. I love gathering great musicians in a "Jam Band" environment for funk, hip hop, latin, and jazz improvisations.
All the best to you and I hope all goes well with your website... Scott Koziol"

 

Scott Koziol 1

Scott Koziol 2

 

Scott Koziol is currently working with vocalist Ricky Elam on a project called Dancing With Demons. Check them out on SoundCloud and make sure to follow Scott on social media for updates:
Twitter | Instagram

 

 

Other Bass Players

Published: June 27, 2021

 

Back in 2015, as part of our Grey Daze Story, Mace Beyers, current bass player for Grey Daze, told us Linkin Park held auditions to replace Scott Koziol:

 

Chester called me to audition for a band called Hybrid Theory (at the time they had a publishing deal and a few labels interested), so I flew out to LA. The bass player Scott at the time was on drugs, so I played behind his back. It went well, but the guys thought I was too old. Sorry, but I still look young as hell, and my chops are better than Phoenix's, but that's the biz for ya.

 

The band was very strict when it came to substance use of any kind. A line in Jeff Blue’s book describes Chester at his New Years Eve party complaining the band didn't want him drinking or doing drugs. This was true for any other potential new member as they valued focus and professionalism.

 

Ian Hornbeck, as he told Humans of Addiction (now offline) in 2019, stayed up for several days on methamphetamines to learn the songs the band had sent him and they decided he was too much of a liability when he showed up to meet them for the first time while high on Valium. Nevertheless, he still managed to receive credits on the album.

 

Chester With Size 5

Reproduction: One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park

 

Another one of Chester’s friends, Jay Kereny of Lemon Krayola, auditioned for the band. He was also a member of Size 5, with whom Chester recorded his audition video for Xero. “I produced Chester and we videotaped audition, then I moved to LA with Chester where I auditioned for LP for Bass, and lived with Chester,” he explained.

 

When Mike Shinoda went to Pensado's Place in 2016, he revealed they wanted Mike Elizondo to be on the Hybrid Theory album. In a later episode, Elizondo talked about turning down the job in order to work with Eminem. “They were called Hybrid Theory at the time and Mike came over to my house and played me some demos. I'm like ‘oh, this is like my dream band, this was exactly the band I'd love to have been in.’ But, you know, it is what it is and obviously they've done amazing. And I think I made a good choice at the time.”

 

Last year, Mike said on Twitch that Scott Koziol didn’t play on the album, despite him being on the One Step Closer music video and being credited for the song in the original pressing of Hybrid Theory. There’s a chance this was just Mike’s memory failing him, but Koziol’s name was actually removed from later US issues of the album, just like Kyle’s from the Hybrid Theory EP. So we contacted Koziol and this is what he had to say:

 

I play Bass on One Step Closer. Ian Hornbeck on 3 tunes.. The producer played bass on the rest. Hybrid Theory credits should have been accurate from the start and never changed unless errors were found.

 

In the Twitch stream, Mike actually mentioned Don Gilmore playing in the studio, but said his contributions didn't make the album. “Dave was gone and so we played his bass parts, me, Brad, our producer Don at one point was putting them in. We were just like... I didn't want Don playing bass on the record, it was our record. He's a good bass player but it's just the premise of it.”

 

Koziol explained the payout for Hybrid Theory says “Scott - 1 song, Ian - 3 songs, Brad - 6 songs.” This accounts for only 10 songs out of the 12 on the album. On the original liner notes, Scott Koziol is credited for One Step Closer and Ian Hornbeck is credited for Papercut, A Place For My Head and Forgotten. Cure For The Itch, being an electronic track created by Mike and Joe, is certainly one of the two tracks for which Brad didn’t provide bass. The other track remains unknown, but it’s possible it is Pushing Me Away since it’s one of the few songs the band wrote while working with Don Gilmore. Maybe one of his contributions made it to the final product after all. This, of course, is only a theory and shouldn’t be taken as gospel.

 

Whatever concerns the band might have initially had about Scott Koziol were obviously put aside once they finished the record as Linkin Park toured with him as their bass player until Dave Farrell’s return for the Kings Of The Game Tour with P.O.D. in November 2000.

 

 

Geoff Antonio

Published: June 27, 2021

 

Geoff Antonio, an American singer, songwriter and producer, was another person who auditioned for the bass player position in Linkin Park during this period. His biography on SoundCloud reads: "Following much success with Instinct GEOFF was soon playing with Linkin Park as their bass player." On top of that, his page on CDBaby includes a quote by Mike Shinoda himself which reads “We think you have some serious talent.”

 

This was more than enough to pique our curiosity, so we contacted him and this is what he told us:

 

No worries. I did audition for the band in 1999. We kept in touch for a while as it looked like they were thinking about it for some time. Ultimately they stayed with their original bassist.
They put an article out in the Recycler. I had just moved to LA from Virginia Beach. The ad said something like, Rock/Hip-Hop Band looking for Bassist. Signed to major Label, sound is between the Def Tones and the Black Eyed Peas.
I was always a fan of rock and hip-hop. So I went and picked up the CD from Rob the drummer. He was living in Westwood at the time.
From the moment I heard the CD I knew these guys were onto something. The production level was great. The sound was unique. I was particularly impressed with Mike Shinoda's skills as an MC.
They were then called Hybrid Theory.
I learned the songs, came in to play with them. They had a lock out in Hollywood right off of Hollywood Blvd.
They asked if I was ready to play the songs and I said yes. Before we played they asked for me to play looking at the wall in front of us as if we were in a stadium. That's what I did, I played as if we were in the stadiums the would soon be rocking in the near future.
Afterwards they had some interesting questions for me. They wanted to know the latest book I read. They also wanted to know if I graduated from college.
Then they asked me if I drank and were waiting intently on my answer. I told them I did occasionally, but not when I play. They said that was good because they had an issue with the other guy and they could not risk all of what they had going on someone who wasn't sober. I told them if this is a sober band, that I would be sober as well and was actually happy to hear that they were focused.
Afterwards we kept in touch for a while. Mike and Rob called a few times, they wanted to know what I was up to and I would ask what they were doing.
Then one day I'm driving down Sunset Blvd in Hollywood on may way to rehearsal for my solo project and I hear this band kill it on KROQ. The DJ announces that was Linkin Park formally known as Hybrid Theory.
They were really cool guys. I mainly talked with Mike and Rob, seemed like they might of been the ones wanting to keep in touch. Ultimately they went for the guy they'd been with for a while which I can understand. Every now and again you gotta wonder what if? Cool guys none the less.

 

Q: Thank you very much for such a great detailed answer! Your help is immense, I do have a few more minor questions. Was it the 6-songs CD with a drawing of fetus on the cover? Or the 2-songs CD with the band's logo? Or maybe something else?

 

Your welcome, hope that helps. Yup that'is it, the 6 song CD with the fetus cover. I still have my copy of it somewhere.

 

Q: Do you still remember what songs you performed with them during the audition?

 

The songs at the audition where from that 6 song EP. I can't remember which songs we did, probably 4 of them.

 

Q: I guess here's the lockout you were talking about. This video was filmed in February 2000.

 

Yes that looks like the spot, too funny.
All grey walls, classic rehearsal space. And yes where that place is there is no place to park as it's right in the middle of Hollywood.

 

Q: Do you somehow remember the name of the bassist they had a sobriety trouble with? It was either Kyle Christener or Scott Koziol. If you are interested, the other people who also auditioned for the bass player position were: Mace Beyers, the bassist from Chester's previous band called Grey Daze from Phoenix, AZ; Jay Kereny, a friend of Chester from another local AZ band called Lemon Krayola; Mike Elizondo. Apparently, he almost got the job, but decided to work with Eminem and Dr. Dre instead. These are the only ones we were aware of before I found out about you.

 

That's a good question, I think it was Scott.
That's interesting the other people that were in the mix. I believe, this is just my opinion is Mike and Rob may of wanted me. They were the ones who called afterwards to keep in touch.
Not sure how the decision was made, but I know I had contact with them after. They wanted to know what I was up to. I told them I was working on my solo record.

 

Q: I spoke with Mace Beyers and he told me that Scott had a problem with drugs, so the band auditioned him behind Scott's back. I was thinking maybe it was really Kyle because, as weird as it is, the band had kept Scott all the way from 1999 to October 2000. Now that you're also confirming it was Scott Koziol, it actually means the band had never really picked a bassist from that auditions and they just let him stay for a year or so after that before Dave "Phoenix" Farrell naturally came back to the band once it finally blew up. The album was also released in October 2000, but Scott is only credited for one track, so it looks like they didn't let him record so he would not take any credit for the album, because they knew Phoenix will eventually rejoin them. All bass on the album, with the exception of a few tracks, was handled by Brad, their guitarist.

 

My guess is it's Scott, but I can't say for sure. I know they mentioned Alcohol being the issue, not drugs. They could of meant both drugs and alcohol were the problem.

 

Geoff Antonio links: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | SoundCloud

 

 

Jeff Blue & Rob McDermott

Published: July 1, 2021

 

To top it all off, Jeff Blue sat down with us for over 3 hours to discuss the stories from his book, “One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park,” as well as a few that were left out and to solve some of the greatest mysteries in the history of Linkin Park. As a bonus, Blue brought a special guest for our Q&A: Mad Mac Entertainment CEO and former Linkin Park manager from 2000 to 2009, Rob McDermott! He was another key part of the team that brought Hybrid Theory (and many other projects) to life.

 

For those who are still unaware, Jeff Blue is Linkin Park’s original publisher, developer, A&R manager and executive producer on Hybrid Theory. He discovered a newborn band called Xero through his intern, Brad Delson, who so happened to be their guitarist. Jeff told us he saw a lot of himself in Brad, so they instantaneously connected. To him, Brad was an authentic person with integrity and his band’s amalgamation of different sounds was genuine and presented a real message. In addition to their passion, these were the qualities that attracted him to the band. We inquired about Dave Farrell's absence on the day they signed their contract with Zomba Music Publishing but he couldn't answer. His best guess was that Farrell had another appointment that day and might have signed the contract at a later date.

 

As we all know, things didn’t work out with the original singer. Auditions for vocalists were proving to be unsuccessful until a drunken bar talk led to discovering and meeting Chester Bennington for the first time. Jeff described the parallel of how he signed Macy Gray to how the group was reignited once Chester came in and how they released their first material with the new singer through their own imprint, Mix Media.

 

Once signed to Warner Bros. Records, Hybrid Theory went into the studio with Don Gilmore to work on their material, which was going to be a difficult task as certain people were keen on, in the words of Rob McDermott, "inventing ways to get in the way." Get Me Gone by Fort Minor tells the story of how these people were trying to change the band by pushing ridiculous gimmicks and removing Mike Shinoda from the equation. Jeff Blue had to battle for the fulfillment of the band’s artistic vision at the risk of being fired or Hybrid Theory being dropped from the label. He explains he had an open relationship with the band and was always honest coming to them with the “daily drama.” He admits these things could have been dealt better, but at the time both himself and the band were new to it all and were overwhelmed by everything. As a result, McDermott says a lot of anger was misdirected to Jeff.

 

8 Song EP

Reproduction: Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition)

 

In the end, the people who thought they knew better were wrong. In fact, the original concept was to create an EP of the new songs, go on tours and sell the EP on the road, but this changed once the first material made its way to the public's ears. According to the group bio on hybridtheory.com, this was supposed to happen in May in the form of a 5 song EP. McDermott recently told us on Twitter they never arrived to a definitive tracklist for the EP. A "Band of the Month" feature on Stem 31 (a music website from Arizona) noted Linkin Park was scheduled to release a 3-Song E.P. in August and the album wouldn’t come out until early 2001. Amidst their name change to Linkin Park, promotional material started to get out and radio stations picked up the songs before the album was even mixed. The first single, One Step Closer, was so successful the label soon demanded they'd move schedules and prepare the album for release in October 2000. Warner was a label with few rock artists, so they were pushing hard on promoting this record. Everything was happening incredibly quickly and the band had no choice but to rush the art process in order to deliver in time. Mike Shinoda recently revealed on Twitch that the soldier without wings that appeared on some of the promotional material for the album was a mistake the band overlooked. A notorious example is the original vinyl single of One Step Closer. You can see Shinoda’s notes on the cover here. The very first note reads "Soldier needs to have wings." The wings were present on the CD release, but were only added to the vinyl on the Record Store Day 2013 reissue.

 

The Coconut Teaszer show on May 25, 2000 was one of the first shows the band did with Rob McDermott as their manager. He was pushing the band to play shows in order to build a following. Every show they played before that was an attempt to get signed. They either did private performances for record labels in their rehearsal room or public shows with record label people in the audience. These private showcases happened once or twice a week so label executives could see the band perform before deciding whether or not they would sign them. We questioned him about The Roxy Theatre show attended by his boss Andy Gould on June 20, 1998. Contrary to what Gould told Brighton Lee Sagal in 2008, McDermott couldn't make it to the show and says he is glad for that because he would have probably passed on the band back then.

 

Xero DATs

Reproduction: One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park

 

The band also spent a lot of time making demos. Jeff Blue would burn demos with the tracklist ordered to start with the strongest songs and send them out to gather interest. He went through a box of demos that included DATs, cassette tapes and CDs to show us on video. Much of the material was previously unseen and contained varying versions of songs many fans came to love and cherish. Blue himself admits he is first and foremost a fan and loves everything they did.

 

One of the CDs in particular presents us with a brand new title: Kids (likely a working title for Dedicated). Another curiosity on the disc is the fact that Cure For Mr. Hahn's Itch is followed by High Voltage. Many fans have noted throughout the years that the strings in those two songs transit seamlessly to each other. This CD may be the reason for that! In the LPU 15 Track by Track video for Grr, Shinoda explains the band was trying to come up with a hip hop track for the album and ultimately chose the instrumental Cure For The Itch for the spot. Last year on Twitch, he explained the strings on both songs were played on his rack mounted Roland keyboard and the same keyboard was used on By Myself (another track on the same demo CD).

 

On a side note, Blue confirmed to us that the untitled track on the first Xero demo was Dialate, the song on the LPU exclusive video "Perth Jam 1, Xero Reborn" is Ashes and "Harmonic Song" - listed in Rob Bourdon's drum recording schedule in his book - was a working title for Pushing Me Away. Recently on Reddit, he also confirmed the version of And One that was played live by Linkin Park from 2000 to 2002 was recorded in studio for the album and said he has no recollection of the title "Spark Marker." The latter was mentioned once by Brad Delson during an LPU chat but was mostly regarded by the fanbase as a joke sparked by the title “Fuse,” a song he had just talked about, so this might just be the case.

 

Both as Xero and Hybrid Theory, they were rejected many times and each time they listened to criticism, adapted and evolved their sound until, after 44 showcases, they finally landed a deal with Warner. One of the main lessons taken from the book is that a lot of money and time went into developing Linkin Park but their persistence paid off.

 

"I love that almost all the fans are young and that it seems it’s reaching a young audience and inspiring them to go after their dreams. That is one of the most rewarding things I feel from the book. It’s positivity," explained Jeff Blue.

 

The duo detailed to us their path to management and A&R, explained the differences between an A&R and a manager’s job - and the similarity is that both should keep pushing through! - and the differences between a development, publishing and record deal. They also advised artists to be authentic and stay true to their vision in order to have lasting success.

 

After reflecting on the lasting impact Linkin Park’s genre-defining debut album had in the industry and how many young bands all over the world were influenced by the Californian group; they finished by sharing their impressions and favorite memories of the late Chester Bennington and talked about the importance of mental health, urging everyone to reach out and listen to each other.

 

Due to the enormous length of the original interview, everything has been split into a series of 14 videos. Watch them in the playlist below and don’t forget to check out Jeff Blue’s book on Amazon and to follow Blue and McDermott on social media.

 

One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park on Amazon

 

Jeff Blue links: Website / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

 

Rob McDermott links: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

 


OPEN PLAYLIST

 

 

Ryan Shuck

Published: August 1, 2021

 

Danny Hayes sent the first Hybrid Theory demos to Bennett Kaufman, Don Gilmore’s manager, in November 1999. The band entered NRG Recording Studios with the producer in March 2000 to start recording and a band called Orgy was next door working on their album Vapor Transmission. “We were in studio B I think and they were in studio A. It's a building that's cut in half right. I mean, it's connected and you can go through doors but they're the same size studios and just A and B. And so labels rent out like an entire site for the band. There's break rooms and there's, you know, places to eat and it's a really nice studio. And Linkin Park’s did a ton of work there and so did we. So this was like a home to us,” Ryan Shuck, their guitarist at the time, explained. He was the “social butterfly” in his group and would bring drinks over to whoever was next door. He noticed a little skinny guy with “wiry hair” walking around and thought he had a friendly appearance. “Then I heard one day this screaming in the hallway. But it wasn't screaming, it was just ‘Ah!’ You know? The full... you know? And yelling. But it was really good and I went in the hallway and I go ‘Who is that?’ And in Chester goes ‘It's me.’ I go ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ He's like ‘Oh, I'm just warming up and I just yell sometimes to get warmed up and everything.’ ‘Oh dude, you're gonna blow your throat out doing that!’ I'm like ‘That's insane! You're just,’ like ‘I can hear you through the wall! And we're in a recording studio!’ And we were laughing and we both went out front and just started talking and we ended up talking for hours.” After that, the two would frequently leave their bands to meet up and talk to each other. As they learned, they had a lot in common. Both loved the same music, came from extremely hot and dirty hometowns and Chester was sleeping in his car, something Ryan was all too familiar with. So he invited Chester to live in his house and met Samantha, Chester’s wife at the time, and they all became friends.

 

Ryan’s bandmates started getting curious about the other band he was hanging out with, so he invited Orgy to go into the studio next door and listen to their music. “We went over and listened to their music and we heard what became Hybrid Theory. I heard it and I looked at Chester and I go... And he's ‘What do you think?’ And I go ‘Well, I think that we're going to be opening for you soon.” And he started laughing” Turns out Linkin Park were actually big fans of Orgy and were really excited about getting their approval. “A couple of our songs were songs that Mike and Brad had kind of brought to the band and said ‘This is how good bands are now. We have to be this good or better.’ I don't know how accurate it is. That's just what Chester told me and I thought that was really incredible, really sweet, and I was super honored. But I knew when I heard their music that this was significant for society and I knew that Chester was going to be one of the greatest singers of the modern age.”

 

Linkin Park and Orgy never toured together, but they were in the same bill for a few events throughout 2000 and 2001, namely KEDJ's That Damn Show, Live 105's Halloween Freakshow, WBRU's 31st Birthday Bash and Buzzfest VII. Amir Derakh and Paige Haley were reportedly in the audience when Linkin Park opened for (hed) p.e. at Atlanta’s The Masquerade in 2000 and Chester sang Fiction (Dreams In Digital) with Orgy at Vault 350 on October 15, 2004. We asked Ryan if Chester had performed on the song at other occasions, but he told us this was a one time occurrence. “It was right across the street from my house in downtown Long Beach when I lived there and Chester ended up living there too for... It's so funny, we lived in the same places. He lived at my house, we did, it's such a crazy history. But yeah, so we were hanging around a lot back then. Like a lot. And they had recently played downtown and then we were playing that show. And I can't remember. It was just one of those simple things like ‘Dude, you got to come up and play the song with us.’ And he just did it and it was super cool. It was super fun because, you know, I don't know that you'll ever or anyone will ever see Orgy again. At least not the real Orgy, you know? Because Jay doesn't want to do it with us. So it's a special thing.”

 

In the interview, Ryan mentions a photo from his birthday party in his, at the time, new loft where Chester is on his back. The photo was posted on his Instagram and can be seen here:

 

Ryan and Chester

Ryan Shuck and Chester Bennington | Reproduction: @therealryanshuck on Instagram

 

While on tour for Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park started working on their first remix album, Reanimation. Having in mind that the album credits aren’t entirely accurate, as we learned last year that Saki Kaskas made uncredited contributions to 1stp Klosr and that Vin Skully had no real input on the Papercut remix that made the album, we decided to ask whether or not other Orgy members were involved on Pts.Of.Athrty and his answer was:

 

Linkin Park was on Warner Brothers and Orgy was on Reprise. So Reprise is a subdivision of Warner Brothers, so we were on the same label essentially. So there's a whole lot of, kind of inner commingling. And the bands were friends and Jay at the time was really trying to kind of do remixes and stuff and kind of utilize the fact that he's in Orgy to get this other stuff. And so he ended up getting that remix and did it and it turned out great. I mean, it was a very successful remix and it did amazing. But no, it wasn't, I don't remember it being offered to Orgy and at the time I certainly wasn't doing remixes or anything like that.

 

The band also did the first demos and early sessions for Meteora inside their tour bus studio in 2001, overlapping and later slightly delayed in 2002 by the continuing work on Reanimation. Ryan got the chance to listen to some of that early material for Meteora from Chester. “That point was a whole lot of, you know, watching him kill it and just achieve more and more. And then when album two was getting ready to happen for Linkin Park and he sent me the initial songs and all that kind of stuff, and he was nervous and hoping that it wouldn't be a sophomore slump, and it was a great album. It was the right move and there's great songs on it. And Breaking The Habit and all. I was like ‘Okay. Well dude, you guys just, you broke the mold is what you did. It's fucking great. I mean, this is going to do awesome.’ And it did awesome.”

 

He says it was around that period that their issues with addiction started becoming more prevalent and they started wondering if a deeper problem was slowly emerging. “You know, he put up with me. I was a fucking... I was hell on wheels, you know? And we both were, but he was a sweetheart. I could be a little more aggressive and he liked me no matter what. No matter how much of a fucker I could be. I really love that about him,” he recalls. The song previously mentioned by Ryan, Breaking The Habit, actually had its lyrics written by Mike Shinoda as an attempt to help Chester and let him know he was hurting himself as they explained on MTV’s The Ride back in 2014.

 

More recently, Ryan was struggling with alcohol abuse and depression from the loss of his friend Chester Bennington. He says the down time during the covid-19 pandemic was the catalyst of his decision to voluntarily check himself into rehab to be treated, publicly announced on May 3, 2020 via Instagram. “I just thought that he would want me to live. And he would want me to try to see what it would be like to be free of the addiction. And because I know that we struggled with it together. And so for the first time I decided, you know, the world's shutting down, so I'm gonna go ahead and lock myself in a medical prison and get some help and I did it.” He did so the day following his announcement, right after recording Julien-K’s performance for Talinda’s 320 Festival. He went through over 80 days of rehab and grief counseling; and as of the recording of this interview he is thankfully 445 days sober and feeling great about it.

 

He says it was around that period that their issues with addiction started becoming more prevalent and they started wondering if a deeper problem was slowly emerging. “You know, he put up with me. I was a fucking... I was hell on wheels, you know? And we both were, but he was a sweetheart. I could be a little more aggressive and he liked me no matter what. No matter how much of a fucker I could be. I really love that about him,” he recalls. The song previously mentioned by Ryan, Breaking The Habit, actually had its lyrics written by Mike Shinoda as an attempt to help Chester and let him know he was hurting himself as they explained on MTV’s The Ride back in 2014.

 

I'm doing a lot of music and a lot of good things are happening with both Adema and Julien-K. Julien-K just had a hit single and video. Adema is about to drop their first single and we have an amazing video and I think it's gonna blow Linkin Park fans away. It's gonna blow Adema fans away. And I just think that I'm starting to do the best music I've ever done and... I don't know, I'm in a pretty good place despite all the problems. I'm okay, so that's a good thing.

 

 

Back in May, Julien-K released a collaborative single with The Anix, a former rock band that is currently a solo electronic project run by producer Brandon Smith. The song, titled Your Lies Are Like Fire, is a rework of Lies Like Fire off Julien-K’s most recent album Harmonic Disruptor and was created exclusively for the FiXT Radium: Nova compilation assembled by Celldweller's independent "future rock" label FiXT Radium. They recently finished their next studio album Trauma Echoes and Ryan told us about a song they had been trying to finish for several years and is finally ready for release. “We have a new song that we think we're going to release soon that's from our new Trauma Echoes album and we ended up working with another artist on it because we couldn't figure out how to do the chorus. And when you get a fresh set of eyes on it, and he just comes in and goes ‘What about this?’ And he just does this whole thing. Well, now we're like ‘Okay, yeah, we never thought of that. That's a great idea.’ So now we have a solution to the song. And so that song's been sitting there for three years.”

 

When Julien-K was first starting, Ryan and Amir were looking for a vocalist for the group until Chester talked Ryan into becoming the frontman. Ryan recalls that in Orgy, no one wanted to be the lead singer. He and Jay Gordon argued over it and in the end Jay was chosen for being taller. Nevertheless, Ryan always did vocals for the band. “In Orgy, you know, I sang a lot and wrote vocals and wrote lead vocals and sang. I mean if you watch live Orgy vocal songs there's songs where I'm singing half the song. Literally half the song. So I've always been a singer, you know, on our albums and live. But I never wanted to be the lead singer and I never thought that I was good enough. And Chester was the first one to come in when I was writing the Julien-K stuff initially and just told me, like ‘Look, you shouldn't be looking for a singer. You are the singer.’”

 

Sometimes Chester would come up with vocal ideas for the songs and teach Ryan how to sing them. Other times he’d record vocals for Ryan to practice until he was ready to replace Chester’s guide vocals. During a live stream on Facebook in 2017 in promotion of Time Capsule: A Future Retrospective, he said some of the demos included in the box set still had those vocals from Chester in the background, citing Shaking as one of those tracks where it was most apparent. Chester went as far as filling in as Julien-K’s frontman at a September 1st, 2007 Projekt Revolution Tour show in Tinley Park when Ryan needed to absent himself in order to attend a brother's wedding. Chester ended up being credited as executive producer on Julien-K’s debut album Death To Analog. “He did sing on a lot of stuff, you know? We didn't put a lot of the... you know, we would take him off because we don't want to have issues with the label having a problem with him being on a recording of ours. So that's one of the reasons to say I can't confirm or deny. But yeah, there is stuff that he's been on. Technical Difficulties, the screaming ‘we are’ just like he did live. Yeah, I believe on our album. I believe he's credited and he is on there. I can't confirm or deny, I think. I don't know.” In a previous interview to LPLive, Ryan stated that “executive producer” was the only way to legally describe what Chester brought to the record. They started writing in 2003 or 2004 with a song called Everyone Knows and the final song done for the record was Futura.

 

Chester really liked the Julien-K material and wanted to join the band. “Like ‘what are you gonna do? Because if you're gonna sing then I might as well stop singing, you know? Because you're so good,” Ryan told him. That’s when they decided to start a new band together, giving birth to Dead By Sunrise.

 

The oldest known Dead By Sunrise song is Morning After. The first public knowledge of the song came on June 4th, 2001 when Linkin Park headlined the Brixton Academy in London while touring for Hybrid Theory. Fans reported Chester said the song was written about "sleeping in my car," which is something that happened during the recording of the album. On a LPU chat the following year however, he said he came up with the song "about 6 years ago," which would mean it was written around 1996 when he was still a member of Grey Daze. Last year we asked Sean Dowdell if it was originally meant for Grey Daze and if he had any recollection of the song pre-Bucket Of Weenies. "The lyrics may have been but not the melody or music. The song was primarily written in 2003/2004 during a bucket of weenies rehearsal. It was something that Chester and Ryan had been working on before Dead by Sunrise was put together and we all were there for that particular song in its infancy. We did a version and then when DBS was fully formed they rewrote some of the parts," Sean told us. We then sent him the September 12, 2001 recording of Chester playing it in Berlin, to which he replied, “Yeah def not one of our songs. When we put the music together on it BOW I had not known he wrote it a couple years prior. That is truly interesting! That whole time I thought it was something he had just written at the time. Too cool!”

 

We asked Ryan if he knew the story of how this song came to be. He believes it existed before Linkin Park, but isn’t sure. “I think I'd heard it at his house. You know, after like a hangout. And usually people would kind of go in the corners and kind of talk and go outside. And me and him would sit there and play guitar and sing and talk. And he played me Morning After.” He says the song was just a “skeleton” back then, with acoustic riffs and vocals, and that’s how most of the Dead By Sunrise songs started.

 

The group did their first live performance at the ReAct Now: Music & Relief event in 2005, playing an acoustic version of Let Down. In the 2009 interview we did with Ryan, he explained, “That was how the song went originally – it really was an acoustic song. We sort of made it more rock in the recording process.” Photos of the rehearsal can be found in the book that comes with Julien-K’s Time Capsule. The release was also dedicated to Chester as seen on this Instagram post.

 

 

He explained both Morning After and Let Down went through the same process. “He came in and he actually sat right here with the guitar and we recorded him with a microphone over there. We put it right here. Just recorded it, that's it. Just the parts that he had. Just play the song and sing it and then he's like ‘Okay. Well, I'm gonna go home. You guys do whatever you want with it.’ And we took that thing and we built more, Let Down, the way it is now. And he came back in the next day, we played it for him and he fucking ran out of the room, ran through the house and came back in. He's like ‘Ah! Fucking wow! It's like a fucking whole band!’ And he ran out of the house, ran around and he ran back in the studio and he's like ‘We're like a band!’ We were laughing and we're like ‘yeah.’ And that's kind of how Dead By Sunrise kind of started.”

 

The first studio version of Morning After was released in 2006 as part of the Underworld: Evolution soundtrack as is regarded as a remix as Chester explained to The Aquarian in 2009: “it has some guitars taken out, and a more danceable beat to kind of fit the mode of the soundtrack a little more.” It was credited to "Chester Bennington vs. Julien-K."

 

The only other track by the band to be credited this way - released in that period as well - is their remix of the Mindless Self Indulgence song What Do They Know? Ryan says Julien-K were friends with Mindless Self Indulgence and looking for remixes, so the track was offered to them. He explained how Chester got involved, “Keep in mind the beginning of Dead By Sunrise and Julien-K and in that era of Linkin Park was all kind of happening in this studio all together. So everything that we were always working on, you would have a day that would be half Dead By Sunrise morphing into Julien-K and then, you know, you can imagine there would be next to me, there's different people that are working on the stuff and all around me there's all these guitars, and behind us there's keyboards everywhere. And we're just being creative and working. So when a remix comes through, it kind of comes into the factory and we all were like ‘Hey, let's work on it together. Let's have Chester be part of it. Let's have me be part of it. Let's have,’ you know? ‘Let's do it as a group.’ And that's kind of how that kind of stuff happened.”

 

Dead By Sunrise Songboard

Dead By Sunrise songboard | Reproduction: julien-k.com circa 2007

 

We inquired Ryan about the titles Hard Life, Introutro, Instrumental, Wall Of Sound, Split Personality and Evil Twin that fans saw on boards during the recording of Out Of Ashes and he told us some were probably unreleased ideas while others were working titles for songs on the album, but he isn’t sure which ones. “I think Evil Twin might have been Condemned. Hard Life, I can't remember. I still have that board. I have to go back and look at it and talk to Amir because I don't know that... I couldn't tell you what is still like an unfinished song and what was finished on that board. I'll have to go back and look at it sometime when I go back to our storage warehouse and break it out and kind of check out what it is and see if there's any other references on it for what those were.” He said most of the songs they did were released, but there are still some unfinished tracks. They never went through them because it was something they planned to do with Chester. He completes saying they might do it at some point.

 

Frank Zummo, who was Julien-K’s drummer for a while, told Alternative Press in 2017 that Dead By Sunrise planned a surprise reunion show at Marquee Theatre on April 28, 2012 where both Julien-K and Zummo’s other band Street Drum Corps were supposed to perform, but unfortunately the event was canceled without any explanation. Ryan says he honestly doesn’t remember why it didn’t happen.

 

The final Dead By Sunrise performance took place at the Stars Of The Season Gala in 2011. This was after Brandon Belsky parted ways with Julien-K, so the group went back to the origins and did an acoustic show with only the 3 core members: Chester, Ryan and Amir; even incorporating a few Julien-K and Linkin Park songs to the set. Recordings of the two Julien-K songs, I'll Try Not To Destroy You and Palm Springs Reset, were included in their Time Capsule release. The band have touched on the subject of a similar collection of unreleased Dead By Sunrise material a few times in the past years, so we asked Ryan about the current status of the project and from what he told us, it seems unlikely to happen because there are too many parties involved in Chester’s intellectual property and sometimes they have conflicting interests. Explaining the difference between the Julien-K and the Dead By Sunrise collections, he said, “I don't remember specifically what we did, but I think we had gotten permission for that stuff. I think from Chester. See, when Chester was around, the permission was ‘Yes. Oh yeah.’ He would just be like ‘Anything you guys want to do I'm behind,’ you know? He encouraged us to do stuff. He encouraged us to utilize the stuff that we've created together. He wanted to be part of our stuff. So, you know, it's just now he's not here to speak for himself. So it's just a little bit more of a group now, of people that kind of represent his interest. It's harder for us to, you know? We just have to be more careful with how we do things.”

 

Because of that encouragement from Chester, Julien-K started occasionally playing the Dead By Sunrise songs during their sets, even prior to Chester passing away. Ryan reveals they actually invited Chester to sing Let Down at the Gypsy Den acoustic show in 2015, but the singer was busy that day. He then explained why they have chosen Let Down and Morning After in particular. “He always encouraged us to play the music, promote the music, do stuff with the brand. He wanted it because it's our band as well, so he wanted us to utilize it. And so I was like, if we're not playing together, I'll add it into our sets. But Let Down is the one that would work the best acoustically and with my voice. So it was just kind of an obvious choice for us to, you know? I can sing it good and play it, and it just works good acoustically. So we could play it with the Julien-K acoustic set and then we played at some memorials for Chester. We played Morning After and Let Down again. Just trying to find songs that work with our instrumental setup and that work with my voice. So the things that I can sing really well and still sound like me.” He adds they're also popular songs from their catalog and mentioned the One More Light Memorial II in Italy where they were able to add Into You and Inside Of Me to the set with fans doing the lead vocals and Julien-K as their backing band. They were expected to do an encore of some Dead By Sunrise songs at the September 25, 2018 show in London but Ryan was exhausted from travelling and dropped them from the set. “I didn't do it in England and they were bummed, but I'll do it when I can. I'll do it when I'm feeling strong and I have it inside my heart. You know, my soul.”

 

Their plans for Dead By Sunrise for the future involve a Patreon live streaming series about the making of Out Of Ashes where fans can ask questions in real time about the music and lyrics for each track on the album. Ryan first talked about it in a video published on Instagram in March: “We're gonna actually gonna get through every song, through a few months, track by track. We're gonna go through the demos, and we're gonna isolate Chester, we're gonna isolate all parts, the guitars and all of this kind of stuff. And just spend some time really talking about it and celebrating an album that we know that Chester loved and did such an amazing work on it. And you know, these demos, a lot of people haven't heard them.” However, he told us they'd need to have enough people following the series to justify the costs and asked fans to spread the word and sign up to their Patreon to make it happen.

 

On June 14, 2019, Adema started teasing a Fall 2019 tour in North America with a photo showing silhouettes of five band members. While some more dedicated fans recognized Ryan in the middle right away, others didn’t and this started rumors that Mark Chavez had returned to the band. This obviously isn’t what happened.

 

Ryan explained that Adema sold “over a million albums” and still received tour offers, so he tried to convince Mark to return to the group for a tour with Julien-K. “I talked to Marky for a couple of weeks with the band. And Marky and I was kind of negotiating for them. And finally, my last conversation with Marky, he goes ‘I just don't like that music. I just don't want to sing it.’” He broke the news to the band and they seemed ready to call it quits. Six or seven months later they received another offer for a big tour and drummer Kris Kohls called Ryan to confide his frustration. “They were all bummed, you know? They were like ‘fuck man, this is our job and we can't go do our job.’ And I know what that's like because I'm in Orgy, so I know what it's like to have it taken away from you because the singer doesn't want to do it and have all of your job and your livelihood taken from you.” That’s when Kohls invited Ryan to tour with the band. He secretly drove to Bakersfield for a test rehearsal with the band and says “it sounded fucking great. They were all excited.” Ryan broke the news to Amir and they came up with a plan to split his responsibilities between Adema and Julien-K.

 

Ryan Shuck was confirmed as Adema’s new frontman on June 19th through an interview with Loudwire. This came with the announcement of a month-long tour with Powerman 5000, (hed) p.e. and The Genitorturers; their first tour since 2017. The setlists were focused on songs from the first two studio albums, Adema (2001) and Unstable (2003), and the first EP, Insomniac's Dream (2002), all recorded with Mark on vocals. Ryan says there’s no interest on his part to play anything from Planets (2005), Kill The Headlights (2007) or Topple The Giants (2013), which were each recorded with a different singer. The sound of the early work is what they intended to pursue on the new songs, adding a modern twist to the genre with the aid of Ryan’s bandmate and business partner Amir Derakh who produced the album. He credits all the training he did with Chester for him being able to scream on both the old and the new Adema music.

 

“I've never joined someone else's band. I've always started my own bands, I've always been the boss and I've always been the singer or the lead guy in almost every situation. To come in and fill someone else's shoes who arguably is a really well-known and popular singer... Marky Chavez, he sounds like Jonathan Davis. That's really hard to figure out how you're gonna do that and I just said, you know, we're all from Bakersfield, we all have this mentality. So we're gonna zero in on that hard and we're gonna do the first two albums that I know that all of your fans love. The other albums are kind of, they're kind of split. Not everyone's liking it, not... You know, different singers. All those kind of stuff. And I'm not really interested in singing their stuff to be honest with you. I didn't resonate as much with that. I resonated more with album one and two and I said the music that we're gonna write, if fans like me singing it, and if this works, the music that we're gonna write is gonna be: we're gonna go back and look at those first two albums and remember where we came from. And we're gonna re-embrace a modern interpretation of nu metal because I feel like that's missing right now. I feel like that needs to happen. So all this other stuff you guys did, it's cool but I don't wanna do the musical journey with you. I want to do what I think the band should be doing. And that's where I'm going. And that's sort of why we play music from the first two albums. Because I needed to make sure that I could sing it my way and that the majority of fans would like it. And the majority have liked it.”

 

The group shot their first music video on July 5th at Electric Pony Studios with an expected release of the single on August 20th. Ryan says the video might arrive a week later, “maybe a Tuesday or something,” in accordance to how music is promoted in the current age. “I can't tell you what the theme of the video is. I've got to let the video be a surprise, but all I can tell you is that I think that the fans of that genre of music are going to really, really, really resonate with it because it's very authentic. But there is a cool concept to it.”

 

Adema will be touring the U.S. with Flaw for the entire month of September on the Ready To Die Tour in support of the new music. Watch below an audience recording of Adema performing the eponymous song off their upcoming record or watch a proshot clip of the live debut on their Facebook page. The song was performed for the first time at a private live stream on SessionsLive.com on April 16, 2021. The band wrote about the song, “Fun little fact about our new song READY TO DIE: the band had not heard the vocals Ryan wrote until the day of the performance! Ryan gave Tim the top lines of each chorus over the phone and Tim sang them perfectly w Ryan first try!! This performance is the first time we’ve completed the whole song live together! Super rad to do and we’re stoked at the response.”

 

 

Adema toured as a supporting act for Linkin Park for three consecutive years during the Hybrid Theory European Tour in 2001, the Projekt Revolution Tour 2002 and the make-up shows for the rescheduled Meteora European Tour in 2003. Their vocalist at the time, Mark Chavez, joined Linkin Park on stage at several shows to lend his vocals to One Step Closer. In turn, Chester joined them for Giving In as guitarist Tim Fluckey confirmed to us in 2017. "I’m sure he did a few times. I don’t know f there’s any video of it around though.. no smartphones back then." Chester singing live with Adema started false rumors in the early 2000’s of him being featured in the studio version of the song. What he did do is a cameo on their music video for The Way You Like It.

 

Ryan revealed it was actually Chester who got Adema on all those tours after watching them live. “That's how they got on those shows, Chester picked them. He went out there after seeing them. Went out into the parking lot when they're sitting there all fucking, you know, poor and in a shitty fucking vehicle. And probably packing up their stuff. And probably drinking beers in the parking lot. And that's the kind of guy Chester was, you know? He went out there and he fucking... he was their champion. Just like he did for us and just like I did for him, you know? He had their back and so they have a very special place in their hearts for him and it makes me feel good about doing this with them. Because I feel like Chester would go ‘You should go in and save that band. They don't deserve to sit at home not making money off their music and not playing for their fans.’ Just like he did for Stone Temple Pilots.”

 

Watch the interview below and don’t forget to:

 

Follow Adema on: Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook
Follow Julien-K on: Website | Patreon | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | SoundCloud
Follow Dead By Sunrise on: Instagram | YouTube | Facebook
Follow Ryan Shuck on: Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook

 

 

 

DJ Crook

Published: July 8, 2021

 

DJ Crook is the stage name of John Molina, a DJ based in Los Angeles best known as a member of Deftones side projects DecibelDevils and Team Sleep. In 2001 he was given My December to remix for possible inclusion on Linkin Park's first remix album, Reanimation. His remix was rumored to have been "too dark" to make the album and has become one of the most sought after unreleased songs in the Linkin Park community. Last year community member MS2000 contacted DJ Crook to inquire about the remix and has kindly allowed us to include his piece in this article.

 

Q: I don't want to bother so if you don't want to answer it's ok, i wanted to know if you still have your Linkin Park's My December Remix, i found it listed on a Reanimation unreleased list

 

I might have it on CD somewhere

 

Q: Oooh, seriously? That's golden If you ever found it would you mind to share?

 

Ahh. Sorry. I personally don't plan on sharing. (who knows, maybe someday?). That would be up to LP. Haha.

 

Q: Oooh nice, did they gave you all the Hybrid theory songs list? or they already had the remix planed for others? (for example, The Alchemist did the remix for "Frgt/10", one last question haha, why did you ended choosing My December? i love this song, it was recorded after Hybrid Theory was done haha.

 

They contacted me about doing a remix shortly after the white pony album dropped and gave me a list of songs to choose from...I chose My December. They sent me a CD with acapella and I basically did it in my room.

 

Q: And how your remix sounded? i don't remember if was your remix that sounded too dark for the album it was it? this is the true last question haha

 

Yeah that was probably it. It was a lil dark...slow...electronic-y, but still low fi sounding. I think mostly all the other remixes were real fast or 'dancey' if I remember correctly I dunno

 

Follow DJ Crook on social media:
Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Twitch

 

 

 

 

*Interviews by Andrew Mariolis, Anthony Staten, Dmitry Zaporozhchenko, Gabriel Martins, Jay Sinkie and Mark Terrell.

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