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|Out Of The Blue
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Interview Part 1: Honda Civic Tour
Linkin Park and Incubus vocalists team up to discuss co-headlining summer tour
The 11th Annual Honda Civic Tour will drive and park
itself in Cincinnati at Riverbend Music Center today
with a dynamite lineup featuring Linkin Park, Incubus
and Mutemath—the first time these three bands have
ever shared the same stage. The history of Honda
Civic Tour bands include: Everclear, Maroon 5, New
Found Glory, The Black Eyed Peas, Paramore and
last year’s co-headliners Blink-182 and My Chemical
Romance. Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington
and Incubus lead vocalist Brandon Boyd joined more
than 15 journalists for a 90-minute conference call
interview that included Out Of The Blue. The two
vocalists shared their thoughts about this year’s 15-
date tour, what casual fans and hardcore fans can
expect, the tour’s production, writing on the road,
spontaneous touring moments, tour advice and more.
What can fans expect from this year’s tour?
Chester Bennington: Well, I think that for us, I mean,
really, I think the most special thing about this tour is
the fact that you have two headlining bands singing
together on one bill, which typically can be kind of hard
to do, specifically, because usually when you’re in a
position to headline a tour of this kind, you know,
there’s only room for one headlining band usually. So
the fact that Incubus gets to come out and perform a
full headlining set and soul production and Linkin Park
gets to come out and perform our full headlining set
with personal production and everything is kind of
special. But also, we kind of don’t really look at what
the other artists have done on these tours and kind of
go, “OK, what do we think we should do?” We’re just
going to go out and do what our fans want from us
which is, you know, play songs that they’re familiar
with and catch up on some on the new music and
become familiar with that. So really I think from Linkin
Park’s standpoint, we’re just going to come out and put
on the highest-energy show we can. And incorporate
as much of the new music as possible. And I’m
expecting that Incubus will probably do the same.
Brandon Boyd: I just think it’s a good moment and a
great opportunity to have kind of just a, you know, two
big giant rock ‘n roll bands sharing a stage. I just think
that’s going to be better than either of us would do in
our own show, it’s two headlining sets, including Mute
Math which is going to be a good time as well. So it’s
almost like a mini-festival, which is amazing. And
Incubus has done a Honda Civic-sponsored tour
before. It may have been one of Honda Civic’s first
ones, I’m not sure, but that was like, over 10 years
ago. And I remember it being really, really great. And I
think the listeners and friends and fans and family who
came out to those shows had a really great
experience, too. So I know that we as a band are really
looking forward to doing it again this year. And
personally, this will be the end of our touring cycle for
our newest record, and so we’re looking forward to just
making some music and I’m very much looking
forward to seeing Linkin Park with my own eyes for the
first time since... I mean, I saw you guys, I think, once
at a radio show, like over 10 years ago as well. So I
think it’s going to be fun to be able to see you guys
Can you talk about why you wanted to team up for
this tour and having Linkin Park fans seeing
Incubus and having Incubus fans seeing Linkin
Park, what that can kind of do for your own fans?
Brandon Boyd: I personally think it’s an occasion
that’s kind of long overdue. We have a lot of mutual
listeners, our bands, and I think that it’s one of those
things that once the idea was floated, and we really
kind of caught onto it, that it seemed like, “Why haven’t
we done this yet?” type of a thing. Linkin Park has a
considerably larger reach than Incubus has had and I
think it’s going to be wonderful for us as a band to play
in front of more people. [laughs] So we definitely
appreciate the opportunity there. But I personally think
that it’s just going to be great because of the carryover
between the listeners, you know there are a lot of
Linkin Park listeners who are also Incubus listeners
and vice versa. But we’ve never done something like
this before. So as far as the feedback is concerned
from people around the world-—Incubus has been on
tour for the past year—once this tour was announced
it’s been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic.
Chester Bennington: Thank you, Brandon. I agree. I
think that, um, it’s funny because in Linkin Park we all
have the things that we do better than other guys do,
so for example I’m really bad at reading long-form legal
Brandon Boyd: You are?! [laughing]
Chester Bennington: Like I just don’t get [it] and
most of it doesn’t make any sense to me anyways.
You know, there are guys in the band who are much
better and more qualified to kind of go through that
process than me. So one of the places that I actually
can contribute some skill or input that matters is on
touring. Typically I’ve been pretty, even in my loosest form, I’ve been involved in figuring out who we tour with for a long time. And so, I swear, it feels
like I’ve probably tried to figure out a way to get Linkin Park and Incubus on the road together at least once per cycle since probably Meteora. It just
goes to show how difficult it can be to actually get two headlining groups together. Kind of going back to that first question, you know, it was
surprising to me that we haven’t actually done more touring with Incubus than we have in the last 15 years. So for the fact that like we do share such
a big, I think, group of fans that kind of listen to both bands, I still feel like there’s a large number of people that, um, are Incubus fans that never really
got into Linkin Park, or kind of vice versa. But I think that there’s a common interest there. And so I feel like that’s one of the things that’s been so
positive, overwhelmingly positive, about everyone’s response to our bands going on tour together is that I think it gives both of our fans something
that they’ve wanted for a long time, which is to see Incubus and go see Linkin Park, because I think they’ve had to choose a lot of times on which
band they’re going to go see because we’ve both been on tour. Or when we’re on tour in the U.S., Incubus is off in the Pacific Rim, hopping all over
Asia or somewhere in Europe and we’re down in Asia. It just never works out. So I think the fact that they’re ending their cycle and we’re kind of
beginning ours and this is a very specific time in our career that things have lined up for us to be able to do a tour like this together. We get to go out
and just fully express ourselves as artists and really do whatever we want to do with this energy we feel our fans are going to want. I think that that’s
something that’s really special. And so I’m very appreciative to the people on the Civic Tour. You know, having the vision to kind of understand, that
this is something that is rare and is something that people are going to be excited to go see. You know you never get to go see Bon Jovi and Kiss at
the same time.
Brandon Boyd: This is our rock tour.
Chester Bennington: Yeah, this to me feels as exciting as a lot of the concerts that I would be excited to go to when I was a kid. That was I think
one of the reasons why Lollapalooza when I was young became so important so quickly. It was because it was the only place that you could go see,
you know, the Chili Peppers and Ministry and, you know, Pearl Jam and all these bands play together. And Ice Cube. But there’s no way you were
going to see all these bands together, you know? And that’s been the inspiration for modern festivals and I think that the fact that this does kind of
feel like a little mini-festival even though there are only three bands [laughs]. It does have that feeling of something that’s going to be a show that you
wanna go see. ‘Cuz it’s got something special. I’m excited. I also hope that our bands can walk away inspired from each other. I’ve always
appreciated Incubus for their music. And they’re also very good live. I’ve had the chance to pop over and watch them play a couple songs onstage
here and there at some festivals throughout our career and they’re a great live band. So I think the energy is going to be really amazing out in the
crowd. So I would actually like to be down there to watch the show, but I don’t know if that’s going to be possible. [chuckles]
Brandon Boyd: It’s time to start training an understudy and then, uh, do some plastic surgery on him, and then sneak into the crowd.
Chester Bennington: Exactly. I think that would actually be cheaper than a hologram.
Brandon Boyd: That’s right, get a hologram of yourself and then you can, uh… [laughing]
Chester Bennington: That would be great, though. I’m just putting it out there. If anyone does have the hologram technology, and it looks real, I
would be open to taking the hologram out on the road.
Brandon Boyd: Right.
Chester, as you referenced earlier too, this is the very beginning of the Living Things cycle, what’s going to happen on the horizon
after the Honda Civic Tour, and, you guys do have a habit of the next album tends to start when you’re on the road, so I’m wondering if
that process has started already too.
Chester Bennington: Um, usually in the beginning of the touring cycle we kind of focus on what we’re going to be doing with the new music. You
know, touring at this point, for us, is pretty awesome and at the same time it works against you to a certain degree. Because I realized the other day,
I was thinking about it, why is it more difficult to get casual fans into new music? I think it’s because when we started touring it was just Hybrid
Theory and Hybrid Theory was like 36-minutes long. So basically you know when you’re headlining a tour, we started out opening shows which was
great because we played for 15 minutes and then leave, 25 minutes and leave. So when we got to the point where people fell in love with what we
were doing and were listening to us and we were the headlining band, we were forced to play our entire record. Like, every single night. And so
people were I think falling in love with the record in a different way. And even with Meteora, once we had that record it was like, OK, we basically
have enough music to fill a proper headlining set. And so we’ve essentially played both records all the way through for our entire first five years, six
years of touring. And so once you get to that point where you have a bunch of songs that people have heard on the radio and it becomes more [or]
less about playing everything you have and more about playing the songs that people are familiar with. We’re at that point now where it’s like, we’ve
been around for over a decade, that makes it sound more important, I think. [laughter] We’ve been around for over 10 years and we’ve been, this is
our fifth record, we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of songs that do really well off of our records and so, a lot of people come there to hear the songs
that they know. And adding in new material becomes something that is a little bit more difficult for us over the last few records because most of the
songs that are really great are like, midtempo songs. And Linkin Park isn’t the band that you go to see [with] chairs on the floor in the arena. No one
wants to come to a Linkin Park show and stand there and look at the band and listen to beautiful music. People want that, but they also want to be
kicked in the face and they want to, you know, run into each other and they want to jump up and down and sing and have a really great, high-energy
time. And so being able to incorporate a lot of new material into our set just felt like it was bringing too much of the energy down. So I think what we’
re doing on this tour is like with the new record, the new record has so much energy that we feel like we could add a bunch of new music to the set
and people will be stoked about it. Casual fans are there to hear the three songs that they love, and go “Oh yeah, I didn’t know they did this song
too!” Those fans will actually enjoy hearing the new music at these shows. Right now at this point we’re focused on making sure the new material is
up to speed and that we’re familiar with it enough to go and play it live. And then at that point, you know, once that kind of calms down that’s usually
when the creative process starts to kick in. Because now we’re not creating a show and we’re working on learning new music. Cuz that’s
something we don’t do, we don’t sit and jam, we don’t hang out as a band and write music together. That’s just not what we do. So a lot of our
connection time and what you would think would be stereotypical band moment time really comes from when we’re learning these new songs and
rehearsing and going out and playing these new songs as a set for the first time. And then everything’s new and fresh and I think because we’re
adding so much of the new record over the next few months to our live set, that’s what we’re focused on. But once that calms down, that creative
hunger is going to turn itself on and we’re going to start writing new music. So I would imagine by the time we’re done touring this record, we’ll be in
a similar position to what we were with A Thousand Suns. Going into Living Things. We’ll be able to just kind of go right into the studio, make
another record and put it out and kind of keep that cycle going. We’ve really got ourselves in a position now where we kind of feel like we’re touring
less as an idea of “Let’s go tour really hard for nine months and then come home” and tour really hard for nine months and then come home, and
hopefully have enough energy to want to do anything. It’s like touring for a few weeks and coming home for a month and going out and touring for a
few weeks and coming home for a month. So we’re really spending as much time home as we are on the road and I think that also encourages a
creative process because we kind of feel energized more often. So I think that kind of answers all of your questions into one ginormous answer.
Will there be any guest appearances by either of you or any members of the band? Or do you have anything like that planned?
Brandon Boyd: At the moment there’s nothing planned in the traditional sense, but it really only takes a couple of days of making music and being
on tour with new friends to become inspired by each other and each other’s mutual distinctions and idiosyncrasies and stuff and then for that desire
to share little moments arise, so I have a sneaking suspicion that some of us will be sneaking onstage in each other’s sets and I hope that you guys
are cool with that. [Laughing] We have a tendency to sneak onstage with our friends’ events once in awhile. We took this band out with us years
ago, Sparta, I don’t know if you guys remember Sparta. Amazing band. Members of From The Ashes and At the Drive-in. We became friends with
them very quickly and started playing. We went and saw the movie Dodgeball when it came out in the movie theatres. Both bands together went
and saw this film. We were laughing so hard at the movie that we started playing dodge ball in the empty arenas after the shows were over, and
became so like enthusiastic about it that we started going band against band. And the drummer Tony, of Sparta, ended up breaking his thumb from
one heroic move and rendered himself incapable of playing. And so then Kenny and Jose from our band learned all of the songs in Sparta’s set and
played for like 10 days. They took turns being the drummer of Sparta and then Tony got well enough to play by the very last show in LA and played
again. It ended up being kind of a fortuitous occasion. I’m sure it was really hard for Tony having to sit out, but it brought us closer to the band. I’m
not suggesting that someone in Linkin Park should go injured and one of us has to sit in, I’m just saying music is a communal experience and it’s
one to share. As well as to sit back and revere when your friends and their bands are in a moment. There are moments to not disturb, but there are
definitely moments when it’s fun to disturb your friends. So probably. That’s the answer to the question. It’s a long answer.
I know you’re both West Coast guys. But I’d like to know what you like most about coming to perform on the East Coast?
Chester Bennington: Well, I think that as the tour goes on the more comfortable the bands are going to be. And there’s a kind of groove that we
get into. And starting off on the East Coast and really getting into that groove is going to be great. I think that the vibe changes as you shift through
the United States. To like when you go through Europe or something. You know, a show that you play for people in Kansas. Or somewhere in Philly
is going to be different from playing in Los Angeles. It’s just a different vibe. For me, I really enjoy playing the East Coast.
Brandon Boyd: Every place that you play, that’s one of the interesting things about being on tour, especially when you play one of these large
places, some of the diversity gets lost in these venues because a lot of them are built by the same architects and owned by the same people and
you can get a little bit samey in the vibe. And what really distinguishes them is the people that come and where you are and where the people are
from. And that’s when you really get a sense of the distinctions between the places and that’s essentially what makes it really fun, is to travel to all
the different places. LA is notorious for having a very jaded crowd, as is New York. But I think that I’ve never been to a Linkin Park concert in LA or
New York, but I know for the Incubus shows, the Los Angeles audience as well as the New York audience don’t seem jaded to me at all. They seem
enthusiastic. Just in a different way. You know. You have a lot more musicians and people who are in bands and people who know people who are
in bands. So it’s maybe harder to impress them but they still have their way of appreciating things and we’ve had some of our greatest shows.
Some of our best markets are both of those places. But I personally love hearing the, sometimes you can catch accents in the crowds, people in
between songs are yelling like “You suck” or “I love you, man” or on the East Coast it’s “Play that fucking song, man.” You know? There’s more…
And the East Coast has got a little bit more grit to it, perhaps, which I find amazing. And on the West Coast you just smell pot a little bit more. A bit
more thick in the air.
Chester Bennington: Well, that’s because the weed on the East Coast smells like cigarettes. [laughs] I was just saying that for me, playing the
East Coast is really, there are other subtle differences that makes every crowd a little different. I just am used to playing the East Coast primarily in
winter, so I never really get to enjoy, like, being out in Boston because usually I’m inside because there’s like a two-inch glass sheet of ice on the
building outside. And it’s raining at the same time. And it’s like “How is there a blizzard and it’s raining?” So it’ll be nice to actually be able to get out
and enjoy the weather and you know, go out and I was talking with some of the guys in my crew the other day and they’re like “We should do
something like get a band on band soccer game.” Because we always play, we play our label every time we go to Europe. So we always end up
playing our label in Germany and playing a bunch of reporters and stuff from different publications in a soccer match and we always beat them. And
so, uh, I was like, “That’s a great idea. We should totally do that.” So I think as the tour goes on, there are going to be a lot of opportunities for band
and crew to get together and kind of get to know each other more. And hopefully by the time we make it to the West Coast, the thing that will be the
biggest difference is, somewhere along the line, in our travels from one place to the other, sometimes it comes up that we might want to do
something special for our fans. I don’t know when or where that’s going to happen, but it feels like a lot of people are kind of wondering what to
expect. Perhaps on an inspirational level where the band gets together and plays a song together or something happens where we can give our
fans something a little extra. But that’s going to come out of a moment where, you know the best moments that we capture that we’ve found in our
career are the ones that come out of a spontaneous idea in a really cool moment. And so, we’re yet to have that moment yet. But I think that
somewhere along the line, something special will happen somewhere that our fans will be talking about.
Brandon Boyd: I know a river in Ohio that we can go to and go camping and jump off of a rope swing and stuff.
Chester Bennington: That’d be great. Let’s do it. I’m down.
What is a piece of advice or a tidbit about each other’s band for the upcoming tour that you would share with each other?
Chester Bennington: Can we answer this question after the tour? Funny. You know, we both toured so much over the last 10, 12, 14 years. I can’t
keep track of it anymore. I realize that when I noticed that my oldest son has a full beard and is driving a car. I was like, “Wow.” Time just flies by.
And so the only advice I could give to any of my friends who’ve been doing this business for this long is “keep having fun.” That’s what it’s all about. I
think that this summer’s going to be really, really exciting and it’s going to be really fun for our friends to come out and see both bands play. And the
fact that we’re both known for our live performances and to be able to go out and perform every night with a band that is as respected as Incubus,
and to see them connect with their fans and then go out and do the same with our fans is going to be, it’s going to be really special. And I’m sure
that we can both swap stories about some pretty fun moments that we’ve all had on tour. But the great thing about being in a traveling rock band is
that any number of things can happen at any time. I’ve been playing racquetball in Singapore and put a racquet through my face and had to have a
plastic surgeon fly in and sew up my lip so that I could play the next day. It was like, you know…but you can’t give people advice for that. [laughter]
Brandon Boyd: Don’t hit yourself in the face with a racquet.
Chester Bennington: That’s good advice, though, man, I have to say.
Brandon Boyd: That’s actually really good advice for me, because I’m the guy that the racquet would go through my eye. I’m accident-prone. I
would say don’t bring illegal weapons through airports around sensitive times with national security. That’s a good piece of advice.
Chester Bennington: It’s something that I would never think of. I wouldn’t be thinking, “Oh, this sword I just bought in Japan is probably a good
carry-on.” I would just be thinking, “I’m just going to take this with me.”
Brandon Boyd: But it’s happened to the best of us. I’m not kidding.
Chester Bennington: I know. That’s why I’m laughing. Next question.
Brandon Boyd: It’s actually happened to two of us in our band. Once was a throwing star, once was a switchblade.
Chester Bennington: It had a blade on it, I knew…
Brandon Boyd: It had a nice sharp edge.
You guys are known for your live performances and the lights and the huge stage productions, what can fans expect from the Honda
Civic Tour? Is it going to be kind of that large production effect that we’re used to from you guys?
Chester Bennington: Every tour is kind of different. Even throughout our world tour, the whole touring cycle for the entire album, the tour kind of
changes, production-wise. It depends on where it’s at. The productions in the U.S. are typically our biggest because we can afford to have them. It’s
hard to shift really big productions all over the world, so the show in Australia is probably going to be pretty stripped-down. But at the same time, I
think that what we try to do is incorporate what we’re doing at the most present moment into our live set. So I’m really interested in seeing, I haven’t
even seen it personally yet, but I’m interested in seeing what our team at Ghost Town has put together for our show this summer. I think it’s going to
be really beautiful. So I’m excited about that. But I actually have no idea what it looks like yet.
Brandon Boyd: I’m excited to see what Linkin Park does as well. I’ve seen the videos of their full-scale production and it looks pretty amazing. I
think it’s going to be exciting. I know our production is very much in the same capacity. In the states we are able to have a full-scale production
because we can just afford to it and when we travel overseas, depending on how far it is, logistically how far it is, you’ll see different variants of the
production. But we always try and bring as exciting and big of a show as we can given the circumstances. But on the Honda Civic Tour you’re going
to see, I know from the Incubus point of view it’s going to be an amalgamation of three or four different productions and ideas that we’ve been
utilizing throughout this touring cycle. It’s going to be like kind of the best of all worlds that people have seen thus far.
The Honda Civic Tour traditionally allows the headlining band to design a Honda car as part of a sweepstakes. This year’s tour features a design by
Linkin Park inspired by the band’s latest album Living Things. Both a Honda Civic SiCoupe and a Honda CBR 250 Motorcycle will be given away to a
registered fan. Fans can register at every stop of the tour or online. The tour concludes Sept. 10 in California.