Did you know that Chester Bennington of Linkin Park wanted to punch label executives at Warner Bros in the face when producing the band's debut album? Or that the band was rejected by 45 record labels prior to finally being signed? What about the hit song that Chester originally hated and didn't want to include on the album? Stick around and we will answer these questions and more!
10 Fun Facts About Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park
1. Not First Choice
Linkin Park began in 1996 as a rap rock group performing under the name
of Xero. The name was changed to Hybrid Theory when lead vocalist
Chester Bennington joined the band. However, complications with a
electronic music duo who already went by Hybrid caused the band to go
with Linkin Park. Their debut full length album would receive the name
Hybrid Theory. Which was actually a reference to the band's combination
of different musical genres.
2. Bad Tour Buddies
Chester Bennington and company scoffed
at early criticism that Linkin Park was "nothing more than a nu metal
boy band" and played with a chip on their shoulder. Stating that the
band wanted to put on a show that went so hard that nobody would want to
invite them on tour.
“It gave us something to prove and drove us on, for sure... There was a lot of false perception about us but what we did, instead of talking about it, was make it our mission that when we played, we wanted everyone who played after us to go, ‘Fuck!’ We wanted to be the band that no one wanted to tour with because we would turn up, crush the fucking crowd and then everyone would want to leave after us. We wanted to kick people in the face.” - Bennington, The definitive story of the biggest selling debut album.., Tomas Doyle, Metal Hammer (Oct 24, 2022)
3. Hard Work Pays Off
band worked incredibly hard just to get their early demo tapes noticed.
The group auditioned and were declined by at least 45 record labels,
according to Bennington. However, good fortune paid off when the band's
A&R manager landed a job at Warner Bros. Negotiating a contract with
the label where part of his terms would allow Linkin Park to be his
“We showcased for every fucking label there was... and they all turned us down.” - Shinoda, The definitive story of the biggest selling debut album.., Tomas Doyle, Metal Hammer (Oct 24, 2022)
“No one wanted us, but we knew we had something fucking special... We just kept pushing. Most bands probably try out in front of three labels, get rejected and give up. We played in front of 45 but our attitude was, ‘These guys are fucking stupid if they can’t see what we’ve got.’ We knew what we had and never doubted it.” - Bennington, The definitive story of the biggest selling debut album.., Tomas Doyle, Metal Hammer (Oct 24, 2022)
4. Give Him The Boot
Although the band were lucky to have a new connection at Warner Bros, they still had to fight tooth and nail with the label in order to maintain their creative vision for the band. Including pressure to remove songwriter and vocalist Mike Shinoda.
However, Chester stood-up for his creative partner.
“These guys sat me down and were like, ‘Oh, you’ve got such an amazing voice, you could be such a shining star...' They wanted to see if I would pull a coup to get Mike out... They told me I’d be the face of the band and that Mike had no story ’cos he was just some kid from Agoura... They wanted some fucking rapper from New York who no one knew to come and do vocals on the record.
I just wanted to punch those idiots in the face because they couldn’t see that golden fucking teat of awesomeness that was right in front of them. Mike’s one of the most productive songwriters of our era, I think. God knows how many Number Ones we’ve had, but if he wasn’t in the band, we wouldn’t have had any of those!” - Bennington, The definitive story of the biggest selling debut album.., Tomas Doyle, Metal Hammer (Oct 24, 2022)
5. Fine With Being Dull
The band initially took a lot of heat from the hard rock music scene for creating emotionally driven music.
“I think that the difference between us and someone like Korn or Limp Bizkit is that, to me, a lot of that music was made for a frat party, a drunken brawl, slutty dudes taking their tops off and feeding off their own testosterone. What we didn’t connect with in that scene was that there wasn’t a lot of room for more introspective emotion.
People would ask us, ‘Well, Jonathan Davis practically grew up in a morgue... and all these horrible things. What gives you the right to be angry?’ But you don’t have to have gone through the worst things in the world to be sad. I think that’s something that ultimately really connected with our fans: that you don’t have to be an outcast and a fuck-up to take something from this music on an emotional level. If that makes us dull, then fine.” - Bennington, The definitive story of the biggest selling debut album.., Tomas Doyle, Metal Hammer (Oct 24, 2022)
6. Soldier With Dragonfly Wings
The iconic album art featuring a soldier with dragonfly wings was created by vocalist Mike Shinoda who was fascinated with stencil art and the works of Banksy at the time. More specifically, the stencil soldier was Shinoda's creation while another band member add the dragonfly wings as a nice touch.
"We had seen the Banksy stuff in art publications like Juxtapoz. People were passing it around and stuff, and there was this image of this monkey that said “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge.” It was the essence of Banksy — that sarcasm, political, and sociopolitical commentary.
We also love the idea of stencil art. I made the soldier; Frank [Maddocks] stenciled and sprayed it. I didn’t come up with the idea for the wings. Somebody else, either Joe [Hahn] or Frank, suggested those, and then Frank kind of laid out the whole thing with the textures and everything. I don’t think I responded to the textures and the colors of it as much as I just responded to that stencil. The stencil on its own is a definitive piece of art for the band." - Mike Shinoda, Inarguable Legacy of Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory 20 Years Later, Brady Gerber, Vulture (Oct 6, 2020)I hate to admit it but I kind of agree with Mike on this one. As a casual Linkin Park fan, the stencil and the title always stood out to me. I honestly didn't even know those were wings behind the soldier. I always thought it was just an X.
7. Crawling In The Darker Ending
The music video for "Crawling"
was created by The Brothers Strause, who had previously done special
effects for Hollywood movies including the iceberg scene from Titanic. And who would later go on to direct Alien vs. Predator : Requim and Skylines.
One of the original ideas for the "Crawling" music video include a scene inspired by the 1995 science-fiction film Species
where a psycho fan comes in at the end and kills the band. Discarding this concept was
probably a good choice considering that the film wasn't very memorable
aside from a few, ahem, shall we say *titillating* scenes starring
"We first came up with a couple ideas, a little bit more hardcore, a little bit more evil.And the record label wants it a little bit happier... So we kinda talked to the band, figured out a little bit what they wanted. Toned the treatment down, you know, kinda making sure both sides of the fence were happy." - Colin Strause, Linkin Park - the making of Crawling, Youtube (uploaded Mar 18, 2007)
8. Defining Song
While many people would
argue that "In The End" is the band's signature song, Mike Shinoda has a different opinion.
“Papercut is one of those songs that pairs up some of my favourite kinds of rock music and some of my favourite kinds of dance music... Chester and I are both rapping, both singing, and it really sums up what our band was all about. That’s why we put it at the start of the record because it was such a great introduction to who we were and who we are. I still love it to this day.” - Shinoda, The definitive story of the biggest selling debut album.., Tomas Doyle, Metal Hammer (Oct 24, 2022)
9. Mr Brightside
Although the lyrics he writes can often come across as pessimistic, songwriter Mike Shinoda insists that it's all for the art.
“In the End.” It’s such a weird one... If you listen to the lyrics, it’s so pessimistic, and I’m not really that pessimistic. Actually, my friends often accuse me of finding the silver lining in things too often. So to write those words and then have that be the biggest song off the album, it forced me to have a different perspective on what that song is for, and what the meaning of that song in the world is.
Basically, the songs were like an outreach. The songs were an invitation to the show, whether you listened to “One Step Closer” and said “That’s so dope — it’s so angry,” or if you listened to “In the End” and there was something about that pessimism and that negativity that you related to, you could come to our show. And it wasn’t a farce. That’s how I felt at the time.
But in the big picture, that’s not who I am. So people would come to the shows because they connected with these negative emotions, and we gave them something positive to rally around. The songs were like, If you feel this way, come together. We always talked about a catharsis. They got to get out all these negative and difficult thoughts and emotions." - Mike Shinoda, Inarguable Legacy of Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory 20 Years Later, Brady Gerber, Vulture (Oct 6, 2020)
10. Chester Doesn't Know
Chester decided to
stay out of the single selection process, admitting that he originally
hated "In The End" and didn't want to include it on the album.
"I don't really participate in picking singles... I was never a fan of 'In The End' and I didn't even want it to be on the record, honestly. How wrong could I have possibly been? I basically decided at that point I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about...
It also gave me a good lesson, as an artist, that I don't necessarily have to only make music... that I want to listen to. More often than not, something that I like, very few other people like, and something that those people like is something that I kind of like, or don't like at all. And that's cool, it gives me a new appreciation for the songs.But, you know, now I love 'In The End' and I think it's such a great song. I actually see how good of a song it is, it was just hard for me to see it at the time." - Bennington, Linkin Park Q&A, Jed Ahern, V Music (Aug 10, 2014)
Inarguable Legacy of Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory 20 Years Later, Brady Gerber, Vulture (Oct 6, 2020) - https://www.vulture.com/2020/10/mike-shinoda-interview-linkin-park-hybrid-theory.html
Linkin Park Q&A, Jed Ahern, V Music (Aug 10, 2014) - https://web.archive.org/web/20140810112847/http://www.vmusic.com.au/interviews/linkin-park-q-and-a.aspx
Linkin Park - the making of Crawling, Youtube (uploaded Mar 18, 2007) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxOlViHqYMA
The definitive story of the biggest selling debut album.., Tomas Doyle, Metal Hammer (Oct 24, 2022) - https://www.loudersound.com/features/the-real-story-behind-linkin-parks-hybrid-theory