Chester Bennington of Linkin Park and Brandon Boyd of Incubus recently sat down with the media to discuss the upcoming Honda Civic tour which kicks-off on August 11, 2012 in Virginia. Check out excerpts from the interview below:
Q: What can fans expect from this year’s Honda Civic Tour tour?
Chester Bennington: I think the most special thing about this tour is the fact that you have two headlining bands singing together on one bill. The fact that Incubus gets to come out and perform a full headlining set and Linkin Park gets to come out and perform our full headlining set is kind of special. We’re just going to come out and put on the highest-energy show we can.
Brandon Boyd: I think that it’s a great opportunity to have two big giant rock & roll bands sharing a stage, and I think that’s going to be better than either of us would do in our own show. This will be the end of our touring cycle for [If Not Now, When?], and so we’re looking forward to just making some music. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Linkin Park with my own eyes for the first time since like over 10 years ago.
Q: Can you guys talk about why you wanted to team up for this tour?
Brandon Boyd: I personally think it’s an occasion that’s long overdue. We have a lot of mutual listeners, 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. Once this tour was announced it’s been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic, so I’m really excited for it to get started.
Chester Bennington: Typically 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. I’m very appreciative to the people on the [Honda] 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.
Q: Brandon, you mentioned this being the end of the Incubus cycle; what’s next?
Brandon Boyd: We have no plans, to tell you the truth at the moment. We are, for the first time since 1996, we are free agents again. We’re without a record label. So what we’re kind of doing is trying to get our bearings as to what we should do next, just as a band but also as a band that is kind of off in new territory again. So, I have been tinkering around potentially with a second solo record. That’s probably the most likely scenario. But as far as Incubus right now, we’ll probably take another break. Hopefully it won’t be as long. But what we like to do is arrive with the best of intentions and try and create music from a sense of urgency as well as purity, and not necessarily based on a schedule. I know that that can be a little bit frustrating for our listeners and stuff, but I think that we’ll make better music as a result. So the plan is to have no plan.
Q: Has there been discussion about what you might do in terms of a new deal?
Brandon Boyd: We definitely got a taste of what it’s going to be like without a record label on this latest album cycle. Though we were still signed to Epic Records there was a lot of changing of the guards going on with L.A. Reid being the new President, and he wasn’t quite there yet. Even though he was technically the guy on the TV show, there was a real lack of direction and leadership when we kind of needed it the most. [laughs] So it was hard and it was frustrating but it was also very telling for us and perhaps educational because we were forced into ingenuity. We came up with this idea to set up shop in an art gallery in Los Angeles and do the Incubus HQ, and fly listeners in from different corners of the world, and do these live broadcasts on the Internet. We started getting these ideas about subscription-based live concerts online and it ended up being a really scary and stressful project, but the fruits of it are still kind of revealing themselves. We have this HQ box set that we’re putting out and the DVD set comes out, I think August 14 is the release date. It’s forced us to think outside of that normal music industry paradigm that we had gotten so accustomed to. In that sense, the lack of attention from our record label and the end days of our record label relationship were really good and very beneficial for us as a band because it gave us a sense of what we might be doing in the coming years. I’m personally very excited about being in complete control, of being able to be a total control freak. It doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t sign with another record label at some point but it would definitely have to be very, very specific. [laughs] Not get into just a good old-fashioned record deal again, if they even exist.
Q: Chester, after Honda Civic tour where else are you guys going to be touring, and how long do you think you’ll be on the road more or less for Living Things?
Chester Bennington: I think we’ll be touring more or less through next summer for sure. Maybe even into next fall, depending on what the schedule looks like. I know that we’re planning on going to South Africa for the first time, which I’m very excited about. We’re planning on going to South America, going back to Europe, going to Asia, and doing another U.S. tour, I believe. Probably to end it all next year, and then go straight back again into the studio and make another record.
Q: As you each grow older and wiser, how do you both stay inspired to produce the style of music on both the record and in concert that your fans both love and expect?
Chester Bennington: In my mind I know that however long I live, until the day I die, I’m probably going to feel mentally immature and physically old. [laughs] I think that it will become a bit more difficult for me to perform a few songs on a roster that I did so easily through my twenties and thirties. When I’m 70 I don’t know if I’ll be screaming “Victimized” at anybody.
Brandon Boyd: I agree with you. We have so many songs that we wrote when we were in our young twenties. Some of them we wrote when we were teenagers and we still perform some of them. It occurs to me now at 36, damn, what was I thinking? This is hard! I have to really concentrate and sit still in order to do it.
Chester Bennington: That’s funny.
Brandon Boyd: Two things occur to me; one is that somehow the guys in the [Rolling] Stones still look really cool doing it. And I think that really is a testament to their talent and their tenacity. If you write good songs and if you write songs that have a potentially timeless quality, yeah I think that you’ll be able to sing them long into your sunset years. I think that’s really one of our intentions as a band. The other thing that occurred to me when you said that Chester, and imagining, knowing myself from experience as well, there are certain songs that get harder as you get older. The term vaginaplasty came to mind, and if they can do that with technology, by the time you and I are in our 60s, why can’t they do laryngioplasty, where they can give us a 16-year-old’s throat? Can you imagine, being all leathery?
Chester Bennington: I would imagine that the vagina specialties will actually…
Brandon Boyd: Might do well, right?
Chester Bennington: Yeah, they would definitely overflow into the vocal cord area. I think that there are a lot of connections that can be made to the mouth and the vagina. I think that that’s something, you may have actually just pioneered that entire industry. This is something that should be looked into. It’s genius.
Brandon Boyd: We’ll talk about this more when we get on the road together, and we’re going to pioneer this technology and we’re going to get elderly people singing like 20-year-olds. It’s going to be awesome.
Chester Bennington: I just hope my vocal cords don’t have that worked-on look. You know? I want to look natural.
Q: Chester, With your latest album debuting at No. 1 it actually set a record for you guys having more No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 than any other band this century. What does a milestone like that mean to you personally?
Chester Bennington: It’s cool, you know. It’s something that I never would have thought of, that statistic being one that’s attached to Linkin Park. I’ve always felt that we just made the best record that we could make at the time. It really is a testament to how enthusiastic our fan base is about what we do in the studio. And I think that the true test of what we’ve done is good or not is obviously how well the songs hold up over time, but to hit No. 1 is really, is really something you just kind of hope for when you’re making a record, that people respond to it well. It’s not really a goal that we set out for as a band. I think that we look at a lot of other things, being forced into a different style as a business. I think we pay attention to so much stuff that’s going on, we kind of forget about goals like reaching No. 1 on the charts. You’re focused more on putting the live show together and where you’re going to be in six months, which videos to make and which ones not to make and all that good stuff. It was a cool little moment for us to take a break and go “Oh, hey, this is what all our hard work is doing.”
Q: There are a lot of bands who switch members or lose members, but throughout the years you guys have essentially kept the core members. So how do you all stand each other after such a long time?
Brandon Boyd: Being in a band is hard. You are essentially traveling in very small steel tubes, confined steel tubes with family members for extended periods of time. Kind of like inhuman periods of time. You love your mom, but how much flight time do you want to spend with her? You know, how long do you want to sit in the car with your dad and your mom and your brothers, you know what I mean? There’s that, but there’s also the understanding that it’s family, and it’s very much a familial thing. That even though there are times when they hurt your feelings or they might get on your nerves, essentially the majority of your experience with them is rooted in love. So as long as we can hold on to that sort of transcendent notion, everything usually is OK. And it’s OK to be angry at your family members sometime, and it’s OK for them to get on your nerves. The best thing to do, I think, is just to remember who you are, and understand the difference between a need to express frustrations and your own ego, and little moments when your ego flares up for usually ridiculous reasons. Most of the times we ever have problems are when someone has underslept or underfed. So as long as we have enough sleep and enough to eat, everyone’s usually hunky-dory. And that’s the honest-to-God truth. Just get enough food and enough to eat, or enough sleep, and you’ll be fine.
Chester Bennington: I think it’s funny, but that is actually the truth. I think what makes it work for Linkin Park is that we focus on things that are important for the band, and we don’t really focus on what’s the most important thing for me. It’s really about what’s the most important thing for us, and I think that’s something that we carry not only in our professional world but we try to carry into our personal lives as well. We share both of those things together.
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