MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 92: LINKIN PARK

Life is fragile. One minute it’s there and the next, it’s not. You could be healthy one day and dead the next, and the day before, you’d be none the wiser. Gee, that sounds morbid, doesn’t it? That sounds like a super way to start a blog post, don’t you think? But bear with me, everyone; there’s a point to this introspection and this depressive start. You see, if death can come knocking at a moment’s notice, and you can’t really prepare for it…then what is the point of striving so hard, to acquire money and possessions and the like, if you’re not going to take it beyond the grave? Death is so certain, and it’s something that affects all of us; and the fact that it’s not just the old and sick that die, is pretty scary and overwhelming. As cases of COVID-19 keep rising around NSW and in Australia and also around the world, and as people keep on dying, I often of late have thought about the lives cut short by the pandemic, especially people who are young. I wonder about their hopes and dreams and how they can’t ever accomplish everything that they would want to- because they’re dead. Dreams cut short and potential not realised- because you’re dead. I know that if you’re dying not because of old age, but because of any other means; then that is an incredibly sad way to go. And though I’m being reminded about death a lot, I know it’s not something that you can change. You can’t cheat death, no matter how you try. When it’s your time, then there’s no two ways around it. Death is something that we all, like it or not, eventually will have to accept. Death happens to ALL of us. Not some. Not just the old or the babies who are unfortunately aborted. But to all of us. And though I’ve seen death and been to funerals before (for my uncle and also for a friend from church), the thought that death can happen tomorrow…actually sunk in for me about a week ago.

You see, I was watching a TV show the other week. It was Home Before Dark on Apple TV+. The series is inspired by a true story and revolves around a nine year old reporter called Hilde Lisko. If you want to know about what the series is about, you can read about it on Wikipedia… but I encourage you all to watch it. It’s a great mystery along the lines of Broadchurch, and I think I’ve said too much already. But what struck out to me was that when the Lisko family moved to the fictitious town of Eerie Harbor from Brooklyn, Hilde ended up investigating the cold case of the abduction and murder of Richie Fife- her father Matt’s childhood friend from 30 years ago. And while I won’t spoil for you all what happened in the end of the 1st season (because I am in the middle of watching the second season at the moment, and this show in my opinion is binge-worthy!), I will say that in the midst of the episodes, I began to feel for the people directly involved with the case from 30 years ago. I mean, the person of Hilde exists, but the specific case overarching the first season is fictitious. Liberties were taken and the plot was Hollywood-ised. And so though the case was made up, I could only imagine how residents could be feeling when an outsider, and a little kid at that, starts poking around and being a busy-body in issues that were supposedly solved long ago. The guy’s been caught, what good would it really do digging up old skeletons and forcing the parents of the boy to face their demons and revisit the most harrowing part of their lives… again? I mean, it’d do some harm, right? So that’s all I will say about the show in terms of the plot, but for me what struck out to me and who I was feeling empathy for was the parents and friends of Richie Fife. I know, I’m feeling empathy for made up characters… yet the fact still remains, that they’d never see Richie again, and that he was dead way before his time… well that’s a sad thing no matter which way you slice it.

This got me thinking about my blog series naturally- and how everyone I had ever blogged about (and everyone Jon had blogged about) were all still alive. Aside from Carman who was alive at the time we wrote our post, but had since passed away this year, everyone else is active right now in terms of making music. That is… until now. I never really knew what to write about in terms of a blog when I’m writing about an artist who is no longer, about someone who has passed away. But as I was watching Home Before Dark and being reminded about the fragility of life, I knew I had to start somewhere and start writing. For it was only a matter of time before Jon and I would start the next blog series about 50 iconic artists who have stood the test of time and are even more influential than the 100 we’re writing about now. And we’d be writing about Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Prince, Queen, Kenny Rogers, Keith Green, Rich Mullins, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles and David Bowie. We’d be writing about dead guys. There wasn’t a way we could worm ourselves out of this one. And so I looked at my list, and took the plunge. And started to write.

Let me be honest with you all. This blog isn’t really a blog per say. And I’ve figured out that it cannot really be a blog in the traditional sense and the way I normally set out blogs. Not the same length as ‘normal’ blogs and not in the same format. And it’s not because the artist is no longer with us, and I don’t know what to say. It’s because while they were around, rock band Linkin Park… they were morbid. Lyrically, these guys were so reflective, introspective and contemplative, it’s not even funny. But sometimes you can be too ‘woe is me’ for your own good, and I feel like these guys, were that kind of introspective. And besides, hard rock- not really my cup of tea genre-wise. When I’m not an expert at a certain kind of music- and the music brings me down in my emotions, and changes me for the worse… well then that’s a band that I reckon though objectively influential, would not be a band that I’d be listening to much more in the future in one sitting. Listening to a Linkin Park song here and there would be ok- but a constant bombardment and a constant barrage of songs that say in one way or another ‘this world sucks, I’d rather be not in it’… well I don’t think anyone would be able to handle that and come out of that experience unscathed.

With the group comprising of Mike Shinoda (vocalist/rhythm guitarist/keyboardist), Brad Delson (lead guitarist), Dave Farrell (bassist), Joe Hahn (DJ/turntablist) and Rob Bourdon (drummer) [all of whom are founding members]; Linkin Park, to me, is a fusion of many genres. Wikipedia classes them as rock, hip-hop, electronica, alternative rock, nu metal, rap rock, alternative metal, electronic rock, pop rock, hard rock, rap metal, pop, and industrial rock… (like I said, the group is across many musical genres!); and though their songs are more often downers than uplifters; there is a place for a band like this in the music industry. An artist that seems to be full of self-depreciation or longing or searching for meaning, but in the end wondering about the feeling of death and speaking about identity… this is an artist who has recorded heavy stuff. And though I’ve since found out that this band is one of the most successful and popular rock acts in the modern era, I was intrigued, and I dived straight in. I had no expectations, so here’s what I found out.

With Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory being certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), these guys jumped pretty quickly out of the gate. They’re also one of the best-selling bands of the 21st century; and have won multiple awards, including two Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, two Billboard Music Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, 10 MTV Europe Music Awards and three World Music Awards. They failed to be signed to warner brothers records 3 times, while the group were originally called “Hybrid Theory”, yet the band changed their name (because it’d be too similar to another band called Hybrid), and hence they called the band Linkin Park– as a homage to Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park. However, with the group’s sound, Warner Bros Records originally wanted little to no rap and hip-hop in the band’s early recordings, and they wanted lead singer Chester Bennington to fire or demote Mike. Chester refused to compromise on the band’s sound though, and the debut album Hybrid Theory released with a fusion of rock and rap like the band wanted; and there were rave reviews. So on the surface, Linkin Park had it made. 6 albums and a slew of remixes later, and you’d think that the band would still have it made. Right? Wrong!

See all throughout the band’s history until 2017, I guess you could say that Chester was battling through some stuff. Some real heavy stuff. I don’t know the particulars, and maybe we will never will, but in 2017, Chester killed himself via hanging. I know, it’s a sad way to go and undoubtedly a gruesome way to go; and knowing that he left behind a family with 6 children, makes my stomach cringe and tighten with vomit. Yep, this literally makes me sick to the stomach that anyone could take the easy way out and kill themselves when they’ve got so much more life to live, and they have other people in their lives counting on them to live and survive and thrive. It makes me angry that someone would stoop so low to do that, and leave children without a father… but I’d say that suicide when you’re in the prime of your life speaks about a deeper problem, something that I reckon we’re all not facing head on.

So if Chester was battling his demons, and if most of the songs are ‘down in the dumps, let’s lament about the fragilities of life and let’s be in a depressive state forever because it’s all meaningless’ type of songs; then why oh why are Linkin Park influential, in my own opinion? I mean, they’re not singing anything uplifting, and even though a lot of their songs are confronting; why would you want to listen to songs that do not sooth your soul and just create chaos, confusion and more questions about life? Do bands like these (and they’ve only been a handful of artists we’ve blogged about that have toyed with our emotions and have made us feel slightly demoralised and discouraged- artists like Evanescence, Dido and NF) add any value to our lives whatsoever? And though you’d think that the answer is no; I’m inclined to say yes. See, I don’t think there’s another band this honest and emotional and vulnerable- over the past few years. When artists sing about conflict, most of it is usually resolved before the song is over, or there is kind of a hopeful conclusion. In any case, songs in the pop and country and CCM market are mostly sanitised, homogenised, fit for radio, and have all of these rules attached to it.

But Linkin Park’s stuff, well, it’s raw, it’s real, and there is not bow tied up at the end. Though it’s all depressive, they band tell a story about real life- and it’s admirable how deep these guys go. With the group being declared as the biggest rock band in the world in 2014 by Kerrang; Linkin Park is extremely accessible and relatable to millions of listeners around the world. Kids, teenagers, even adults who are feeling alone and out of place in society- I’m sure Linkin Park will be like a friend, telling them that it’s ok because they’re like them too. In that sense, the group is influential as they may be the only band relatable to some listeners. While the messages are devoid of hope and comfort, the warnings they give us nonetheless serve as catalysts to remember to change our life if we want to. Similar to NF in the sense that dark songs do have their purpose here, let us remember that Linkin Park’s songs articulate our own feelings of hopelessness and abandonment better than how we as people could ever express them. And… could this be one of the only reasons that Linkin Park is influential?

Let me tell you that just like rap music, I’m not a big fan of hard rock music… or even rock music in general. With Linkin Park being on the ‘light’ spectrum of hard rock music (and then when you go deeper you get to artists like Memphis May Fire and Korn… which is just, well I can’t fathom why anyone would want to listen to that; but if you do, then, well you do you!), and even though I more often than not have a headache after I listen to a few hard rock songs in a row (meaning even now as I write this blog I’m not listening to any of Linkin Park’s music to ‘get me in the right frame of mind’!); that doesn’t mean that I still can’t recommend Linkin Park as an artist, purely on the basis that they’re honest and they can inspire us to change if we want to take that leap and be the kind of person that they’re not- in the sense that they’re always depressive and we want to be a people of positivity, encouragement and always building people up. Objectively, Linkin Park is one of the most honest, vulnerable, emotional, real artists at the moment, there’s no doubt about it; and I believe that you don’t have to love hard rock to resonate with the music of Chester and Mike and friends.

With other alternative/rock bands like Hoobastank, Nickelback, Creed, Skillet, Evanescence, Goo Goo Dolls, Switchfoot, Lifehouse, and Snow Patrol all resonating to a great extent (and we’ve wrote about them in our blog too!); Linkin Park falls in the middle of that. And so as I was thinking about what to write about these guys, I had a list of around about 50-odd of their hit songs that I was to dive deep into extensively. But then I thought that I’m not an expert- so why do I need to pretend to be? Hard rock isn’t really my thing, and these guys aren’t lifting up my spirits, so why do I need to fake a smile and say that I love these guys when one of the only reasons I’m writing about these guys is because they’re real and subtly encourage us to get out of our funk and be better people than them? Do I need to pull an ‘NF’ and write a similarly vague blog about these guys for the sake of my health, well-being, sanity and mental health? I mean if I listen more to multiple hard rock tunes for hours and hours on end (of which I have listened to over the past week!)… I think I might as well go crazy.

So I’m not going to take about these songs in great detail. Just a few of them which stuck out to me, and then I’ll let you all go at it to your hearts content, and see what God speaks to you through Linkin Park. I’d say that listening to 50 something hard rock songs with such high intensity and energy might break you, like it could’ve broken me (had I not stopped myself and taken care of my soul!). Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and in almost every other way. So this ‘blog’… well it’ll end soon, basically because I have a life, I have likes and dislikes, and this is the first blog (out of the 12 I’ve written as part of Jon’s segment!) that I’ve not enjoyed to the fullest extent. The others like Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake (and NSYNC!), Pink, Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis… they’ve all tugged at my soul in a subjective, emotional, visceral, and honest way that brings tears to my eyes- and I’ll gladly listen to these artists again… over and over and over. They’ve all made me happy and grateful to be alive. With Linkin Park though, I haven’t had that same experience. It’s a sad thing to listen to Linkin Park and to try to sort through the emotions. Chester was obviously hurting, and these songs are like prayers to God asking for divine guidance. It’s unbelievably sad that Chester thought his only way out was via suicide. But even though I feel sad and emotional somewhat, I’m not the right demographic, and I myself can’t talk about these songs with such authority. And I believe it’s because I didn’t have a troubled childhood. I wasn’t closed off. I communicated with my parents. I knew my identity in Jesus Christ. Not to say I’m better than anyone else (but I apologise if it sounds like I’m being ‘holier-than-thou’, which is definitely not my intention!), but I reckon you can only appreciate songs from Linkin Park more, if you yourselves have been through everything that Chester’s been through. If you’re struggling like he has been… then no doubt these songs will strike more of a chord than me listening to these songs. For me as a person of privilege, these songs barely connected with me. But if you give these songs to people living in Africa… well, then I guess their reaction would be more telling as to whether these songs have staying power and if they’re influential or not.

But if I’m not the target audience, then why am I writing about the group? Am I just going around and around in a circle? I first heard about Linkin Park when Chester died, and everyone made a song and dance about it. Everyone made Linkin Park a big deal (I think there were several news stories on TV about the death, I can’t remember!)- but even John Cooper of Skillet did make the death a big deal; and then from that moment on I knew that these guys were…something that people connected with. From the outset 2 and a bit years ago, we decided to write about Linkin Park, and objectively it’s easy to know why. I mean, Linkin Park became the first rock band to achieve more than one billion YouTube hits. Linkin Park also became the fifteenth most liked page on Facebook and tenth most liked artist. “Numb” is the third and “In the End” is the sixth “timeless song” on Spotify- The two songs making Linkin Park the only artist to have two timeless songs in top ten. While Hybrid Theory by the group is listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, It was also ranked at #11 on Billboard’s Hot 200 Albums of the Decade. In addition the album was included in Best of 2001 by Record Collector, The top 150 Albums of the Generation by Rock Sound and 50 Best Rock Albums of the 2000s by Kerrang!. The album Meteora was included in Top 200 Albums of the Decade by Billboard at No. 36. The album sold 20 million copies worldwide. Even the New York Times commented Linkin Parkbrought the collision of hard rock and hip-hop to its commercial and aesthetic peak” at the beginning of the 2000s. Whilst several rock and non-rock artists have cited Linkin Park as an influence, including Skillet, Proyecto Eskhata, Of Mice & Men, One Ok Rock, Bishop Nehru, Misono, From Ashes to New, Bring Me the Horizon, Coldrain, Red, Girl on Fire, Manafest, Silentó, 3OH!3, The Prom Kings, AJ Tracey, Kiiara, The Chainsmokers, Kevin Rudolf, Blackbear, Amber Liu, Tokio Hotel, Stormzy and Imagine Dragons. I mean, if that’s not impact, then tell me what is!

Though, if you’d all want to hear me speaking about some songs, you’re in luck. These guys have recorded plenty (see their discography here, inclusive of singles and collaborations!), and though to me it’s like picking blood out of a stone (yep, these guys hardly resonate for reasons I’ve mentioned above), there’s still some gems and treasures found that even I can appreciate. “One Step Closer”, the band’s debut single, holds back no punches, and is an intense 2 minute head-banger that dives deep into suicide and has Chester belting out that he’s one step closer to suicide because of one person that has done him wrong. It’s a brutal and intense song that has me concluding that Chester may have felt suicidal for the duration of the band- and this cry for help and a lifeline is a song that I’m sure will resonate with many who are feeling what Chester is. But for me, it’s a song that brings tears to my eyes because I’m said for Chester’s family who will never see him again- yet the track is important as it sheds a light on mental heath and the struggles people face. Have we all felt the weight of the world on our shoulders and have wanted to commit suicide? No, not all of us- but some of us have, and this song is for those who are like Chester. In that light, this song is needed. Kudos to the band who have never shied away from the messy topics!

“Somewhere I Belong”, a track permeated with emotion and raw passion, has Chester and Mike crying out for help and a place for them to belong, reminding us all that we all need a place where we can feel free to be the best versions of ourselves; while “From The Inside” speaks about feelings of confusion and hurt, and a paranoia. It’s a track whereby the persona won’t trust anyone, so the persona throws away his feelings and his heart because he can’t trust it- it’s a sad melody with no resolution and helps us understand people with mental health issues; while the beautifully recorded “Waiting For The End” describes the end of a chapter (albeit a vague one) and the start of something new- it’s one of the rare few songs about moving on in life, and not dwelling on the past- the song actually is somewhat uplifting and moving. “Shadow Of The Day” is another melody- this time a ballad- that speaks about suicide again, and speaks about this as being one of the only ways to acquire relief and peace. “Lost In The Echo”, from the 5th album Living Things, speaks about broken promises, and about how we all need to let go our relationships that are toxic (also a song that somewhat uplifts), while “Castle Of Glass” dives deep into the fragility and transience of life, as Chester describes that he’s only like a crack in this ‘castle of glass’- an insignificant dot in a world full of wonder and amazement. “Bleed It Out” a 2-minute rocker, vividly describes the act of hanging (ironic or coincidence), as well as other formats of unnatural death as a way of letting go and feeling free; while “Crawling” is a confession that Chester feels like an alien and that there’s something inside of him that isn’t natural. There are plenty of other songs from Linkin Park that I’m sure will resonate with all of you- I certainly haven’t covered even 5 percent of their hit singles. But for me these stuck out and these tracks speak to the core of what was going through Chester’s mind when he was in the band. These songs are the ones that will stick with me for a while… but if you want to know which songs to listen to, to know the heart of the band, then it’d be “Numb”, “In The End”, “What I’ve Done” and “Heavy”.

All of these songs are massive singles (and in the case of “Heavy”- a recent single), with pertinent, relevant and resounding themes being present in each of these songs. The 3-minute ballad “Numb”, the most viewed music video from Linkin Park on YouTube (1.6 billion views!), has Chester delving into renouncing what his friend or close family member has said over him. The song might also be about a rejection of faith of some sort, however it could also mean that Chester is taking control of his life and living it on his own terms instead of feeling numb and being a slave to the system. There’s a lot of meaning in this song, and it’s easy to see why this song can resonate with a lot of people. “What I’ve Done” is a quasi-spiritual melody whereby Chester eloquently sings out to God to erase his sins and to forgive him for what he has done; while the existential “In The End” speaks about life not mattering at all- an Ecclesiastes type of track. “Heavy”, the first song I heard from start to finish from the band (actually from a Peter Hollens cover!), speaks about feeling the weight of heaviness on your life and feeling as if letting go (did Chester think suicide?) is the only way to be free and at peace- similar in theme to “Shadow Of The Day”; and given that this song released in 2017, the same year that Chester died… it stands to reason that he was still searching and never found what he was looking for.

You might think that my ‘blog’ is a cop out. Apart from writing about a few hit singles in a really vague way, and some in a specific way (“Numb”, “In The End”, “What I’ve Done”, “Heavy”), I haven’t really been writing about much. But I still believe that this blog will help someone struggling. For I reckon there’s power in listening to songs rather than reading someone’s opinion about them. So how about you listen to Linkin Park’s entire discography if you want to, and then let me know how these songs are. Let me know if they hit home for you, or maybe not- you could speak about the themes with a family member or a close friend or a mentor. Chester’s lyrical content is deep, and speaks about the turmoil in his mind, and his feelings of not fitting in. These topics are probably as wide as the fishing net the disciples used to catch fish (as in extremely broad and touching upon a wide array of topics!), and so there’s enough in his discography to resonate with many, if not all. The feelings of abandonment, isolation, identity issues, feelings of not measuring up and not being good enough… Linkin Park has spoken about it all. And through it all, let us realise this. That no matter how music looks like- there’s always someone in the world that will be touched, impacted, comforted, healed and reassured. In that way, and if you think about the starfish story… every song is needed. Yes. I firmly believe that. I may not have about a year ago, but listening to Linkin Park the past week or so, and me consciously making my head hurt because of the intensity of the melodies; the penny dropped that even if I do not like a song or it doesn’t line up with my world view, what right to I have to say that it’s a horrible song? Others may be blessed, and I may not understand how God moves, but like the parable of the lost sheep in which the shepherd didn’t judge his lost sheep and not saved him, or like how Jesus never judged the woman who committed adultery and not forgiven her; I know that I don’t have a right to judge anyone or anything. That’s God’s role, and once I let go of these preconceptions, and instead loving and appreciating everything around me including songs from left field- well it’s then where I reckon you and I can truly hear God speak. And God does speak through Linkin Park, let me say this with absolute confidence.

I do not know what will happen to Linkin Park. Is the band creating more music with Mike the sole vocalist, or will they find a new vocalist from elsewhere? Changing the lead vocalist mid-way through a band is risky, and I can only think of Newsboys who have pulled it off with ease and professionalism. Nevertheless, Linkin Park is one of those bands who speak to your soul and speak about issues that we as humans have swept under the rug. Even if we all don’t resonate with all of the songs all the time, the band needs to be congratulated for diving in and breaking the mould of what rock music should look like. And while these guys hardly did anything outside of music (I hardly think with this band that extra stuff matters, with heavy songs like these!); Chester’s legacy will never be forgotten. A man who was always questioning and never quite getting the answers he wanted (or so it seems), the band will always be remembered for always speaking the truth and letting us know that we’re not alone. Linkin Park will be weird without Chester- who knows, maybe the next album will be pop- but if we all can take care of our mental health and our own psyche, our spirit, our soul and our inner most being, if we can have our friends and family around us keep us grounded and accountable; then I’d say Linkin Park has done it’s job, first and foremost. A job of helping us all be in touch with our emotions and helping us live life to the full and live life happy as well.

When the lyrics or the music has helped somebody get through difficult times, that’s kind of what it’s for, you know? To connect with it in a way that is meaningful in their lives. It’s weird to think that in every meet and greet that we’ve had with fans, somebody says, “This song, this album — or your band — changed my life or saved my life,” and they don’t mean it metaphorically. They mean it literally, in some cases, because they’ll tell us the story about what happened. To have been listening to that statement for 20 years is insane. It’s totally insane. We’ve always tried to not become numb to that comment, to always respect that statement. We’ve always thought it’s important to not make a joke out of that.

It’s a very confusing thing when you hear something that’s that extreme so many times. We don’t take ourselves that seriously. I’m not a doctor. I’m not [physically] saving anybody’s life. Yet we’ve written some songs that people have found that much meaning in. It’s something we’re grateful for. I always remind people: We didn’t want to be famous. We didn’t want to be popular for the sake of being popular. It’s a different time. Now people just want to be famous. I’m always so excited when I hear artists who are creating from a more pure place. If we got money, we spent it on music stuff every time. It was never like, “Oh, let’s buy fancy cars, outfits, jewelry.” Those things happened, but the intention was always to make good stuff that we thought was cool, that we thought our fans would like, or that would move the needle, be it culturally or technologically or artistically. Just things that we thought mattered. Even right now, I’m on Twitch five days a week just making s***. Somebody asked me, “Are you making good money on Twitch?” I’m like, “The Twitch channel doesn’t even pay for itself [laughs]. I’m just on there making s***.

Over time I’ve had to look at, “What am I capable of? What am I not capable of? What am I potentially capable of that I can learn?” So each time I’ve made an album and worked with different people, whether it’s Rick Rubin or Jay-Z or some of the folks we worked with on the last record, like Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, Ross Golan, these people have a wide variety of talents and ways of approaching things. And I love to learn things from other people, even if it’s not something I would do myself. There’s no end to getting in the room with somebody and picking their brain about their perspective. I find that, for me, almost always I learn something.

I spent a ton of time reviewing and analyzing what was happening with that show. As we were putting the show together Brad [Delson] and I were moving parts around and deciding who to reach out to, who should sing on what, how we should do that, what the arrangements should be. Then after the show I spent time looking at what we had made and how everybody did and seeing if there were things I could learn from that about putting together a show, not only for the band, but just in general. That was a really unique show. I found, observation number one, Chester is one of the greatest rock singers of all time. I watched that show and I said, “These people are incredible talents and they did an amazing job on each of these songs.” The disadvantage for them is the songs were written for me and Chester and he had a very unique voice. So to put those things in other people’s hands, it’s a little bit of a challenge. Basically what it came down to for me was I realized, “God, these people were so great and nobody will ever be another Chester Bennington.” I don’t say that in a framework of defeat, it’s just matter of fact. He was incredible. So let’s move on from that. You’re not gonna beat that, so you’ve gotta play a different game. You’ve gotta try something completely different.

And I think this is beyond music too. One of the books I read this past year was Option B by Sheryl Sandberg. She is COO of Facebook and she had written a book called Lean In, which was more of a business book and also an empowerment book and female-centric. Then she lost her husband and everything changed. In a situation of what we went through and what I’m going through, you’ve gotta pivot. You’ve got to look at what cards you’ve been dealt and what your natural skills are and what you can learn and apply them and look for creative ways to apply them. One of the biggest themes in the past four or five years for me and the other guys, especially Chester, we’d talk about riding the wave. Ride the wave, to me, means look for opportunities that subtly present themselves in your universe. Sometimes they present themselves once and if you don’t jump on them you miss them. Oftentimes, this is the strangest part of the realization, they present themselves in different ways multiple times. And you say, “Oh, what a strange coincidence, I was just talking about this person and now I’m seeing them.” I don’t look at those things as strange coincidences or throw away moments, I take those things more seriously and when I see an opportunity peeking its head up I think twice about it. And in a lot of cases, I’m grabbing onto those opportunities and trying new things out. I actually think this is going to be a really dynamic time for me personally just because I’m not even locked into the idea of, “This is what I do, I am in this band or I play these shows.” I don’t care about any of that. If tomorrow I decide to go make an album with me and one other person or I decide to go produce somebody else’s album or join another band and tour with them for three months don’t be surprised. I have no idea where things are gonna lead.

Does Linkin Park make the list for you all when you write your own ‘Influential Artists of all Time’ list? Is there any song (other than “Numb”, “In The End”, “What I’ve Done”, “Heavy”, “Somewhere I Belong”, “One Step Closer”, “Waiting For The End” and “Castle Of Glass”) that has impacted you on your journey through life thus far, or even your walk with God? Let us know in the comments. Till next time!

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