Orange County Register: I assume it's been a good tour for you so far. But are you able to gauge how the other bands are going over with your fans?
Chester Bennington: I think they've actually been received well. People are seeing a couple of these bands for the first time, so they're not gonna be spazzing out when they're watching. But they're paying attention and listening. Usually it's a good sign if they're not throwing things at you.
OCR: What's better about going out on Projekt Revolution as opposed to your own tour, or is it better the other way around?
CB: I like playing arenas a lot more than playing outside. I just feel like whether it's freezing outside or whether it's hot, you're in a place where you can control the elements. It's dark. Everyone gets a light show. But the advantage to playing outside is that you can have more bands. It's kinda the lesser of two evils. There's a reason why we only do it once a year (laughs), not all year long.
Amphitheaters are a tricky thing to play. Only the last two bands that play get to really take advantage of production, so nobody gets a light show until the headliner. Secondly, if it's 100 degrees outside, and 90 percent humidity, it's a tough day – which can deter people from wanting to come, especially in a bleaker economy. You've already got that to fight back.
OCR: Has it dawned on you that you're really one of few bands these days that can carry a tour like this?
CB: Yeah, you know, we do understand that. We could have easily gone out and done an arena tour and played with one other band. But when we were growing up, we had Lollapalooza, we had Ozzfest – and those just aren't happening anymore, with the exception of this year, where everyone is doing some summer outdoor festival tour.
For us, this is the one place where you can go and it's diversified enough and has a really cool feel. That's really been our vibe the whole time – we want to bring lots of different styles of music together, and give people a really good show.
OCR: What do you still want to do with it? And what about in the studio?
CB: You know, in terms of the studio … every new song we write is something we haven't done before. That's a little different – as long as we're working, that's all that really matters.
In terms of Projekt Rev … what we haven't done, and where we would probably go, is to take it from a touring festival to something like a two-day festival, something like Coachella, where we can do a few nights with much more bands, other bands that are headlining-caliber acts. That could be something that could happen in the future. We'll see.
OCR: Do you think your fans are receptive to the lineups you put together?
CB: I think so. I mean, not all the time. Inevitably there are some bands that don't mix as well. But that's very rare when that happens. We spend a lot of time and energy in picking the right band. So far we've been pretty lucky.
OCR: Does it get harder as the years go by?
CB: It does, because, you know, there are bands that are available that you've toured with before that you want to tour with again, but we don't ever want to wear something out. A lot of bands we wanted this year had already made plans, or wanted to do their own thing. It was a little more difficult to put together this year than it has been in the past.
OCR: Do you have dream lineups?
CB: For sure. We've been trying to work something out with Rise Against for a long time, but they've always been already committed to something else or going into the studio or taking a break 'cause they've been touring forever. I think doing a tour with Rage now that they're back together again would be pretty awesome. I'd love to tour with the Chili Peppers. I'd love to tour with Foo Fighters. I'd love to play with Tool.
OCR: Having Chris Cornell on this tour. Obviously he's a big influence …
CB: Oh, absolutely.
OCR: I wonder if it was at all intimidating, to think, 'Whoa, I have to go on after him?'
CB: You know, I'm pretty confident in myself. It's more like I can't believe that this guy is opening up for my band, 'cause this guy is a legend in my opinion. He's a huge inspiration to me, and he's got one of the greatest voices, if not arguably the best rock 'n' roll voice ever.
When it comes to other singers, I feel like, if I play after them, I can hold my own. But meeting someone like that – that's where it can get a little nervous, 'cause you never know what someone's gonna be like. Fortunately, Chris is an amazing guy. We've become really good friends. I go up on stage every night with him and perform "Hunger Strike," and he comes out during our set and performs "Crawling" with us, and the crowd just flips out.
OCR: Mike (Shinoda) had his own side project not too long ago with Fort Minor. Any plans for you to do something apart from the band?
CB: Yeah, I'm going into the studio after we're done here. Finish up my record and simultaneously start work on the next Linkin Park record. If it were an issue I wouldn't do it. If Linkin had said we wanted to do a record and we had gotten our feathers ruffled about it, then Mike wouldn't have done that either. We know that nothing we do outside of this is gonna be detrimental. We're all confident with that.
OCR: What will be different about your solo music?
CB: It's hard to describe. Like, describe the difference between Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, you know what I mean? It's almost impossible. There are obvious things about it that when you listen to it, you'll know it's not a Linkin Park record. You're not gonna get confused. You'll have to hear it.