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Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, Tim McIlrath Of Rise Against and Austin Carlile Of Of Mice & Men talk The Hunting Party Tour


The Hunting Party Tour with Linkin Park-Rise Against and Of Mice & Men are heading out on month-long tour that will be more than mind melting for everyone who attends. The three bands seem like they were meant to tour together. Their love for the music and the love for being on stage giving their all for their fans is just scary how close the similarities are.
 Ignite Music Magazine had the privilege to sit in on an interview with Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, as well as Tim Mcllrath Of Rise Against and Austin Carlile of Of Mice&Men to tell us a little bit about the up and coming The Hunting Party Tour that will be starting off in Orlando Florida at the Amway Center on January 15 2015.
The first question will come from Scott Mervis from Post Gazette.
 Scott Mervis:  Hey, guys. Thanks for talking to us today.
 Male Voice:    Hi, Scott.
 Male Voice:  Hey, Scott.
 Scott MervisHi. This is for both of you. Can you just talk about how Linkin Park and Rise Against fit together on a bill as spacing to be sort of bands from maybe different cultures and maybe bands that appeal to different fan bases?
 Chester BenningtonWell, you know, I think that what’s interesting about being in a band and especially being a band like Linkin Park is we can play with anybody. Like, for us, it kid of makes sense for us to play with, like, JV, Rise Against, Metallica, and like, any RD, like it kind of doesn’t seem like that’s a stretch. And so, I also think that a lot of our fans do cross over. I think we have a lot of bands that share interest in both bands. I know that we actually poll our fan base every couple of years and Rise Against is actually a band that comes up quite often in just like the top five bands that our fans listen to. And so, for me, you know, and also for me personally, like, I’ve always been a fan of the band and I’ve wanted to tour with these guys for a long time. I think every time I run into these guys or play the show with these guys, I’m like, “Okay. So, when are we going to go on tour?” You know? And finally, here we are and it’s happened. So, you know, it’s kind of weird question that doesn’t really have like a very clear answer, but it certainly does generate a lot of attention, for sure. Yeah.
Tim McIlrathYeah. I would just add to what Chester was saying, too. Like, I mean, you run into the person where it’s like Rise Against Linkin Park; that’s a no-brainer. Why haven’t you guys toured yet? And then there’s the person who’s like, “Rise Against Linkin Park? Like, that sounds crazy. How is this going to work?” You know? And so, you have people all over the board, but a lot of what Chester said, what something that even tuned me into Linkin Park was our own fans. I was finding out that, like, we’re speaking to a lot of those fan audience. You know? And, like you were saying, Chester, it’s, like, there’s not a really good answer, but something intangible that connects music. You know? And there’s something intangible about Linkin Park. I think Rise Against – something behind the message of what we’re doing that speaks to audiences in what I’d like to believe in more than just, like, sort of a consumer kind of way, but in a way that really connects. And the DNA of Linkin Park and Rise Against that connects with fans and connects them to the music and turns them into more than just fans, but, like, part of the community of what you’re doing, in that sense. I’m excited to go out with you guys for that reason and, you know, also to see, like, what you guys have done, like to see your community and to be a part of it. And especially, just as people who are still playing guitars on stages and arenas nowadays. There’s not many of us left. You know what I mean?
 Chester BenningtonYeah.
 Tim McIlratchAnd so, we’re all allies out here.
 Chester BenningtonYeah, exactly. I totally agree with you. I think that there’s a lot of elements of our music, I think, especially lyrically in the message of our music that we share that does speak, you know, to fans of both bands. And I think that’s going to be – that’s one of the reasons why I really enjoy Rise Against’s music so much, and my family enjoys the band so much. I mean, I know that everyone from my wife to my kids in college, my kids in high school, and middle school, and elementary school – all of them – they’re all excited about this tour, because of Rise Against and I think that that’s something that, you know, is a testament to the strength of the message of the music.
Our next question comes from Bryan Corder from Ignite Music Magazine.
 Bryan Corder:  Yeah. This actually is for Austin. You’ve mentioned numerous times that Linkin Park was a huge influence in your music life. What is it about the music and the band that makes that influence so strong?
 Austin CarlileI mean, growing up in high school, I listened to kind of a variety of music from my parents’ shelves, whatever they would basically let me, so the majority of my youth, I got to listen to country music and blues and jazz and classic rock and contemporary Christian music, and just about everything not Linkin Park or anything similar. And I remember during early high school years and when I started getting into the older stuff, you know, from Pantera, Korn, and started going you know, Diptones and Linkin Park and then as soon as this hybrid theory came out, I remember it was during my track season and that was the album. That was the album – everybody on my team had – we all had it in our Walkman’s, you know, on our CD’s. They had the skip protector holding on; that was the record for us and I was like, “Wow! This guy is so angry and he’s mad about, it sounds like, the same things I’m mad about and I don’t know what he’s really mad about, but I can relate to it because of this and that.” And from the melodies and the fact that it had hip hop and it wasn’t cheesy like Biscuit and the fact that it was just so new and different and I related to it. And that for me was just the staple for me to get into the kind of music that eventually now we’re able to go on tour in Europe and the UK and tour in America and getting to open up for them and it’s cool to see that a band like that, for me, that did so much for me when I was in my youth and I was coming up and I was getting to know what music was and what I was as a person. You know, it’s cool to see that 10 years later that none of the high schools – well, six, but that I can, me as a band and them as a band, it’s cool to see that I’m so much younger and that generation gap that those people that I set my sights for when I was that young and those people that I looked up to and I admired musically when I was at that age, it comes full circle, and it comes to the fact that they’re down to earth guys and they’re great musicians. And then, like Chester was saying earlier, when I got on the press conference, they’re nurturing a new band and they’re keeping the rock scene and not making it a competitive thing now. There’s some young up and comers trying to get their name out and trying to have more people than just who goes to X amount of kind shows to know who their band is and they don’t see it like that. They see it as, “Oh, there’s a band of a bunch of young kids who really love music, love playing music, and want it.” And I think that’s what Linkin Park sees in us. So, it’s a real honor to get to go and open up every night and to make sure that they can hear us before they go on.
 Chester Bennington:  It’s awesome; pleasure.
Thank you. Our next question comes from Scott Tady from Beaver County Times.
 Scott Tady:    Tim, you talked about the idea of not many of your guys left in the arena. Talk about the notion of being in a rock tour. And, Chester, some of your fans might not remember the glory years of arenas. We know more of outdoor festivals and club shows. What makes an arenas so special in your mind?
 Chester BenningtonTo me, what makes an arena so special is kind of the things that make anything so special are the people inside it – the audience – and what they decide to do with that particular evening. You know? And so, when you have thousands of people singing back your songs and being part of this – I don’t know – just this moment in your life and in their lives, that’s something that the ferocity of that is only increased in numbers. You know what I mean? So, it’s like people can talk all day long about like the intimacy of a small venue versus the grandiose part of being in an arena, but really it comes down to the audience, to me, and, like, when you have that audience and you can hit that moment in the night where everyone’s kind of one the same page, that’s a pretty beautiful thing.
Our next question comes from Rob Digiacomo from Press of Atlantic City.
 Rob DigiacomoHi. This question is for Chester. And I wanted to ask about your latest album and how the music fits into your live show? I think the album is a little bit of a different sonic approach for you guys, a little less electronic, a little more rock, so if you can talk about how you work your songs into your live shows.
Chester BenningtonThe songs actually work really well with our live set. You know, we play so many tracks from our old records that, you know, shoring in five songs from the new album almost kind of makes it just disappear. I mean, I think, like, we’re playing 30 songs or something like that, so, you know, it’s a pretty sensitive set and it moves really fast from one song to the next. So, you  know, and we’ve always been a very diverse band. It’s not like, you know, we’ve done R&B and all of a sudden, it’s like, you know, now we’re, like a def metal band and we have to figure out how to make that stuff work together. You know? So, you know, fortunately for us, like, we have a lot of really challenging guys and we also have a lot of songs that are pretty aggressive and I still think that people probably consider us more of a hard rock band than an alternative band, so, you know, especially when we play live. That translates our aggression champions, you know, much more intensely live than it does on record. So, it’s not hard to put those songs in at all.
Our next question comes from Patrick O’Hagan from Chattanoogan.com.
Patrick O’HaganHey, this question’s for Chester. And I just want to know what was the takeaway for you and for the band after releasing its first self-produced album? And do you plan on doing it again?
 Chester BenningtonWe feel really good about it, you know? I think critically it’s one of the most acclaimed records that we’ve had out. I think that, you know, we made this record specifically to have fun playing it live, as a matter of fact, you know? I mean, we did have conversations with our manager and our label about releasing such a heavy record and how that would affect our, you know, standings in terms of where the record will come out; how many albums it would sell? And how many times it would get played on the radio and whether or not that would affect our whole thing? And, you know, everyone said, “Yeah, you’re pretty much not going to get played on the radio and you probably won’t be number one.” We’re like, “Okay. Well, that’s cool and we like this record anyway and we’re going to do it because it’s going to be fun to play live and the songs are awesome.” And, you know, I think our fans want to hear us kind of kick ass right now. So, and, you know, there’s not really a lot of bands making a lot of really heavy records right now; it’s a pretty pop-heavy world and, you know, I’m a firm believer in a balanced diet, you know?
Our next question comes from Josef Lawler from Register Media.
 Josef LawlerYes, my question’s for Chester. On the album, Hunting Party, I was reading about the recording process is a lot more improvisational for writing and collaboration with others in the studio. And I was curious – what made you guys decide to take that approach when it came to this album?
 Chester Bennington:  Well, you know, when we were writing the first MO’s for this record, I remember sitting in Mike’s studio and all the songs were pretty pop-heavy. We had just done the CVO Key stuff and we were, like, all kind of, like, leading towards, like, making more pop-heavy stuff because it’s fun and we’re really good at that and at some point, I remember Mike and it was like five songs deep and we were getting, like, you know, we were making headway on a lot of tracks and they were really good and Mike kind of looked at me and he was like, “Dude, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to make these songs. I kind of hate these songs.” I was, like, “All right.” You know, my approach creatively with anything anymore is, like, I’m not married to anything. I don’t really care. If we can try to make something better, let’s do it. And so, or if all of a sudden you say you hate something and we’ve been working on it for a year, then you hate it. Let’s, like, do something new, you know? So, I was like, “All right. Well, cool. What are we going to do?” And he was like, “I want to do something like this,” and plays Gill all the same; what turned into Gill is the same. And I was like, the 14-year-olds punk rock, hip hop kid in me went bonkers, and, like, I was like, “I want to do this all day every day.” And so, that’s what we did and, you know, it was literally – the direction of the album changed at that point and went from being like a really pop-heavy record to, you know, being arguably, you know, just a straight hard rock heavy metal record.
Our next question comes from John Serba from Grand Rapids Press.
 John Serba:   Hi. This is a question for Chester. The news broke about a month back that you guys were going to part from your management company and manage yourselves. And it seems like sort of a mark of success for some bands when they can cut out some middlemen and achieve that type of independence. And I was just wondering if you could kind of talk about the decision behind doing that? And correct me if I’m wrong, but it just seems like instead of being on someone else’s roster, you’re not the employee; you’re the employer now, right?
 Chester BenningtonWell, I think it’s important for everyone to be clear that all managers are employees of the band, and I think that sometimes needs to be made clear. Not in our case, though. We actually have a lot of respect for Michael Green and the company as a collective, but I think for us we’re at a point where I think in terms of Linkin Park especially, we’re kind of a special situation. I mean, we’ve always managed ourselves. That was one of the reasons why we made the change in the first place from working with Rob McDermott to work with a collective was that we wanted to do less of that; we wanted somebody else to do that for us, but we found that we were best when we were doing it ourselves and we feel like we are at a place where, you know, we basically do know what we need and we can function financially in a way that can support a team of people that can do what we need to do under the supervision of the band and some key heads of different facets of our business. I mean, this is like, you know, it’s weird to talk like this because I’m a dude from Phoenix who likes to play music for a living. You know, like, this is, like, what I did when I ditched school. You know what I mean? Like, when I do this, I feel like – when I talk to my kids about their plans in life, I say, “Do not look to your dad and think I’m going to do what he did, because please don’t do that.” Like, I basically have won the lottery and, I mean, this is like to the fact that I am in a band that functions at a corporate level because of the massiveness of it is strange to me, you know? I mean, I’m sitting in a tree house looking at the ocean staring back at fucking Los Angeles. I mean, this is like, you know, this is not the real world, I must say. So, every day’s a blessing. You know what I mean? And the fact that we are actually able to be able to function in a way that we can really run our business the way we want to and, like you said, cut out a lot of the middlemen so that we can grow our business the way we want to and so that we can, you know, achieve the kind of success that we want to, I think is – and also show bands that you can take your career into your own hands, which is basically what we do anyway. I mean, we are the ones who are creating the art that people are buying and we are in an industry that thankfully is collapsing because it’s an industry that’s full of criminals and people who do backwards business and it’s a great time for bands to take over the business of the music industry and it’s a great time for intelligent businessmen who have souls to come in and do business with us. So, this is a great time for bands to kind of, you know, take back the power that they have and work with people who, you know, are good people and honest people who want to make music and art and bring together people for sort of good reasons and not just for the sole sake of making money and sucking that off the artist as long as possible, you know? Like Tim said, I mean, we make music and we bring people together and it’s about the music and what happens when you’re playing the shows and the experience and exchange you have with the fans. That’s what bands do this for. And so, the fact that we can do this on a level where we can actually really take control of our business is pretty awesome, you know?
Our next question comes from David Stagg from HM Magazine.
David Stagg:        Hey, fellows. I hope you’re staying warm. Linkin Park is definitely known for their collaboration and those are an integral part of the punk rock ethic as well. It’s also a proud part of the younger up and coming scene that Of Mice and Men is part of. So, this question’s for anyone that’s allowed to answer. Are there any major collaborations planned we should look out for? Is there anything that you guys can see on the Hunting Party tour that we should let our fans know about?
Chester BenningtonWell, I mean, I don’t know. I just know that we always encourage other guys to come up and do songs with us. Austin’s come up and done “Saint” with us. Tim did “Bleed It Out With Us.” You know, Christopher shared a couple weeks ago. And I know that we are going to open the invitation for those guys to come out whenever they want to and to do those songs with us, whenever they would; every night if they want to, once a week, only on Tuesdays, you know. It doesn’t matter to me. We encourage that kind of stuff and, of course, like, I know that me, Mike, and Dave are going to be busting it together, so there’s probably going to be some interesting things happening where if we had a little more time with the guys then we did in Europe. So, you know, I’m really good at writing songs about farts and pooping and dancing with no pants, to the dance with pants rhyme. They pretty much fit in any song you can write. So, you know, there’s always room for lots of writing as well. So, yeah, we’ll see what happens. It’s, like, it’s going to be like winter band camp, you know? It’s going to be fun; it’s going to be fun. Anything thought of.
Tim McIlrath:  I back that plan, yeah. We’re up for anything.
Operator:              Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately, we’re out of time. Thank you so much for your time. This concludes today’s conference. You may now disconnect.
Chester Bennington:  Thank you, guys. It was great talking with you guys. Tim, take care. Austin, see you guys soon.
Tim McIlrath:  Yeah. Thanks, everybody.
Chester Bennington:  Yeah. Looking forward to working with you, Tim..
Tim McIlrath:  All right, man.
Austin Carlile:  Thanks.
About Bryan Joe Corder (4003 Articles)
Concert Photographer at heart, Love listening to music and going to shows to try to capture the magic on the stage with my imagery.I also review albums and live concerts.

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