Hybrid Theory EP
|Hybrid Theory EP|
|EP by Hybrid Theory|
November 19, 2001 (Re-Issue)
|Label||Mix Media Entertainment|
|Producer||Mudrock, Mike Shinoda|
|Linkin Park Underground chronology|
Following the release of their self-titled demo tape and many showcases, vocalist Mark Wakefield left Xero in 1998. Bassist Phoenix explained their situation, "We went through a period where we kinda didn't know what to do with the band, like, the singer we had been playing with was transitioning out and we didn't know if we wanted to continue; if we did, if we wanna continue with just with five guys or how that would even look or work out. And, you know, we tried a bunch of different guys that were LA-based, whatever, and nothing was really working, nothing we're excited about. When we heard Chester stuff he had done, we're just like 'ok, this guy can sing, we need to get him out here quick and see what the deal is.' We got him out and then 'ok, if the band is gonna work then this is gonna work. Otherwise, that's the end of Linkin Park as it is, kind of thing."
Mike talked about being the sole frontman during this period, “I only sang on my own for around two months. When we did shows, I’d get friends to the other vocals. It was really fun. It’s strange, though, whenever I’ve written vocals, I’ve always written them with two people in mind. I think it adds a cool depth and vibe to the songs.”
Back when Chester Bennington was in Grey Daze, his band opened shows for hundreds of national acts and this introduced them to a lot of people in the music industry. They drew the attention of an independent record company, Real Records, and decided to hire an entertainment attorney to help review the contract. After several interviews, they selected a Los Angeles based attorney named Scott Harrington. However, the label ran out of money and nothing materialized from the relationship.
Grey Daze released two independent albums to local acclaim, but to very little national interest. The overall frustration over the band's seeming disability to make it to the next level has led to personal conflicts between the band members. Chester and Mace Beyers left the band following a bad show at the Big Fish Pub in 1998. This happened the weekend before they were supposed to go into the studio to record a 4 song demo for Warner Bros. Records.
After the group was dissolved, Chester remained friends with Scott Harrington and would receive demos from him every once in a while.
Danny Hayes, the attorney who helped sign Xero to a publishing deal, was partners with Scott at the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. They were at South By Southwest in Texas talking about a band that needed a singer and Scott recommended Chester. Jeff Blue was also at the music conference when he was told about the singer from Phoenix. He was so desperate he called him up when he was still in Texas and told him he would be sending the music and the original songs for the singer to sing over them. Scott called Kerry Rose, Grey Daze's manager, and asked if it was possible to approach Chester about another project, called Xero. Kerry came through at the cost of his job with the remaining members of Grey Daze.
Xero's previous singer, Mark Wakefield, couldn't perform live because of a really bad stage fright, so they were looking for a new singer. "I wanted somebody in the band who had the same drive and passion for melodic singing vocals as I had towards rapping vocals," said Mike Shinoda.
Following Grey Daze's break-up, Chester took on jobs in restaurants and coffee shops to pay the bills while trying to find a new band that could match his ambitions. Lee Bennington, his father, said, “He spent a year-and-a-half or so trying to find something else to do. He’d call up the local rock people and go to their studios. I asked him one day, ‘What are you gonna do if you don’t find something?’ He said, ‘I’m gonna give it another six months and then I’ll get a real job.’ And that’s when he was contacted by the guys that were putting Linkin Park together. The rest of it is history. If music had not happened for him, he was capable of doing anything he wanted to do. He was very smart. He could been a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer.”
Scott called Chester, who at the time really wanted to quit music all together after a bad band audition for Kongo Shock in 1998, and told him about a band he thought "could really go somewhere." Upon learning the band was consisted of teenagers, Chester dismissed it as a waste of time, but Scott insisted he should listen to their music. The next day, on a Friday, Chester then received a tape. One side had vocals on it and the other side was just instrumental. Chester listened to the instrumental side first and was really impressed, it was different from anything he had heard. However, when he flipped the tape over and listened to the songs with vocals he started to have some doubts about it. He turned it back over to the other side, and started singing the parts and thought to himself "I can do this." Among the tracks on the tape were early versions of "A Place For My Head", "Forgotten" and "Pictureboard".
"I noticed that Mike's rapping was really good, and I felt I could improve on their melodies as far as where their choruses were concerned. Something did tell me that, yeah, this is the one. This was the golden ticket to get inside Willy Wonka's chocolate factory!", said Chester.
Chester called Jay Kereny of Lemon Krayola and asked if he would help with he tracks they sent him. Jay, his brother John, and Bart Applewhite of Kongo Shock learned the songs, Jay helped Chester with the melodies and they videotaped the session. The three musicians were playing together in a band called Size 5 at the time. Their frontman, Chuck Moore, said, "One awesome memory I will always have is the night that him and Sam came to the base at a Size 5 practice and asked me if he could "borrow" the band for a few hours and record an audition video for a band in LA called "Hybrid Theory"..of course I was "absolutely" and Jay Kereny John Kereny and Barton Applewhite went to work on this video. Sam recorded this amazing work of vocals and history was born."
Chester threw a 23rd birthday party for himself the next day but skipped it to record the demo of his vocals over Xero's music. He called Mike Jones, who handled engineering and production work on ...No Sun Today, to use his studio, but said he didn't have much money. He charged a hundred dollars an hour. Mike then called his partner, Ghery Fimbres, who met with Chester in a late Saturday evening at the studio. Ghery transferred the cassette to a 24-track-2 inch-tape, cleaning it up as much as possible, and set up a Neumann U-87, a pop filter, and a headphone rig to start the recording. After 3 hours in the studio, the final audition tape was committed to DAT, and also burned in a CD.
Chester went home and called Jeff Blue (who was back in Los Angeles) on a Sunday, asking when he could come out. At first, Jeff didn't believe Chester had actually finished the tracks in such a short time. Jeff told him he had to listen to the recording first, but Chester refused to send it via mail because he wanted to be sure he was going to listen. Chester then put the tape in his stereo and played 30 seconds of it via the phone and Jeff was impressed with what he heard. Not only Chester had sung Mark's parts but also added his own flavor to them. "What I heard floored me. Every crack of his voice had a story to tell. It was iconic, genuine, vulnerable, urgent, beautiful and hit you in the gut. I immediately called Brad and Mike and told them I was flying Chester out to Los Angeles."
Chester was working in technology, at a digital services firm that was taking maps of newly developed local sub-divisions and scanning them to put the entire county library of maps on 13 discs. He left his job being assured by his boss that he could have it back if things didn't work out with this new band. In Los Angeles, he was essentially homeless for months, shuttling between friends' and relatives' sofas, a rehearsal studio, and even slept in his old Toyota.
On Monday morning, Chester drove to Los Angeles and, at 8:30, got to the Nine Thousand Sunset LLC and Cord Partners Inc. building on Sunset Blvd. The doors were open at 11 o'clock and Chester met Jeff in his office. "Into my office walked a kid with Coke-bottle glasses; a glittery, button-down black shirt two sizes too big; spiked black hair; and an unstoppable smile from ear to ear that lit up the room. I couldn’t believe the voice I heard on the demo came out of the shy kid sitting before me," said Jeff. He started calling people from the label, announcing they got a new singer for Xero and setting up showcases. Jeff Blue gave Xero a development deal in 1997 after seeing just one show at the Whisky a Go Go. The club was packed with A&R scouts who had all fled by the third song.
In Los Angeles, there was a magazine called Music Connection in which the band had announced a vacancy. When Chester met the band, he personally gave them his audition tape and they really liked what they heard, but they had already booked appointments with other singers. For 3 days, they frequently had to interrupt the rehearsals to let other people do their audition, even though they had already started writing new songs with Chester. "There was one guy who never wore shoes, and he told us he wanted to do stand-up comedy during our show," said Mike. At one point, one person came up, heard Chester singing, said "If you guys don't take this guy then you're fucking idiots" and walked away. Chester tried to convince him to do the audition, but he said "There's no fucking way I'm going back into that room. Singing after hearing you sing, there's no way! If they don't take you call me up we should start a band."
Prior to meeting Chester, the band had been auditioning for a new singer for 4 to 5 months, meaning they had started while still performing with Mark Wakefield.
A new name, "Hybrid Theory", was suggested by Joe Hahn after the mix of styles they brought to their music. However, the band felt this style of music could be blended better, not so jagged and forced. So they scrapped most of the songs they had and started working on new ones. Brad Delson explained, "I don’t want it to sound like ‘Here’s the rap part, now here comes the huge rock choruses.’ I wanted it all to fit together, so there wasn’t one part that sounds like rap and another like rock. [...] It wasn’t easy at first. If you heard our first demos, it wasn’t as much as now. There’d be rock sections and rap sections." Mike Shinoda added, "We are a constantly evolving experiment. Our goal is to bring seemingly distant elements together." Mike would first work with Brad on the music before writing lyrics with Chester, often bringing up painful memories from Chester's childhood.
As Mike pointed out, the two had very different upbringings. "My parents are still married. They took great care of us, and I feel like I had a good upbringing, and Chester had a very dysfunctional home system that he grew up in. One of the things that made our not only our friendship really strong, but it played into the music. It was peanut butter and jelly. We were so different, and I had a way of, as he would describe it, writing the things that were on his mind."
Chester was still in the process of developing his own identity as a singer. Mike recalls he would sometimes unconsciously sing in the style of his favorite singers such as Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode and Layne Stale from Alice In Chains. "Basically he would come in my house and it would either be just me and Chester or me, Chester and Brad. We would work on new material. It was '99 maybe, or '98 and we'd work on new material and see what directions we could push his voice. At the time he was still developing his own identity as a singer. And I say that because when he would sing a new thing, he was very good at imitating somebody else's style and he would often fall into his favourite singer's style, even to the extent that he would accidentally form words with an accent."
With the addition of a new vocalist, Jeff Blue invited all the label reps who passed on the band to watch them rehearse one by one and every one of them passed on the band again. Brad commented, "We probably showcased for every major label except Warner and no one really gave us a shot. They thought that what we were doing was too different. A lot of bands are coming out doing rap and rock, but a lot of A&R guys made a bad assumption that there's only one way to do it. For instance, our music's not really that 'party-oriented'; we're drawing from different elements in hip hop like Black-Eyed Peas, the Roots, Common and Mos Def a little more dark, a little more intellectual."
Dave Farrell's involvement as a member of The Snax prevented him from writing or recording with the band. Before Chester came in, Dave left to go tour for what he calls "one very long year" (closer to a year and a half) and was replaced by Kyle Christener of Waffle, who would play some shows in California and Arizona as well as label showcases before being kicked out of the band and joining the band Nosedive. More recently, he has played with The Hobo Code.
"I think we spent nearly a year bugging him to come back to the band. Touring without him, the balance of personalities in the band felt like a constant nagging issue. We knew the chemistry was off," said Mike about Dave's absence.
Before the band settled for Kyle, they played a few times with another bass player named Andrew Lanoie. At the time, Lanoie was in the interview process for a job as talent agent at William Morris Agency. He said, "I started to get the itch to play a little bit play to go play bass. So I started working through ads in the recycler, which was all pre internet really, back then. And so started playing with this one band. And we traded music and got together two or three times. And they had just signed a publishing deal with a big publishing company called zamba. And went into this little crappy studio, rehearsal studio and they had like $60,000 worth of brand new gear. I’m like, how did you guys get this and what’s happening? They’re like, oh, well, we just signed a publishing deal. So did that played with them a bunch of times they ended up going with the other was I was the runner up bass player for that band. Got the job at William Morris, which is like a six month interview process, which is just pretty wild. Working at William Morris, and probably a year goes by and my friend called me who was managing the Goo Goo Dolls and he’s like, that band you played with just put out their first record and they sold like 650,000 albums first week and it was Lincoln Park. So pretty funny, right?"
Writing and Recording
Not much is known about the writing of the Hybrid Theory EP. It's mentioned in the re-issue insert that the EP was recorded in a local studio and at Mike's apartment in 1999. Jeff Blue booked Mudrock for about a week in the studio with the band in June 1999. Kyle Christener also mentioned the band wrote and rehearsed in a small rehearsal room. The band's rehearsal space at the time was at the HiFi Hollywood Rehearsal Studios, located on Hollywood Boulevard between the intersections of Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar Avenue, and Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.
The band felt the material they already had wasn't good enough, so as soon as Chester joined the band, they immediately began writing new songs with him. The Hybrid Theory EP is the first release with him on vocals.
Due to Phoenix being out of the band at this time (1999 to October 2000) to tour with The Snax, he did not record bass on any songs on the Hybrid Theory EP or Hybrid Theory. Kyle Christner recorded bass on the Hybrid Theory EP.
Speaking about the EP, Mike said, "That was a little project we put together when Chester first came to California. It was the first time we were in the studio. Actually it was with Mudrock who did Godsmack’s tracks. He was someone we had met who was really nice and we could do something for a small amount of money." When asked why older songs that later appeared on Hybrid Theory weren't on the EP, he answered, "We had, at that point we were like jelling with Chester so like we were trying to make new music, you know what I'm saying? We had already like put out like demos with those songs on it so people kind of knew they, like existing fans, knew they existed so we didn't, you know? I think that was part of the idea. But more of the idea was to like move forward and like do, you know, new material."
The EP was produced by Mike Shinoda with Mudrock, who produced Godsmack's 1998 eponymous debut album, co-producing three out of the 6 tracks (7 counting the hidden track). They were "Carousel", "And One" and "Part Of Me". Those three songs are credited to Mike Shinoda, Joe Hahn, Brad Delson, Chester Bennington and Rob Bourdon; while "Step Up" and "High Voltage" are credited to Mike Shinoda, Joe Hahn and Brad Delson; "Technique (Short)" to Mike Shinoda and Joe Hahn; and the hidden track to Mike Shinoda.
Not much is known about the individual songs or their composition. It has been stated many times by the band (sometimes as an intro to the song live) that "And One" was the first song written when Chester joined the band. "Technique" was originally a full song that was shortened and became an interlude. "High Voltage" is derivative of "Intergalactic" by the Beastie Boys, which came out in 1998 on the album Hello Nasty. When questioned who the "Akira" in the lyrics was, Mike said, "akira is a name i used to go by for a short period. it's from the movie, and it's the long version of my brother's middle name, akio". "Part Of Me" was originally called "Chair" and was built around a sample of a car alarm that was recorded by Brad. On "Part Of Me" at 9:58, the band placed an instrumental track that has no title, but is commonly referred to as "Ambient", "Secret", or "Track 7". Mike said that, although the track sounds like a video game theme, he didn't plan it that way, it just happened.
With the LP Underground CD releases, fans have come to know several other songs recorded around the Hybrid Theory EP era as well. The November 2002 LP Underground 2.0 CD presented to fans a track called "Dedicated", which was produced by Mike and is credited to Mike, Brad, Joe and Chester. On the November 2011 LP Underground X CD, tracks entitled "Slip" and "Blue" were released. These songs have the date of 1998 (although they actually date from 1999) and "Slip" gives credit to both Mark Wakefield (Xero singer) and Chester, which means the song was worked on for several years (1997 to 1999, at least). The track "Esaul" (later to be renamed as "A Place For My Head") was a song from the Xero era that was worked on in this time as well. The LP Underground 12 CD saw the release of "So Far Away", a track entirely sung by Mike Shinoda, and a song called "Hurry" was released as a downloadable track for the LP Underground 15 CD. Both tracks share some common elements. According to Mike, "Hurry" was created around the same period as a few of the songs on the EP. Finally, it is likely that the song referred to as "Pictureboard" was touched in 1999 too, since Mike mentioned the band performed the song with Chester once live.
The point of mentioning these songs (even though they are not on the Hybrid Theory EP) is that the band was writing quite a bit of new music with Chester as well as resurrecting past Xero demos to rework with him too, all for the Hybrid Theory EP and Hybrid Theory releases.
Linkin Park re-recorded several of the songs from the Hybrid Theory EP for possibly inclusion on Hybrid Theory, but none of these songs made the cut for the album. At least "Carousel" and "Part Of Me" were re-recorded, but a completely different live version of "And One" compared to the Hybrid Theory EP version indicates that it possibly was re-recorded as well even though no studio version has been released to verify that. According to Brad, they took the outro and made it the bridge and pulled the rhythm tighter. Mike remixed "High Voltage" likely for this purpose as well since the end of "Cure For The Itch" blends perfectly (same strings) into the start of the "High Voltage" remix. Since it did not make Hybrid Theory, the track was then released on the "One Step Closer" single in January 2001 with "My December". "Step Up" was released on the "In The End" single in 2001.
The booklet shows a baby on the cover that, when opened, is connected to another version of the baby through an umbilical cord. Joe Hahn explained, "Everything has two sides, alright? Actually, Mike did the front, this side. I did the back. I'm glad in hindsight that my drawing is on the back cause I wouldn't want to look at this all the time. I'd rather look at that."
With Kyle, the band created its own label, Mix Media, recorded five songs and printed 1,500 copies of a self-titled EP, selling a few hundred at first then giving the remainder away. In search of a more effective outlet for their music, the majority of the songs were made available on the Internet for free on MP3.com. They would post links to their page all over the internet, on music forums, chat rooms and other band's websites. Rob said, "I would assign everyone in the band to go on the Internet and recruit five or six people a day. We'd go into a Korn chat room and say, 'There's this new cool band called Linkin Park, go check out their MP3,' pretending like we weren't in the band." Their street team started building off those MP3s. People were able to download all of their music and they started calling the band, who would send them copies of the EP and some promotional items. They would spend 10 hours a day using Rob's apartment as a packing facility for stickers, compact discs, t-shirts, letters from the band, and other items. "They got so pissed off at the post office next to my old apartment. Priority Mail boxes are free, so I would take all of their boxes and run out of there. We would package the stuff in my apartment. My living room became a total mailroom." The positive feedback from the fans was what encouraged them to keep going as a band and made them start taking the idea of making a record and going on tour very seriously.
The Hybrid Theory EP was reissued under the band name "Linkin Park" and with a different artwork on November 19, 2001 as the very first LP Underground exclusive CD. The first 500 people who joined the fan club had their copies autographed by the band. This version was remastered by Pat Kraus and sounds louder than the original release.
Starting on September 02, 2008, the official LPU store sold a limited number of copies of each of the fan club's CDs from previous years, including the Hybrid Theory EP for $10. On January 23, 2012, the EP was sold at the LPU store once again. This time, it was part of a $65 bundle containing the first 4 CDs from the fan club. Only 90 bundles were available and they sold out in less than a minute. This was their last batch of copies of the EP, with a very small amount being saved in their inventory for future giveaways or contests. A few copies have been used on LPU Giveaways and signed copies have been used for LPU Auctions over the years. Digital copies of the album can be purchased exclusively at the LPU store.
The Hybrid Theory EP was issued for the first time in vinyl format as part of the Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition) super deluxe box set in 2020.
|1||Carousel||Shinoda, Hahn, Delson, Bennington, Bourdon||3:00|
|2||Technique (Short)||Shinoda, Hahn||0:40|
|3||Step Up||Shinoda, Hahn, Delson||3:58|
|4||And One||Shinoda, Hahn, Delson, Bennington, Bourdon||4:34|
|5||High Voltage||Shinoda, Hahn, Delson||3:29|
|6||Part Of Me||Shinoda, Hahn, Delson, Bennington, Bourdon||12:44|
- Note: "Part Of Me" contains an untitled hidden track by Mike Shinoda.
Hybrid Theory is:
- Rob Bourdon - drums
- Joseph Hahn - turntables, programming
- Kyle Christner - bass
- Brad Delson - guitar
- Chester Bennington - vocals
- Mike Shinoda - vocals, programming
- Produced by Mike Shinoda
- Tracks 1, 4, 6 produced and mixed by Mudrock and Mike Shinoda
- Tracks 2, 3, 5, 7 produced and mixed by Mike Shinoda
- Mastered by Pat Kraus
- Art direction by Mike Shinoda
- All art ©1999 Mike Shinoda except back cover ©1999 Joseph Hahn
Songs Played Live
- "Carousel" (Only as Hybrid Theory; Never as Linkin Park, but rehearsed in 2001 by Linkin Park)
- "Step Up"
- "And One"
- "Part Of Me" (Only as Hybrid Theory; Never as Linkin Park)
- "Step Up" was sampled on "It's Goin' Down" and "Kyur4 Th Ich".
- A live medley of "Step Up", "Nobody's Listening" and "It's Goin' Down" was registered on the LP Underground 4.0 CD.
- Download original 1999 Hybrid Theory EP (FLAC)
- LPU 1 (Digital Download) - Linkin Park Underground Store
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- New Page 1
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