We had the honor and immense gratitude of attending Linkin Park’s induction ceremony into Guitar Center’s Rock Walk on the Sunset Strip Wednesday June 18, 2014. It was especially great sharing the unique experience with fellow LPU members and Lifers!
Attendees were asked to arrive no later than 11:30 that morning, a tent set up outside Guitar Center for check-in. It was great to see familiar faces amongst the press members prepping to enter the area inside set up for such ceremonies, lights set up above a stage in front of a small crowd riser, curtains creating a backstage, cloth banners boldly announcing the occasion: Rock Walk is proud to induct LINKIN PARK.
Checked-in with our exclusive badges slipped over our necks, introductions to new friends done as we all stayed together, gathering in front of and on the riser right below the set up for press and their video cameras, we waited not too long for the five minute countdown til the start, excitement high as we all chatted.
We were able to see the cement slab being readied, smoothed out and with the gold plagues of their signatures set in, LINKIN PARK on top, centered above their names. Chester, Phoenix, Brad, Mr. Hahn, Rob and Mike.
Soon the music was lowered to background volume, Nic Harcourt of Guitar Center Sessions stepping out as host and to give a bit of their story, very kind, impressive compliments and even more impressive stats- such as more than sixty awards worldwide. He then asked the Linkin Park fans’ favorite radio DJ Ted Stryker of KROQ to step out and add more words, the admiration and love for them as people and as musicians obvious.
“They take what they do very seriously. And they also realize that just because you have a hit record, that does not guarantee anything. Cause in two years, you better have that same work ethic, you better be great to your fans, and you better work hard, you better tour like crazy and you’ve got to be incredible live. Linkin Park has done that from day one.”
“They get it,” he emphasized repeatedly.
When he introduced the guys out onto the stage, he greeted them all as we brought them in with clapping and cheering, Chester taking lead this time and coming up to the metal podium they had set up beside the table holding the cement slab they’d soon be imprinting their hands into, the rest of the guys seated after pictures were taken.
We were amused by the firm commands the photographers gave them; “Look to the right! Now to the left! Raise your chin!”
Thanking Nic and Stryker, Chester ever-so humbly started a small speech, thanking those in attendance and Guitar Center. He immediately let us know that the induction meant a lot, saying “this spot in LA, this strip of LA, really means a lot to me. It was the very first place I met these guys.”
(Right in the feels, yo.)
“Let’s get muddy!” started off their prep of hands and positioning, a few seconds of their hands hovering over the cement for photos, finally pressing down. It was almost an endearing sight, seeing these guys pressing down on the slab how kids do into clay, raising their dirty hands out together, Brad and Joe almost wiping each other’s faces jokingly, Rob getting a face from Joe as he nearly smacked his hand into his face.
Leaving us for a few moments to wash their hands, they were brought back out for a Q & A, first each presented with Rock Walk plaques to take home. [Questions, though in quotes, are paraphrased.]
“Whose kids are on the album?”
Brad took full credit of those audio clips, saying he has an extremely high pitched voice, sounds like a child- we chortled… especially when he tried to prove it.
“Getting inducted into Rock Walk, how does it feel being alongside some of the greats?”
Mike was bummed the band didn’t have a mascot, like Iron Maiden had the skeletal hand for theirs.
“Are you considering touring soon?”
Chester answered that they planned to do a proper world tour, announcing dates for the fall soon.
“Who influenced you when you were starting out?”
Different for each, Chester explained, so they try to represent those differences as a whole in their work- and “anything that made my dad get mad at me, anything that the adults in our life hated.”
[“How was playing Download?”]
Really special, Phoenix answered, never having played Hybrid Theory front to back, and they learned they are the band to have played Download the most.
“Do you have anything big planned soon, anything special no one knows about?”
I especially liked this question because Brad immediately turned on his charming, sarcastic humor: “I have brunch plans this weekend.”
“I’m going to be there,” Mike added, Rob finally adding to the conversation- “I wasn’t invited. I’ll probably crash it.”
Chester was a bit more direct, answering “It’s a secret. We can’t tell you… because then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.” Brad nursed the wound a bit by mentioning their upcoming Carnivores Tour, stating their excitement.
“[Chester], would you be open to a collaboration with an artist that identifies with the LGBT community?”
“The thing that matters is the quality of the music they’re making… I personally don’t see people with labels, I just see people.”
“Will any of the earlier material you [trashed] for this album see the light of day?”
Mike answered that material from A Thousand Suns is actually on the album, so one just never knows, never know when an idea will resurface. It all depends on the album they are working on.
“Have you attended Comic Con as a band, any of you regulars?”
All you really need to know is that they all collectively looked at Joe [hilarious]… and he’s going dressed as the DJ of Linkin Park with a DJ coffin of cardboard (Joe has attended since 1993).
“Will you come back to visit your prints?”
Chester hopes to have it as a pen pal… but he definitely hopes to bring his kids to see them. Joe thinks that if a movie of them is ever made, the ending should have them as old men coming back to the prints and putting their hands to them, with his impression of an old, struggling man to do so.
The fun ended with that, the band saying good-bye and the attendees allowed to see the prints up close. It was a fun photo experience, our photo as LPU and Lifers together taken.
Our immense gratitude once again goes out to LPU HQ and the band!