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Jim Cooper, Associated Press
Chester Bennington, Rob Bourdon, Mike Shinoda, Joseph Hahn, Brad Delson, Dave Farrell.

When the guys in Linkin Park were writing songs for their most recent album, "Minutes to Midnight," they came up with an array of styles.

"We got demos that sounded like anything, everything," said vocalist Mike Shinoda during a telephone conference from Los Angeles, Calif. "There was stuff that sounded like Public Enemy. There was stuff that sounded like '80s R&B pop songs. There was stuff that sounded like Johnny Cash. There was stuff that sounded like old Anthrax."

"We even had some stuff that was considered by some of the other members in the band that sounded like it could have been on 'The Little Mermaid' soundtrack," co-vocalist Chester Bennington said.

"No," Shinoda said. "It wasn't 'Mermaid.' It was 'Mulan.' Two of the guys were like, 'This song sounds like it's from the movie "Mulan." I hate it.' But the other four of us loved it."

The diversity showed, however, that Linkin Park — Shinoda, Bennington, DJ Joseph Hahn, guitarist Brad Delson, drummer Rob Bourdon and bassist Dave Farrell — wanted to create an album different than the band's studio albums "Hybrid Theory" and "Meteora."

In fact, the band even tapped producer Rick Rubin to help realize that goal.

Rubin, who is working with Metallica on its new album, has produced artists such as Slayer, the late Johnny Cash, Run D.M.C. and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

"We were really hungry to make a record," Bennington said. "When we started talking about producers, we knew in our hearts that we wanted to make a record that was going to be a turning point for us and kind of revamping the band creatively and intellectually.

"Rick has a similar philosophy to producing music that we have in making music. He produces music based on personal taste. Rick was very vocal that he didn't want to make a record with us that sounded like 'Hybrid Theory' or 'Meteora.' He wanted to kind of push us to our most creative potential to see what we could do."

"That was so appealing to most of us about sitting down with Rick for the first time," Shinoda said. "He asked us, 'What kind of record do you want to make?' (And) all six of us were like, 'Pretty much something totally different.' And he said, 'Good. Because that's what I was thinking.'"

With that, the band sat back with what Bennington said were "100 bazillion songs" to see if there was any good music in the files.

"We have worked with a lot of different artists," Shinoda said. He said each time he gets into the studio with artists "they've got a different M.O. They've got a different style and different little tricks and techniques and equipment and gear that they use that I haven't tried out before. All that stuff keeps it really fresh. It breathes new life into the project.

"So, getting into the studio for 'Minutes to Midnight' we could have done some of the same things we did yesterday or we could try something brand new. We could rent a marimba and a xylophone and an electric banjo and screw around with those today."

"There was a lot of good music in there," Bennington said. "We were like, 'It's good, but could we do better?' We tried and went and did it. We took the time and exhausted every avenue. We blazed new paths."

Speaking of new paths, Linkin Park has come up with a new idea to accompany the ticket sales.

When a person orders tickets online, they have an option to download a souvenir package for an additional $15.

The package includes a live download of the ticketed concert, a digital tour program and original photos. After ordering the souvenir package, the fan will get an e-mail with download instructions.

"The best part about it to me," Bennington said, "is that our official mixer, who mixes the show every night, finishes up the show and goes back to his hotel or bus or backstage and mixes the show for the fans to download."

That means the quality of the download is not a scratchy live recording "you usually get on YouTube," Bennington said. "This is a mix done for a CD. So it sounds good in your car or coming out of your iTunes or stereo."


If you go ...

What: Linkin Park, Coheed & Cambria

Where: E Center, 3200 S. Decker Lake Drive

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

How much: $36.50-$46.50; digital souvenir package (includes ticket) $51.49-$61.49

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499

Web: www.smithstix.com


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