Although tourists daily pack Hollywood Boulevard to snap photos of the brass stars adorning the sidewalk, those of us living in the Los Angeles rock and roll scene know there is a more revered “walk” to look to for some of music’s most legendary acts: the Rock Walk at the Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard.
Beginning in 1985, timeless acts such as Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Johnny Cash, Van Halen, AC/DC, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Queen, and countless more have cemented their handprints in the Rock Walk, and last Wednesday, Linkin Park joined their ranks in that hall of fame.
Described as a “local band that made great” by KCRW’s Nic Harcourt, the GRAMMY-winning group was praised for their “thunderous, innovative, multiple genre-mixing musical styles” spanning six albums, five of which hit number one on the Billboard charts. Since 2000’s Hybrid Theory, the best-selling album in the world that year and the best-selling album of the new millennium at over 18 million copies, Linkin Park has been heralded by critics and fans alike for their “mastery of music, demonstrated by both their sonic relevance and lyrical intelligence.”
KROQ’s Stryker noted that he recognized Linkin Park’s “passion, work ethic, dedication, and focus” from the very beginning. They inspired him with their hard work, ability to balance the serious and fun, and the way in which they cultivated their relationship with fans through relentless touring and solid releases.
Linkin Park then took the stage, gratefully acknowledging the large press corps and posing politely for photographers. As “UnTil It’s Gone,” the lead single off their recently-released album, Hunting Party, played overhead, the band mates pushed their hands into wet cement, sealing their place in the Rock Walk.
Lead vocalist Chester Bennington led the Q&A, first acknowledging that the group is “only as great as our fans think we are” and thanking everyone for being a part of this “huge honor and sharing this special moment with us.” The group discussed early memories of playing Los Angeles, noting venues such as The Whisky A-Go-Go, The Roxy, and the now-closed Key Club, and reminiscing about rehearsing at a studio on Hollywood and Vine.
When asked how the band feels having released a sixth solid studio album, Bennington explained, “What we have is unique, and while we have been around for a while, I feel like people finally know who we are, and we are going to keep each other excited and interested. It’s like being in a new band every time we make a record, so we are going to try to stay in the moment as much as we can.”
Looking to the future, keyboardist and vocalist Mike Shinoda said, “Sometimes we look far down the road and set varying goals, but when we do creative things in the studio, our goals are in the moment. We are fully invested in the present and excited, so I don’t have an answer for what is next.”
What is certain, however, is Linkin Park’s place in rock history, both at Guitar Center’s Rock Walk and through their impressive discography, which continually pushes the limits of rock music and blurs genre lines.
The band will be hitting the road this summer with Thirty Seconds To Mars and AFI on The Carnivores Tour, with a stop on September 19th here at the Hollywood Bowl.
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