Linkin Park was named after a park in the band's hometown of Santa Monica, California. The band was originally named Xero, with the four original band members, Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson, Rob Bourdon and DJ Joseph Hahn, remaining to form Hybrid Theory after co-band member Phoenix dropped out to pursue other passions. Chester Bennington joined the foursome and they changed their name to the now famous Linkin Park.
The band signed with Warner Brothers records after quickly becoming popular in Los Angeles and surrounding Southern California. The first album released as a group was titled Hybrid Theory and quickly rose to the top of the new rock/pop category with such hits as 'One Step Closer' and 'In The End' rising to the top of the Billboard charts. 'Crawling' and 'Runaway' also were on heavy rotation on the radio.
'Crawling' won the 2002 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. Most of the lyrics on this album deal with everyday life, because as Mike Shinoda says Chester and I write about universal emotions, whether it's feeling insignificant, optimistic, or frustrated. We write about everyday life, because sometimes it's good to know there are other people going through the same things that you are.
'Session', from Linkin Park's second album Meteora, was nominated for the 2004 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. This album is filled with less of the angst inspired rock than their first album, Hybrid Theory, but much of the same use of samples and inspiring lyrics.
'Somewhere I Belong' originally started out as an acoustic piece with Chester playing the guitar and singing the lyrics, but when Mike Shinoda heard it, he had a grander vision and the two of them wrote over 30 different choruses until they found one that fit the song perfectly. 'Session' was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
The group says that much of their music is influenced by the Deftones, Nine Inch Nails, The Roots, and Aphex Twin. They have toured with P.O.D. and Papa Roach as openers, and have toured extensively on their own as well. Linkin Park has formed a close bond with their fans, and it shows in the way that their concerts consistently sell out. The use of drum pads, samplers, and turn tables live on stage helps give every performance an original feel and keeps the audience on its toes because every show is different.
Chester, the lead singer, has formed a partnership with Korn's Head and Orgy's Ryan Shuck to design clothes for the Replicant clothing label. The artistic member of the group, Mark Shinoda, designed the cover art for both albums that the group has put out.