The band saw its and first beginings in emcee/vocalist Mike Shinoda's small bedroom studio, where he and Brad Delson recorded the band's first material in 1996. The two had attended high school together, where they met the band's drummer, Rob Bourdon. Shinoda hooked up with DJ Joseph Hahn while studying illustration at Art Center College in Pasadena. Meanwhile, attending UCLA, Delson shared an apartment with bassist Phoenix, who left the band after college and returned a year later. At this point, they named themselves Xero and recorded several demo tracks. They never got signed, and the project floundered. Then Shinoda decided to hire a vocalist, and put out an ad. They got Chester Bennington, a transplanted Arizona native who started making records when he was 16. 'When I was two, I used to run around singing Foreigner songs - there's tapes of me doing that... since I learned how to talk I've been telling everybody I was gonna grow up to be a singer.' laughs Bennington.
The band called itself Hybrid Theory after the addition of Bennington (the idea being that they were a hybrid of rock and rap), however, due to a trademark issue with a band called Hybrid, they were forced to change their name. Some discarded ideas (serious or not) were Clear (the band's favorite), Probing Lagers (which they thought was the lamest), Ten PM Stocker (because they would record every night at 10 pm at a place on Stocker Street) and Platinum Lotus Foundation. Eventually, they settled on Lincoln Park, suggested by Bennington because after band practice he would have to drive past there to get home. However the domain 'lincolnpark.com' cost more than the band could afford, so they changed the spelling to Linkin Park. However, it has also been suggested that the name 'Linkin Park' was suggested so that the band would appear right next to Limp Bizkit at record stores.
Working with an independent label, the band recorded the album Hybrid Theory EP, which featured 'Carousel', 'Technique', 'Step Up', 'And One', 'High Voltage', 'Part of Me'.
After being signed to Warner Brothers in 1999 their first album, Hybrid Theory, was released in 2000. It was the top-selling album in the United States and New Zealand in 2001, with the hit singles 'One Step Closer', 'Crawling', 'Papercut', 'In The End' and 'Points of Authority'. The album is notable for its absence of profanity, in contrast to many other nu metal bands' songs.
Linkin Park were part of the Ozzfest in 2001, touring along side Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Crazy Town, Papa Roach, and Disturbed. Linkin Park have also created their own tour - Projekt: Revolution, and on it have toured with Cypress Hill, Adema, DJ Z-Trip, Xzibit, Mudvayne and Blindside.
In 2002, they released a remix album of their Hybrid Theory album, called Reanimation, as well as releasing a remix version of their song, 'Points Of Authority'.
In 2003 their new studio album was released, titled Meteora, which debuted at #1 in the US and UK, and #2 in Australia. It contained the singles, 'Somewhere I Belong', 'Faint', 'Numb', 'From The Inside' and 'Breaking The Habit'. Later in the year, they joined forces with fellow nu-metal band Limp Bizkit and Metallica for the Summer Sanitarium Tour 2003. From this tour, Linkin Park released a new CD/DVD set called Live in Texas. This set contains tracks from their three previous records, and was filmed on location at their Summer Sanitarium performances in Dallas and Houston, Texas .
In 2004, Linkin Park created the Meteora World Tour. This tour included Linkin Park, P.O.D., Hoobastank, and Story of the Year.
In 2004, Linkin Park was touring with Snoop Dogg, The Used, Korn, and Less Than Jake on the main stage, and No Warning, Ghostface, Funeral For A Friend, M.O.P., and Downset on the second stage as part of Projekt Revolution 2004. They also had a travelling DJ, Z-Trip with them, along with Irvin the Urban Action Figure.
On November 30, 2004, Linkin Park released Collision Course, a collaboration with rapper Jay-Z featuring rap-style remixes ('mash-ups') of songs from Meteora and Hybrid Theory using lyrics from Jay-Z's repertoire. Collision Course debuted at #1 in the US, but only got to # 17 in the UK. In Holland Collision Course made it to a 7th place. Their first Collision Course hit single 'Numb/Encore' reached #1 at the Free Record Shop Download Charts in Holland.
.:: † Mike shinoda
Shinoda was born and raised in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills. His father is Japanese American, and his mother is Russian American. He also has a younger brother, Jason Shinoda. Shinoda attended Parkman Elementary and Lindero Canyon Middle School.
As per his mother's wishes, Shinoda began his classical piano training with lessons around the age of six, his enthusiasm eventually growing. At the age of thirteen, he expressed the desire to move towards playing jazz, blues, and even hip-hop. During his middle school and high school years, he added the guitar and, eventually, rap-style vocals to his repertoire.
After his teens, Mike Shinoda's rap interests found a source of encouragement in Brad Delson, with whom he started to write and record songs in a makeshift studio set up in his bedroom. Shinoda attended Agoura High School with Linkin Park bandmates Brad Delson and Rob Bourdon as well as with members of the band Hoobastank. By the end of high school, Bourdon had become involved in their musical ventures. The trio formed the band Xero, and began to make a more serious attempt to pursue a career in the music industry.
After high school, Shinoda enrolled in the Art Center College of Design to study graphic design and illustration. It was here that he made the acquaintance of DJ and turntablist Joseph Hahn, who, along with Delson's college-mate Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, was soon added to Xero's line-up. It was also here that he experienced a form of identity crisis. Years later, in an interview he said:
"I think it was probably in college that I realized that there was a difference between Japanese and Japanese-American. That’s important to realize. It’s not the same thing and then eventually with Linkin Park, I toured in Japan. I’ve been there now I think four times. I remember the first time I went, how familiar it seemed, just getting out of the plane, it smelled like my aunt’s house, in the airport, it smelled like Japan. I don’t know if anybody else even noticed it but I walked out of the plane and thought this is definitely familiar to me, didn’t even see anything yet. And then going to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, you just recognize things about the way people act, the small things that people do such as how you’ll grab a piece of paper. There are things that are more obvious like taking somebody’s business card with two hands. You don’t do that in the States. When I saw somebody do that I went, “Oh yeah, my uncle always does that,” you know. There are little things that culturally come from Japan but they also exist in Japanese American culture and it made me feel like the connection was there and I kind of hadn’t realized how much of it was there."
At only 21 years old, Shinoda eventually graduated from college with a degree in illustration, securing himself a job as a graphic designer right after graduation. With his background as a graphic artist, Shinoda has taken it upon himself in designing all of Linkin Park's artwork with Hahn, and has even designed the album cover for Styles of Beyond's debut album, 2000 Fold. In later years he would go on to showcase his art skills; he had his debut art showcase (Diamonds Spades Hearts & Clubs) at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles in the time leading up to Linkin Park's album Minutes to Midnight.