By Hayden Wright
Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington is on the offensive against haters who claim his band “sold out.” The group’s crossover appeal (and mainstream success) has always been a subject of debate among fans and metal purists, but Bennington is sick of it and wants to take his most vocal critics ‘outside’ for a smackdown. In a blistering interview with Kerrang, Bennington unloaded on holier-than-thou detractors who dismiss Linkin Park as a commercial product.
“Either you like the song or you don’t and if you don’t like the song because you hear it and on a knee-jerk reaction it’s like ‘oh it doesn’t have metal in it so I don’t like it’, that’s fine, like whatever,” Bennington told Kerrang. “But if you’re gonna be the person who says like ‘they made a marketing decision to make this kind of record to make money’ you can f—— meet me outside and I will punch you in your f—— mouth because that is the wrong f—— answer.”
“Because guess what, calling us a sell-out for that purpose is…selling out on your f—— excuse as to why you don’t like it,” he continued. “You’re a f—— p—-. For any band to take musical risks because you like what you’re doing in spite of what you know some people will say they don’t like, it doesn’t matter if they like it or not–what matters is that you took the chance to do something that you felt was important to you and that’s what being an artist is all about.”
On the contrary, Bennington says Linkin Park has risked their reputation to make the kind of music they want to make.
“When we did Minutes To Midnight, this was a conversation we literally had, ‘this could end our career,'” he recalled. “We all had that real honest conversation like ‘look I know we’re doing this because this is what we love and we really really… this is important to us. This could honestly be like the worst decision we’ve ever made professionally. Creatively probably the best thing, professionally it might be the worst.’ We were like ‘we’re good with that. We can live with that.’”
Most of all, Chester says the “sell-out” accusations take an ugly, personal tone—which he’s not having.
“When you make it personal, like a personal attack against who we are as people, like dude shut up. That means that I can actually have feelings about it and most of the time my feelings are I want to kill you.”