Chester Bennington and Brandon Boyd Talk The 2012 Honda Civic Tour

The Honda Civic Tour is set to launch it’s 11th run, which will kick off on August 11th in Bristow, Virginia at the Jiffy Lube Live amphitheatre. This year’s co-headliners are platinum alternative rock bands Linkin Park and Incubus. When two of the world’s biggest bands team up, it is sure to be one of the hottest tickets around! To help spread the word on the tour, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Incubus’ Brandon Boyd recently participated in a teleconference with journalists to discuss the upcoming tour, what the future holds for both bands and much more. Get the scoop below!

A can’t miss tour!

On what can fans expect from this year’s Honda Civic Tour:

Chester Bennington: I think that for us, I mean, really, I think the most special thing about this tour is the fact that you have two headlining bands singing together on one bill, which typically can be kind of hard to do, specifically, because usually when you’re in a position to headline a tour of this kind, you know, there’s only room for one headlining band usually. So the fact that Incubus gets to come out and perform a full headlining set and Soul Production and Linkin Park gets to come out and perform our full headlining set with personal production and everything is kind of special. But also, we kind of don’t really look at what the other artists have done on these tours and kind of go, OK, what do we think we should do. You know, we’re just going to go out and do what our fans want from us which is, you know, play songs that they’re familiar with and catch up on some on the new music and become familiar with that. So really I think from Linkin Park’s standpoint, we’re just going to come out and put on the highest-energy show we can. And incorporate as much of the new music as possible. And I’m expecting that Incubus will probably do the same.

Brandon Boyd: I think that, I just think it’s a good moment and a great opportunity to have kind of just a, you know, two big giant rock & roll bands sharing a stage, I just think that’s going to be better than either of us would do in our own show, it’s like there’s, it’s two headlining sets, including Mute Mass [Sounds Like] which is going to be a good time as well. So it’s almost like a minifestival, which is amazing. And Incubus has done a Honda Civic-sponsored tour before. It may have been one of Honda Civic’s first ones, I’m not sure, but that was like, over 10 years ago. And I remember it being really really great. And I think the listeners and friends and fans and family who came out to those shows had a really great experience, too. So I know that we as a band are really looking forward to doing it again this year. And personally, this will be the end of our touring cycle for our newest record, and so we’re looking forward to just making some music and I’m very much looking forward to seeing Linkin Park with my own eyes for the first time since… in over 10 years ago as well. So I think it’s going to be fun to be able to see you guys every night.

On Linkin Park and Incubus finally teaming up for a tour:

Brandon Boyd: I personally think it’s an occasion that’s kind of long overdue. We have a lot of mutual listeners, our bands, and I think that it’s one of those things that once the idea was floated, and we really kind of caught onto it, that it seemed like, Why haven’t we done this yet, type of a thing. Linkin Park has a considerably larger reach than Incubus has had, and I think it’s going to be wonderful for us as a band to play in front of more people. [laughs] So we definitely appreciate the opportunity there. But I personally think that it’s just going to be great because of that sort of, because of the carryover between the listeners, you know there are a lot of Linkin Park listeners who are also Incubus listeners and vice versa. But we’ve never done something like this before. So as far as the feedback is concerned from people around the world-—Incubus has been on tour for the past year—once this tour was announced it’s been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. So I’m really excited for it to get started.

Chester Bennington: Thank you, Brandon. I agree. I think that, um, it’s funny because in Linkin Park we all have the things that we do better than other guys do, so for example I’m really bad at reading long-form legal documents [laughter].

Brandon Boyd: You are?! [laughing]

Chester Bennington: Like I just don’t, like, get, and most of it doesn’t make any sense to me anyways. You know, there are guys in the band who are much better and more qualified to kind of go through that process than me. So one of the places that I actually can contribute some skill or input that matters is on touring. Typically I’ve been pretty, even in my loosest form, I’ve been involved in figuring out who we tour with for a long time. And so, I swear, it feels like I’ve probably tried to figure out a way to get Linkin Park and Incubus on the road together at least once per cycle since probably Meteora [Sounds Like]. It just goes to show how difficult it can be to actually get two headlining groups together. Kind of going back to that first question, you know, it was surprising to me that we haven’t actually done more touring with Incubus than we have in the last 15 years. Fourteen years. So for the fact that like we do share such a big, I think, group of fans that kind of listen to both bands, I still feel like there’s a large number of people that, um, are Incubus fans that never really got into Linkin Park, or kind of vice versa. But I think that there’s a common interest there. And so I feel like that’s one of the things that’s been so positive, overwhelmingly positive, about everyone’s response to our bands going on tour together is that I think it gives both of our fans something that they’ve wanted for a long time, which is to see Incubus and go see Linkin Park, because I think they’ve had to choose a lot of times on which band they’re going to go see because we’ve both been on tour. Or when we’re on tour in the U.S., Incubus is off in the Pacific Rim, hopping all over Asia or somewhere in Europe and we’re down in Asia. It just never works out. So I think the fact that they’re ending their cycle and we’re kind of beginning ours and this is a very specific time in our career that things have lined up for us to be able to do a tour like this together. We get to go out and just fully express ourselves as artists and really do whatever we want to do this energy we feel our fans are going to want. I think that that’s something that’s really special. And so I’m very appreciative to the people on the Civic tour. You know, having the vision to kind of understand, that this is something that is rare and is something that, um, you know, people are going to be excited to go see. You know you never get to go see Bon Jovi and Kiss at the same time.

Chester Bennington: Yeah, this to me feels as exciting as a lot of the concerts that I would be excited to go to when I was a kid. That was I think one of the reasons why Lollapalooza when I was young became so important so quickly. It was because it was the only place that you could go see, you know, the Chili Peppers and Ministry and, you know, Pearl Jam and all these bands play together. And Ice Cube. But there’s no way you were going to see all these bands together, you know? And that’s been the inspiration for modern festivals and I think that the fact that this does kind of feel like a little minifestival even though there are only three bands [laughs]. It does have that feeling of something that’s going to be a show that you wanna go see. Cuz it’s got something special. I’m excited. Honestly I think that, I also hope that our bands can walk away inspired from each other. You know? I’ve always appreciated Incubus for their music. And they’re also very good live. I’ve had the chance to pop over and watch them play a couple songs onstage here and there at some festivals throughout our career and they’re a great live band. So I think the energy is going to be really amazing out in the crowd. So I would actually like to be down there to watch the show but I don’t know if that’s going to be possible. [chuckles]

Brandon Boyd: It’s time to start training an understudy and then, uh, do some plastic surgery on him, and then sneak into the crowd.

Chester Bennington: Exactly. I think that would actually be cheaper than a hologram.

Brandon Boyd: That’s right, get a hologram of yourself and then you can, uh… [laughing]

Chester Bennington: That would be great, though. I’m just putting it out there. If anyone does have the hologram technology, and it looks real, I would be open to taking the hologram out on the road.

Brandon Boyd: Right.

Brandon Boyd on what is next for Incubus following the Honda Civic tour:

Brandon Boyd: As far as that’s concerned, we have no plans, to tell you the truth at the moment. We are, for the first time since 1996, we are free agents again. We’re without a record label. So what we’re kind of doing is trying to get our bearings as to what we should do next, just as a band but also as a band that is kind of off in new territory again. So I have been tinkering around potentially with a second solo record. That’s probably the most likely scenario. But as far as Incubus right now, we’ll probably take another break. Hopefully it won’t be as long. But what we like to do is arrive with the best of intentions and try and create music from a sense of urgency as well as purity and not necessarily based on a schedule. I know that that can be a little bit frustrating for our listeners and stuff. But I think that we’ll make better music as a result. So the plan is to have no plan.

On a potential new record deal for Incubus:

Brandon Boyd: We definitely got a taste of what it’s going to be like without a record label on this latest album cycle with” If Not Now, When?”. Though we were still signed to Epic Records there was a lot of sort of changing of the guards going on with LA Reid being the new president and he wasn’t quite there yet, even though he was technically the guy on the TV show and there was a real lack of direction and leadership when we kind of needed it the most. [laughs] So it was hard and it was frustrating but it was also very telling for us and perhaps educational. Because what we were forced to do was we were forced into ingenuity. And so we came up with this idea to set up shop in this art gallery in Los Angeles and do the Incubus HQ and fly listeners in from different corners of the world and do these live broadcasts on the Internet. And so we started getting these ideas about subscription-based live concerts online and it ended up being a really scary and stressful project, but the fruits of it are still kind of revealing themselves. We have this HQ box set that we’re putting out and the DVD set comes out I think August 14 is the release date. There’s like the superfan all six nights on DVD mixed in 5.1 with the CDs and pieces of canvases that people were drawing on in the room while we were playing music. Like I said, it’s forced us to think outside of that normal music industry paradigm that we had gotten so accustomed to. And so in that sense the lack of attention from our record label and the end days of our record label relationship were really good and very beneficial for us as a band because it gave us a sense of what we might be doing in the coming years. So I’m personally very excited about being in complete control, of being able to be a total control freak. It doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t sign with another record label at some point but it would definitely have to be very, very specific. [laughs] Not get into just a good old-fashioned record deal again, if they even exist.

Chester Bennington on what is next for Linkin Park following the Honda Civic tour:

Usually in the beginning of the touring cycle we kind of focus on what we’re going to be doing with the new music. You know, touring at this point, for us, is pretty awesome because, you know, and at the same time it works against you to a certain degree. Because I realized the other day, I was thinking about it, why is it more difficult to get, um, casual fans into new music? I think it’s because when we started touring it was just Hybrid Theory and Hybrid Theory was like 36 minutes long. So basically you know when you’re headlining a tour, we started out opening shows which was great because we played for 15 minutes and then leave, 25 minutes and leave. So when we got to the point where people fell in love with what we were doing and were listening to us and we were the headlining band, we were forced to play our entire record. Like, every single night. And so people were I think falling in love with the record in a different way. And even with Meteora, like, um, once we had that record it was like, OK, we basically have enough music to fill a proper headlining set. And so we’ve essentially played both records all the way through for our entire first five years, six years of touring. And so once you get to that point where you have a bunch of songs that people have heard on the radio, and it becomes more, you know, less about playing everything you have and more about playing the songs that people are familiar with. We’re at that point now where it’s like, we’ve been around for over a decade, that makes it sound more important, I think. [laughter]

We’ve been around for over 10 years and we’ve been, this is our fifth record, we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of songs that do really well off of our records and so, you know, a lot of people come there to hear the songs that they know. And adding in new material becomes something that is a little bit more difficult for us over the last few records because most of the songs that are really great are like, midtempo songs. And Linkin Park isn’t the band that you go to see, you know, chairs on the floor in the arena. That’s, no one wants to come to a Linkin Park show and stand there and look at the band and listen to beautiful music. People want that but they also want to be kicked in the face and they want to, you know, run into each other and they want to jump up and down and sing and have a really great, high-energy time. And so being able to incorporate a lot of new material into our set just felt like it was bringing too much of the energy down. So I think what we’re doing on this tour is like with the new record, the new record has so much energy that we feel like we could add a bunch of new music to the set and people will be stoked about it. Casual fans are there to hear the three songs that they love, and go “Oh yeah, I didn’t know they did this song too!” Those fans will actually enjoy hearing the new music at these shows.

Chester Bennington

Right now at this point we’re focused on making sure the new material is up to speed and that we’re familiar with it enough to go and play it live. And then at that point, you know, once that kind of calms down that’s usually when the creative process starts to kick in. Because now we’re not creating a show and we’re working on learning new music. Cuz that’s something we don’t do, we don’t sit and jam, we don’t hang out as a band and write music together. That’s just not what we do. So a lot of our connection time and what you would think would be stereotypical band moment time really comes from when we’re learning these new songs and rehearsing and going out and playing these new songs as a set for the first time. And then everything’s new and fresh and I think because we’re adding so much of the new record over the next few months to our live set, that’s what we’re focused on. But once that calms down, that creative hunger is going to turn itself on and we’re going to start writing new music. So I would imagine by the time we’re done touring this record, we’ll be in a similar position to what we were with 1,000 Suns. Going into Living Things. We’ll be able to just kind of go right into the studio, make another record and put it out and kind of keep that cycle going. We’ve really got ourselves in a position now where we kind of feel like we’re touring less as an idea of “Let’s go tour really hard for nine months and then come home” and tour really hard for nine months and then come home, and hopefully have enough energy to want to do anything. It’s like touring for a few weeks and coming home for a month and going out and touring for a few weeks and coming home for a month. So we’re really spending as much time home as we are on the road and I think that also caters to, encourages a creative process because we kind of feel energized more, more often. So I think that kind of answers all of your questions into one ginormous ongoing answer.

I think we’ll be touring more or less through next summer for sure. Maybe even into next fall, depending on what the schedule looks like. I know that we’re planning on going to South Africa for the first time, which I’m very excited about. We’re planning on going to South America, going back to Europe, going to Asia, and doing another U.S. tour, I believe. Probably to end it all. Next year. And then go straight back again into the studio and make another record.

On the longevity of the band and surviving in the new age of digital music:

Brandon Boyd: That’s a really interesting notion actually. It’s something that I talk about with friends and people in different industries and everything, but it’s been really interesting to be, I’m sure it’s been interesting from Linkin Park’s perspective as well, because they as well were kind of, Linkin Park and Incubus were two of the very few bands who kind of like got a gust of wind out of the old paradigm of the music industry. But like survived out of it. There are so many bands that, bands in a traditional sense, bands who write their own music, and perform their music, that didn’t survive that transition. That fell by the wayside with the industry. So it’s been frightening to watch something that you for a very brief moment almost learned to rely on, because we learned the ins and outs of how the industry worked, you know you poured your heart out into making an album and then the label puts the record out and you go out on tour in support of the album, and we even started doing it in the van and trailer. We’d make a record and get in the van with our gear and the trailer and we’d drive ourselves around the country and sell albums and T-shirts out of the back of the trailer. That was sort of our education and then once things started going really well, thankfully, we got a sense of what it looks like when all of the, when the engine is nicely greased and things are working the way they’re supposed to. And then it’s like the millennium turns and the technology changed. And all of that became old. It became an antiquated model. And it was frightening at first but I actually have come to appreciate it. I’m going to actually use the pun, a living thing. It’s a living system. Our technologies are a living system just like we are and our communities as human beings, and for us to expect them to remain constant is really just quite foolish. I mean anybody that’s going to come to rely on the way that our music consumption is looking now is going to have the same hard lesson in less time than you think. I think that the technology is going to shift probably sooner than any of us really realize. And that’s a really cool thing, because it keeps everyone on their toes. It levels the playing field, too. It’s allowing for a really wonderful democratization of the music writing process and the music presenting and performing process. So what it’s doing is it’s making us try harder and it’s making us expect the best of ourselves and the people that we work with. You know, do more with less. I was talking to my friend this morning about the notion of the music video. Incubus has made a music video. We’ve paid like $500,000 to make a music video that MTV just didn’t play. And that was considered like, “Oh, OK. That’s a bummer, but, you know, next.” But now? Are you kidding me? It’s like if we can get a fraction, a spittle of that amount of money to make a music video, that’s amazing. But the cool thing is, is that the intention is exactly the same. And in fact it’s even better, because now we have to think even further out of the box. We still have to make a music video but we don’t have any money. So we have to have a better idea than we did before. You know what I mean? I personally, when all is said and done, I really welcome these changes. And they excite me. And they scare me at the same time, but I’m choosing to focus on the excitement.

Honda Civic Tour Dates:
8/11 Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live*
8/12 Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena*
8/14 Boston, MA @ Comcast Center
8/17 Camden, NJ @ Susquehana Bank Center
8/19 Atlanta, GA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
8/21 Detroit, MI @ The Palace
8/22 Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
8/24 Chicago, IL @ First Midwest Bank
8/25 Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
8/27 Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Center
8/28 Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Pavillion
8/30 Denver, CO @ Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
9/5   Tacoma, WA @ Tacoma Dome
9/7   Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
9/10 San Diego, CA @ Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre
*Incubus will not appear at this event

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