DEVORE, California — Somewhere, Linkin Park belong. It's just not where they've belonged in the past.
"We're going for the music that inspired us, rather than the nü-metal type of sound," frontman Chester Bennington said of the band's third studio album, due next year (see "Mike Shinoda Says 'No New Linkin Park Album In 2006 After All' "). "We're ripping that out. It's completely gone."
In its place is a mix of punk and classic-rock elements with vintage hip-hop beats, the singer said.
"We've always been known for mixing a lot of different genres of music and not pigeonholing ourselves in one particular sound, but by doing so, we've kind of pigeonholed ourselves into our sound," Bennington said backstage at Saturday's Inland Invasion (see "Guns N' Roses Take On Aguilera, Chester Bennington Joins Alice In Chains At Inland Invasion"). "It sounds strange, but there's a common thread that people are going to expect, and we're trying to pull that out of the new music."
Linkin Park's reinvention is being guided by Rick Rubin, who is co-producing with Mike Shinoda.
"We're straying away from a lot of the predictable sounds we've had in the past, but there's no question in your mind when you hear it that it's Linkin Park," Bennington said. "We've always said we write the music we write so that we can spread our wings as far as we want and try new things and go anywhere. I think we're really going to prove that with this new record."
Linkin Park wrote more than 100 songs, which they have since narrowed down to the cream of the crop. Bennington refused to elaborate on how many tracks will be recorded, but he shot down the idea of a double album.
"The whole double-album thing is like the kiss of death," he said. "Not that it's not a great idea in theory, but when you put it out, it's just not."
The band has more or less decided on a title, but Bennington kept it under wraps. "It's a title I think is good and fitting for the world and also some of our own personal situations over the last couple of years," he said.
While recording with Linkin Park, Bennington has set aside his solo album, but the singer said it's basically good to go.
"It's gonna come out as soon as we're winding down the LP cycle," he said. "If you want a taste, you can go online and find some stuff. It's bringing the rock back a little bit."