LINKIN PARK's Mike Shinoda Recalls Winning 2001 Ozzfest Crowds Over With SLAYER's "Raining Blood"
Ah yes, 2001. Linkin Park had released Hybrid Theory one year prior and were on their rise to massive stardom, but not quite known across every genre just yet. Band guitarist and vocalist Mike Shinoda tells Noisey that on their opening slot during Ozzfest 2001, they were trying to figure out how to convince fans who had not heard them yet that they weren't at all like their tour mates Crazy Town and Papa Roach.
An electronic intro Shinoda likened to Massive Attack wasn't quite doing the trick, as he says metal fans weren't really tuned in to the differences in electronica then. So the answer was, like the answer to many questions in life, Slayer.
I definitely heard [Reign In Blood] when I was in high school. Funny story about ["Raining Blood"] though. When Linkin Park were playing Ozzfest, we were mid-to-early main stage. At the time, we had just put out our first album and we hadn’t played in front of many metal fans yet. We were on the bill with Crazy Town and Papa Roach who, Sharon Osbourne admitted in an interview before the tour even started that she put all those bands on the bill, including us, for girls. That was her statement, not mine. And we were like, "what the fuck Sharon? You screwed us!" We started the tour the first week and we played immediately after Crazy Town.
So the fans were booing unforgivably before we even got to the stage. So the beginning of our set was a like an understated electronic intro with Massive Attack. We thought that this would let the Ozzfest fans know that we weren't Crazy Town. But the metal fans didn't know the difference between Massive Attack and Crazy Town so they were booing from the start. We had a 40 minute set and it took most of it to win the fans back.
The next week, we were in Philly and our DJ Joe Hahn found this album in a record store and said, "Instead of our intro, I'm going to play "Raining Blood" at the beginning of our set." We thought that it couldn’t be any worse than what we’ve been dealing with. Why the fuck not? He played the first 60 seconds of that song and the crowd was booing before but when it started happening they went apeshit and cheered the whole set. It changed the whole tour. All we needed to do was extend an olive branch and say, “We get you.”
Shinoda tells this story and way more as he goes track-by-track through Slayer's classic album Reign In Blood over at Noisey.