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Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington Talks About Upcoming Japan Tsunami Benefit Show

John Shearer, WireImage

Linkin Park are playing a “secret” show at an intimate venue in Los Angeles on August 31st as a “reward” for their fans, whom they’ve challenged to raise funds for the Music For Relief charity that benefits Japan Tsunami relief. Each fan/supporter who raises $500 for this charity will be invited with a guest to attend the show. Fundraising remains open through August 24th and if you earn more than $500, you will be able to enjoy even more perks, such as meeting the band, autographed instruments and watching the show while on stage.

Noisecreep spoke to Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington about this charitable initiative to help raise more awareness and why the band asked its fans to do something more active than making a text donation. It’s a smart way to engage fans in social change and to teach them how to modify their behavior when it comes to helping their fellow man.

Hopefully, by the time you’re done reading this interview, you’ll start your fundraising efforts.

Why did Linkin Park decided to engage fans in charity process?

As we were planning a tour, immediately after the earthquake hit Japan, we were trying to find ways to get people to donate money and time and to participate in helping Japan, especially, since Japan is one of the countries that jumps to the aid of other countries and are always very generous and people jumped to help right away. We wanted to find ways to keep our fans interested in donating money, since we ask our fans to help out with disasters or with causes a lot. We wanted to do something special.

One of our ideas was find a way to donate some money from a show to MFR was to try to get our fans to raise money. We had bunch of ideas, but this was a mixed concept, where were were creating a show where all monies raised goes through MFR and the idea was something that hit all the things we wanted to do. We asked our fans to create their own website, through secretshowforjapan.com. You go there, create a page, raise money and whoever raises the most wins the chance to see the band from the side of the stage. It gets our fans excited do something not everyone gets to do, which is see Linkin Park at a small venue, as well as hang out and meet us. It’s not just the band donating money we make. That’s great, but the thing that matters most when you deal with charity is people talking about it.

I think it is more important to have 50,000 people buy a $5 raffle ticket, as opposed to one person donating a million to a cause.

How is the fundraising with fans going?

Our fans have responded well and we realize it’s difficult when you ask people, when you are doing a charitable contests, to raise money. It’s not asking someone to go to be the 100th caller to win tickets to a show; you have to go out and raise $500 a pop. That is a lot of work. For one kid to raise $500 would be amazing, but we know that is a tough goal to reach. We are doing well with how much we’ve raised so far

Watch Linkin Park’s ‘A Day in the Life’ with AOL Music

Is there anything specific you’d like to say to fans that haven’t begun fundraising or are on the fence?

One of the great things is you are helping out a lot of people. Doing something nice is rewarding, but this is multilayered. Anyone who participates, we want to reward them and give them something cool, so everyone walks away with something. At this show, there are not going to be that many people and that’s how we want it. We’re looking for the most hardcore people to go out and bust their butts to raise this money. It may just be a few hundred people there and that’s intriguing. Everyone who is there participated.

We’re not giving away tickets to people who aren’t working for it. It has to be a hardcore Linkin Park fan. You are not texting a $10 dollar donation.

It’s ingenious how you’ve integrated this for fans. It’s not meant to be a sell out show; it’s meant to reward fans for their charitable efforts and be like an intimate fan club gig where the fundraisers have earned the right to be there.

Exactly. When [NBA player] Ron Artest put his ring up for sale, raffle tickets were $2 a piece, people were talking about it and that’s what important. More people talk about it and it gets them looking at what’s going on and paying attention to long term effects. It’s easy to forget these things, since we all have our own lives and are in different places. But natural disasters take a long time to right themselves, and that’s one of the reasons we created MFR to begin with. Natural disasters strike anywhere with no agenda, regardless of your beliefs or what you look like. It takes a long time to rebuild cities, families and homes, so this is a great way for people to get involved.

Will you do any cool things at the show, like cover Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ again?

I don’t recall us talking about doing a cover of anyone else’s music or old songs. What’s special is that this not about Linking Park, but about performing with The B’z, the best selling artist of all time in Japan. They don’ do many shows here so this will be special for American fans, or fans around the world, who may participate.

For our performance, we’re just focusing on performing the songs from all four of our records. We just want to make sure we play a great show, meet everyone, hang out and thank everyone personally. We always try to meet fans, but this is different.

Watch Linkin Park’s live cover of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’

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