Linkin Park, Taproot
Showbox, 628-3151, Fri Jan 26.

WHITE AMERICA wakes up, screaming. Rap rock is in. Suburban rage ripples throughout the music industry. White American men still have it better than anyone in the history of mankind, but regardless, it's time to strap on a wallet chain, put on a Public Enemy T-shirt, and start caterwauling into the microphone. In short, it's Chester Bennington time.

Chester Bennington? He's sold a million records since November. His band, Linkin Park, is playing a sold-out show at the Showbox on Friday. The reason you've never heard of him is that the band didn't exist a few months ago. Back then it was Hybrid Theory, a short-lived SoCal act with a recording contract and no talent. So it imported Chester from Arizona and hooked up with veteran producer Don Gilmore (Eve 6, Pearl Jam). The band changed its name to Linkin Park so that its debut CD would be in the Tower Records bin right next to the band it's copying, Limp Bizkit.

But isn't Limp Bizkit just a weak synthesis of Rage Against the Machine, Primus, and Korn? Yes, and that's why the odor hovering over Linkin Park, the one that music executives think is the smell of money, is actually just the carrion stench of the death of rap rock. There is no clearer sign that a genre is fucked than when its poster boys bite off of bands that bit off of bands that bit off of Mr. Bungle.

But the white teens still love it. As one of 750,000 visitors to Linkin Park's website wrote, "Their stage presents [sic] is nuts!" He's got a point-- in Linkin Park's network debut on Late Night with Conan O'Brien last Tuesday, Chester exuded testicular rage. He looked paranoid. Aggressive. His screaming exhibition of white suburban rage seemed so real, so permanent.

Then again, so did Newt and his 100 grand wizards of white rage. Like the rap rockers, the politicos of 1994 came from stagnant midsize cities like Jacksonville and Bakersfield, where there are real problems. Immigrants busting ass in the fields. Women backed into reproductive corners. Blacks bankrolling nearby superprisons. But the biggest injustice of all is that, even as he presides over the death of Bizkitrock, the cherubic, pissy Chester Bennington is going to be a millionaire.

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