How Linkin Park put together their Haiti charity album in just one week
It is just a week since the Haiti earthquake. But you can now buy a Haiti-benefiting charity album of previously unreleased material by, amongst others, Dave Matthews Band, the All-American Rejects, Peter Gabriel, Slash, and Alanis Morissette.
The compilation is called Download to Donate and was overseen by Linkin Park, whose non-profit foundation Music for Relief has a history of providing aid to the country.
“Just last Monday, I was saying how I would like to start directing more of Music For Relief’s attention to Haiti and developing some sustainable housing,” says Linkin Park bassist David “Phoenix” Farrell. “Then the earthquake happened Tuesday, and we really started scrambling to figure out a way that we could garner as much support from the music community as we could to hopefully raise a ton of money for the cause.”
Linkin Park’s own musical contribution is a track called “Not Alone,” which they recorded during sessions for the band’s 2007 CD Minutes To Midnight, though the vocal tracks were never finished. “When the opportunity to do this started coming together, Mike [Shinoda] and Chester [Bennington] got back in the studio,” says Phoenix. “I believe they finished the vocals at 3am on Sunday morning.”
Over the past few days Wyclef Jean’s Yéle Haiti charity has come under criticism for alleged mismanagement of funds (the Fugee denies using any of Yéle’s money for his own personal benefit). But Phoenix is adamant that all of the money raised by Download to Donate—which is available for purchase on a pay-what-you-like basis—will go to worthy causes. “It’s a very low cost charity,” he says.”For this, 100% of the money Music For Relief raises is going to a couple of different charities: the UN Foundation and Habitat for Humanity. And Dave Matthews Band brought their BAMA Works relief effort into the mix as well. 100% of what we raise is going towards those different efforts.”
But Phoenix says that at present the band have no plans to play a benefit show. “We couldn’t,” he says. Couldn’t? That sounds ominous. Is a member of Linkin Park in jail somewhere? “We’re in a down cycle right now where we’re writing and recording,” he explains. “So we probably couldn’t get something together quick enough. No, as of an hour ago, everyone is still a free citizen.”
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Photo credit: James Minchin