American rap-rock band Linkin Park has received the government’s permission to perform next month in Malaysia – but it won’t be allowed to scream, jump around or wear shorts onstage.
The Ministry of Culture and Arts said Wednesday it has approved plans for the band to hold a concert on Oct. 15 at a 50,000-seat stadium in this conservative, predominantly Muslim Southeast Asian country.
“The government believes the performance will provide an alternative type of entertainment in Malaysia,” the ministry said, while warning that the rock stars must abide by a strict code of “artist performance ethics.”
“Male artists must cover their bodies from the chest to knee level,” the statement said. “The artist must not display rough, raunchy actions that conflict with pure values, such as leaping around, screaming or throwing something from the stage to the audience,”
The code also prohibits any sexually provocative gestures or speech, as well as clothing or accessories that can be considered “obscene, linked to drugs or related to negative elements.”
Western entertainers are popular in Malaysia, but they often bypass this country of 25 million people in their Asian tours for more lucrative stops with larger audiences, such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.
Some performers have had trouble coming here. In 1996, officials in the central Malaysian state of Selangor refused to grant a concert permit to Michael Jackson, fearing his hip gyrations and pelvic thrusts would prove a bad influence. The show eventually went ahead in Kuala Lumpur.
Linkin Park’s concert in Kuala Lumpur will be the first stop in a three-nation Asian tour that also includes Japan and South Korea.
The band’s debut CD, “Hybrid Theory,” was the U.S. top-selling album of 2001 with 4.8 million copies sold. Their latest release, “Meteora,” has had steady sales, surpassing 2 million copies over the last six months.
Though its songs contain plenty of frenzied rhythms and lyrics dealing with frustration and fury, Linkin Park is known for not peppering songs with curse words. Bandmates make it a point to avoid alcohol and drugs.