Mike Shinoda Says Chester Bennington Was ‘Such a Happy, Fun Guy’
As Linkin Park prepare to pay tribute to late lead singer Chester Bennington next month, rapper/guitarist Mike Shinoda has opened up about to Los Angeles radio station KROQ about his friend and bandmate. Shinoda appeared on the station on Monday (Sept. 18) to talk about the Oct. 27 concert celebration of Bennington at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles as well as how super producer Rick Rubin convinced the group to get up on stage for the first time since they lost Chester.
“I had gone to [producer] Rick Rubin as a source of guidance,” Shinoda said. “He had said, ‘I think you guys need to get on stage. I think that’ll be the thing that’ll feel good. It’ll be super, super hard.’ We haven’t gone out together in public, we haven’t played — we haven’t gone on stage. He said, ‘The fans want to see you. Not because they want to see a show, there’s a cathartic experience that needs to happen and it’ll inform what you guys are doing.’ And I thought it over — and I know that for some of the guys in the band, getting on stage [without Chester] is more scary than other guys in the band, but I will say that for all of us, it’s definitely the thing that we want to do. It feels like the right way to celebrate Chester.”
Bennington, 41, committed suicide at his home in Palo Verdes Estates, California, on July 20 and while Shinoda said the loss was tragic and hard to handle, he also had fond, bright memories of his friend and longtime musical conspirator. “With something like this, and it was the same at his funeral… I know that the circumstances of his passing were really dark, and as we said at the time, the darkness that he had was always there and was kind of part of the package, but what was so unique and special about this guy is that he used it as fuel to do so many positive things,” said Shinoda, who also had high praise for the group’s fans, who have put on hundreds of tribute events all around the globe to honor Bennington.
“The fans have been incredible. I don’t think we could have ever expected such an outpouring of love and all these tributes,” he said. Those events are, in part, what inspired the upcoming show, as the fans all organically gravitated toward the song “One More Light” from the band’s most recent album. “Fans everywhere were making these montages of images of Chester, images of themselves to this song and so we realized it struck a chord with them and we wanted to let them know we see that, we hear that so we made an official video for that.”
The moving video dropped on Monday and Shinoda said it was a gift to those hardcore fans who have supported them in so many ways over the years.
While the band’s lyrics and Bennington’s performances could often be dark, Shinoda said the singer had a lighter side that was equally important to highlight at the upcoming tribute show. “His overall… the way he was, he was such a happy guy, he was such a fun guy,” said Shinoda. “When he’d walk in the room, there was such a positive, funny, upbeat energy, and that’s what we wanna get out of this show… I know it’s gonna be a roller coaster of emotion. But when we talk about this and when we’re focusing on the show, it’s really about, like we say, celebrating life.”
Listen to the interview below: