Yesterday, Linkin Park co-founder and co-vocalist Mike Shinoda sat down with Howard Stern to reminisce about the band’s past, both the good and bad, while also taking time to remember the late Chester Bennington.
While speaking with Stern, Shinoda said he always was surprised to hear about Bennington’s upbringing, saying he was “running wild in the streets…[and] just barely staying out of jail.”
“So different — and that’s what made our dynamic what it was — I didn’t grow up like that…[Growing up,] I felt like I was an outsider because I was like a mixed-race kid that didn’t have a community to belong to … He was outside because he was scrawny, he was like picked on, he was bullied all the time.
Shinoda also said the early days of Linkin Park were particularly difficult with Chester, since the ups and downs of trying to be a successful act affected the members differently.
“It was hard, and in the midst of all that … [Chester would] just go missing and come back obliterated, like you couldn’t even talk to him…There was an element of Chester that was very fun sometimes when he was that way and then usually the next day it would be like so dark. He’s super hungover, he’s angry at everybody, yelling at everybody.”
Eventually, the band did become a superstar success. Sadly, it all came to an end when Chester Bennington committed suicide at a private residence in Palos Verdes Estates in L.A. County back in 2017.
Looking back at that time, Shinoda told Stern that he considered quitting music all together now that Chester was gone, admitting that “it just felt like too much.”
“To get back on it and try to do some version of music and also be seen through the lens of what had happened … it was like being a member of a club that I didn’t want to join.”
However, with the 20th anniversary edition of Meteora coming on April 7 and a renewed interest in the band, Shinoda said he’s happy that he and his bandmates get to look back fondly on those times. Especially the ones where Chester’s on stage and smiling.
“He was born for this. I feel like him singing vocals on albums and on stage was as happy as it got. Like, that was as good as it fucking got, so I always feel good about that.”
You can hear more of Shinoda’s interview with Howard Stern on The Howard Stern Show YouTube channel or listen to it via the SiriusXM app.
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