LINKIN PARK's MIKE SHINODA Says 'Nobody Knew The Depths' Of CHESTER BENNINGTON's Depression

February 15, 2023

LINKIN PARK's Mike Shinoda appeared on SiriusXM's "The Howard Stern Show" yesterday (Tuesday, February 14),sitting down to talk to Howard Stern and co-host Robin Quivers live from the SiriusXM studios in Los Angeles. During the chat, Shinoda reflected on LINKIN PARK singer Chester Bennington's 2017 suicide, admitting that it was a dark time that found him going through several emotions, including anger. "Yeah, there's points when I felt that way," Mike said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "I'm sure for other people it was the same. Even fans too, by the way. And that's natural; that's normal. It's one of the stages of grief — anger's in there."

Asked by Stern if it was difficult working with someone struggling with depression, Shinoda said: "Nobody knew the depths of it. When I met Chester, I didn't know his stories. As I got to know him, I would find myself oftentimes saying, 'I've never heard such a crazy upbringing, such a crazy childhood.' Running wild in the streets and doing hard drugs on the roof of his high school, just barely staying out of jail. And that's what made our dynamic what it was. I didn't grow up like that. I felt like I was an outsider because I was a mixed-raced kid that didn't have a community to belong to. I'm half Japanese. I didn't speak Japanese; I don't look Japanese. The white kids thought I was obviously not white. The Latino kids were starting to speak to me in Spanish; I didn't speak any Spanish. I was always floating around and didn't have a 'home'."

Pressed about whether Chester was a hard guy to deal with the whole time they were in a band together, Mike said: "No, not the whole time. Early days more difficult because we didn't know how it was gonna go. Like on early days 'Hybrid Theory', we were still getting started. And we'd get a win here, we'd get a loss there. 'We sent a song to radio; they're playing it.' 'Oh, the show is gonna be kind of a small show. It's gonna be hard to get there. You're gonna have to drive all night. It's gonna be tough. You're gonna be exhausted. Oh, by the way, we all just got sick.' It was hard. And so in the midst of all of that, having a guy who would sneak out. He'd just go missing and come back obliterated, that you couldn't even talk to him; he was just so wasted. But also funny.

"Ever see that 'Friends' episode where they had the 'Fun Bobby'? The 'Fun Bobby' is hilarious — everybody loves him — and then the second he gets sober, nobody likes him anymore," Mike added. "There was an element of Chester that was very fun sometimes when he was that way, and usually the next day he'd be, like, so dark. He's super hung over; he's angry at everybody, yelling at everybody, and you're kind of just, like, 'Let's get through the day.'"

Bennington's passing was ruled a suicide soon after his body was found in July 2017 at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California.

Chester had been candid about mental-health battles in numerous interviews over the years, saying he grappled with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse. His struggles with drugs and alcohol landed him in rehab twice around 2006.

Bennington's friends told Rolling Stone that he fell off the wagon for three days in August 2016 and drank until he blacked out, adding that he had been consuming alcohol again as recently as October 2016. Bennington's longtime friend Ryan Shuck, who played with the singer in DEAD BY SUNRISE, thought Bennington may have had "a couple of drinks" before hanging himself on July 20, 2017.

Investigators found no illegal drugs or prescription drugs while searching Bennington's home following his passing, although a partially consumed bottle of alcohol was found in the bedroom where the 41-year-old singer’s body was discovered.

LINKIN PARK paid tribute to Bennington in October 2017 with an emotional three-hour show that featured numerous guests joining the band onstage in Los Angeles.

LINKIN PARK released a concert album titled "One More Light Live" in December 2017.

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