Mike Shinoda wrote “bad ’90s grunge songs” after the death of Chester Bennington

When the news broke that the Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington, had passed away in 2017, the world was sent into a state of mourning that it will never recover from. A result of suicide, owing to the musician’s lifelong battle against insidious inner demons, it remains one of the most glaring examples of the need for more open discussion about mental health.

By all accounts, he was one of the nicest men in the music industry and always used his own experiences for utilitarian means, offering his fans a way out of the mire.

A tragedy in every sense of the word, it’s a testament to the life of Chester Bennington that he is remembered so fondly and always will be. He left a stellar back catalogue that includes some of the most iconic cuts of the noughties, including ‘In The End’ and ‘Papercut’. He profoundly impacted those he came into contact with, meaning that his spirit lives on in many different shapes.

In March, on what would have been his 46th birthday, Bennington’s widow Talinda posted a photo of the frontman celebrating a past birthday while holding a present, captioning it: “Happy Birthday my love! We miss you so much… The pain doesn’t get any easier but you get used to it is what they say. I’m not sure I believe that at all… There’s no getting used to this type of grief. I’m doing my best to raise our babies the way we always talked about”.

Understandably, Bennington’s bandmates also felt the immense weight of the tragedy, which will never get easier. While speaking to Kerrang in 2018, Linkin Park co-frontman and guitarist Mike Shinoda described the difficulties of making music without his partner in crime.

“A week after Chester passed, the idea of the studio was scary,” he said. “And it wasn’t just the idea of attempting to make a song and being overwhelmed by those memories. There’s another layer of fear for artists in this situation that is, ‘What if I can’t make anything good [without that person]?’”

He explained: “Those hurdles start to accumulate, whether that’s fear or depression or the chaos of the outside world, it creates an echo chamber of anxiety”.

Shinoda then revealed that he did “make some stuff”, despite its quality, to overcome the many hurdles presented by Bennington’s death. These tracks came in the form of “bad ’90s grunge songs” and rap.

“I was making bad ’90s grunge songs, making bad rap songs… and then I made something good,” he expressed. “I’d make all these different things with no intention of putting them out, but just diving into some of the ideas that were already in my head”.

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