Mike Shinoda on Chester Bennington: “Chester Taught Me About Spontaneity”
This week’s Kerrang! Magazine is a special memorial issue celebrating the life of Chester Bennington, after Linkin Park and friends celebrated his life at a very special show at the Hollywood Bowl in LA.
The issue contains 12 pages dedicated to Chester and the concert, including an exclusive tribute by Mike Shinoda. Mike was kind enough to talk to us at length about Chester, and unfortunately we didn’t have enough room in the magazine for everything he told us, so we thought we’d share some moments that didn’t make the mag below:
Mike on what Chester taught him:
“Chester taught me about spontaneity. When it comes to my art, whether that’s visual, or songs, or creative things in that world, I’m really spontaneous. In life I’m less so. Chester was spontaneous across the board. He would be the one to say, ‘Let’s go! What’s taking everybody so long? Let’s get on board and do the show. Let’s commit to the soundtrack. Let’s invest in this company.’
“Whatever it was, he made faster snap decisions than everyone else. He was a very fiery guy. When the five of us have got together in the past few months, we’ve joked that somebody is going to have to step up. One of us, or all of us, is going to have to step in and be more spontaneous just to cover for Chester.”
Mike on Chester’s competitive streak:
“When we were travelling we would always play poker. Sometimes he would get on a roll where he would be winning in spite of himself. He knew he was making stupid decisions, usually by staying in on hands that he shouldn’t be staying in on because he had bad cards. But he was the type of guy where he would follow his intuition. We’d see it and bet against him knowing that our hands were virtually indestructible and he was going to lose.
“I’d say to him, ‘Why are you betting? It’s crazy right now.’ He’d say, ‘Because I’m gonna win.’ And this motherfucker would catch a card at the very end of the game to beat us. The place would erupt in screaming because he knew he should have had no chance and he’d got lucky. They were the funniest moments. He actually had a character that was invented just for that called The Poker Lizard because he would stick his tongue out like a lizard as was scraping in our chips and taking all our money.”
Mike on Chester’s legacy:
“(His legacy) comes back to what kind of frontman he was. There was an earnestness, and an honesty, and a weird, unique modesty about the way he did it. I don’t mean humble, he could take things really far but there was always a respect of the band and the fans. It was complex.”
26p from each copy of this issue sold in the UK and through Newsstand.co.uk goes straight to the One More Light fund, established in Chester’s memory by Music For Relief, the charity he co-founded. Pick up a copy here.