Mike Shinoda Talks Darkness of Chester Bennington’s Addiction and Depression

Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Clear Channel
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To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their studio album Meteora, Linkin Park has announced a special 20th-anniversary album box set. In promoting this upcoming release, band member Mike Shinoda recently appeared on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show yesterday, where he talked about the album’s anniversary, as well as reflected on the late Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington.

Bennington passed away on July, 20th, 2017, his death was ruled as suicide. Speaking about how he felt when he learned of Bennington’s death, Shinoda shared he was angry, saying, “There were points where I felt that way … and that’s natural.”

Shinoda has also been deeply aware of Bennington’s struggles with both depression and addiction. While they each had their own different struggles, Shinoda was able to connect with Bennington as an “outsider.”

Speaking about the struggles that the late Linkin Park singer endured, and what it was like interacting with Bennington at times, Shinoda said the following:

“Nobody knew the depths of it. 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.

“It was hard, and in the midst of all that … he’d 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.

“For me, 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.”

Shinoda however, also spoke to the absolute thrill of Bennington performing on stage, and it being where he was truly himself.

“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.”

While on its own addiction is a hell of a struggle, dealing with depression can make for a brutal personal hell. It’s utterly heartbreaking what Bennington went through, and deeply tragic that he passed away the way he did. We love and miss you, Chester.

You can pre-order the Meteora 20th anniversary box set here, It will be released on April 7th.

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. The Lifeline is available for everyone, is free, and confidential. The number is 988. You can also visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website to learn more. Please remember: You are not alone, and help is available.

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