Before his tragic passing, Chester Bennington had tapped A Perfect Circle mastermind Billy Howerdel to help write a song for a Linkin Park album.
They had plans to go into the studio to co-write together, but Billy, mindful planner that he is, resurrected a song from his previous band, Ashes Divide, and kept it in his back pocket in the event that magic didn’t happen on the spot in the studio with Chester.
“It’s in a different form now to how it was originally, but all the notes are the same. I handed a demo for it to [Eat The Elephant producer] Dave Sardy and my manager and said, ‘What do you think about this?’ It’s a song I was thinking of for Ashes Divide.
Chester from Linkin Park had texted me and asked if I wanted to co-write a song for their record. We talked about going into the studio to write, but this song was my ace in the hole, in case we didn’t come up with anything on the fly.”
Sadly, due to his passing, the real-life collaboration never came to be. However, the grief of Chester’s death inspired Billy and bandmate Maynard James Keenan to finish and release the song:
“After he passed away I got off my arse and finished it. What I would have done had we got together.” When asked if the song is paying tribute to, Billy said:
“That event [Chester’s suicide] prompted me in a whirlwind of grief to finish that song. In a way, [yes] it’s a dedication to him.”
The song came to be released as ‘Eat the Elephant,’ the title track off of A Perfect Circle’s 2018 LP, Eat the Elephant. If you’re unfamiliar, give it a listen below.