Radio.com published a May interview with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda on Thursday, in which he opened up about his late bandmate Chester Bennington’s emotional reaction to the death of Chris Cornell earlier this year.
Bennington, who was found dead in his California home on Thursday, was friends with Cornell; news of Bennington’s death came on what would have been the Soundgarden singer’s 53rd birthday.
As Shinoda explains in the interview, Bennington was deeply affected by the loss of Cornell. During one of their shows after Cornell’s death, Linkin Park decided to dedicate a song to the late singer. Instead of performing their single “Heavy,” which they had originally planned, they opted to play “One More Light,” which was written about the loss of a friend. As Shinoda noted, it was the “right song to play.”
“When we were doing a soundcheck, Chester couldn’t even make it through the song,” Shinoda said. “He was getting half way through and getting choked up. Even when we did play the whole song, and it was filmed for TV, he kind of just stopped towards the end. He missed the last couple lines and just couldn’t finish the song.”
Fans in the audience were crying, Shinoda noted. “I think it was cathartic,” he said. “I think it was good.”
“The message of the song, is when you’re dealing with something so deep as losing a friend, or in this case somebody you admire or look up to, talking about some of these fans in the audience, one of the things you can do is reach out to people and offer them community,” Shinoda continued. “Let them know, we’re a family, we’re a community, we care about each other.”
Bennington was found dead at his home on Thursday. He was 41. The Los Angeles Coroner spokesman told HuffPost that authorities are investigating Bennington’s death as a possible suicide, but no additional details are available.
Linkin Park has yet to release a statement addressing Bennington’s death, but upon hearing the news, Shinoda posted a tweet, saying he was “shocked and heartbroken.”