I used to be a huge Linkin Park fan when I was younger. Linkin Park spoke to my teenage frustration — I found a way to express myself through the band’s energy, which is uncomfortable and cringe-worthy to confess. Almost everyone who listened to Linkin Park knew two people: Chester Bennington, the band’s main singer who yelled and screamed, and Mike Shinoda, the group’s rapper.
I still appreciate Linkin Park, even if I stopped listening to them (and stopped listening to music in general).
I’ll never forget the day lead vocalist Chester Bennington committed suicide. Chester Bennington is an incredible icon to a whole generation, and I recall going on a long run where his death was all I could think about. To relieve the agony, I went for a 12-mile run while listening to some of Linkin Park’s most popular songs.
The day Chester died is remembered by everyone who listened to Linkin Park. It’s been nearly five years now. There has been a lot said and published about Chester Bennington’s death, including a lengthy Rolling Stone essay by Kory Grow on Chester’s final days. Following Chester’s passing, Linkin Park released a statement in his honor, which was clearly tough to write.
“Your absence leaves a gap in the room that can never be replaced – a noisy, hilarious, ambitious, creative, kind, and generous voice is absent…
You have the largest heart and wore it proudly on your sleeve.”
However, it has been five years. And I’m always curious as to what happened to Linkin Park since then. Will Chester ever be replaced by the band? Can they ever take Chester’s place? Chester’s suicide was tragic, but his wife, three children, and the band continued on.
Chester’s family, I feel, is entitled to the same level of privacy as any other family. What about his band? How did they manage? Are there any intentions to go on, or will the band be unable to do so with the loss of Chester?
For the time being, the answer is no.
“Right now, that is not my objective.” I believe it must occur naturally. And if we discover someone who is a terrific individual with whom we believe we have a good personality and stylistic fit, I could see us doing some work together. “I wouldn’t want to feel like we were replacing Chester,” Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda remarked of the potential lineup change.
It’s really difficult to replace your band’s most identifiable member, especially when it’s someone as important as Chester. He was not only an emotional presence and the band’s frontman, but his voice range made him logistically exceedingly tough to replace.
When asked three years ago whether the group will hunt for another lead singer, Mike Shinoda responded that finding another member “needs to happen spontaneously” and that the person must be a “good personality fit and a good stylistic fit.”
He stated that not being onstage was “nearly unhealthy” for the band and that he “wouldn’t want to ever feel like we were replacing Chester.”
The of Sum 41 if he could take over as Linkin Park’s frontman from Chester Bennington, but Whibley declined. He claimed that replacing Chester Bennington would be a “difficult undertaking” and that Chester’s shoes were “hard shoes to fill.”
Whibley was asked the topic by show host Jamey Jasta since in 2018, Whibley and Mike Shinoda performed a rendition of Linkin Park’s Faint, which gained significant acclaim. Whibley accepted the offer as a compliment, but he refused to be able to replace Chester, or anyone who could replace Chester.
Moving on was painful for the band. Mike Shinoda’s anguish was the most visible — Charlotte Richardson Andrews of The Guardian documents his release of the solo album “Post-Traumatic,” in which Shinoda embarked on a solo tour to honor his and his fans’ loss. Mike needed to be in motion, while the rest of the band needed more space and time to process.
“My initial thoughts after Chester died were, ‘I’m not making music anymore,’ and ‘I can’t do this…’
I eventually understood that’s not how I’m wired. “I usually look to music and art for a space to ponder when I’m dealing with something tough,” Mike remarked.
For Linkin Park, the sadness is far more important than the mechanics of replacing Chester. It’s just not the right moment yet, and it might never be. The band does not currently have the emotional or creative bandwidth to replace Chester.
For most fans, Linkin Park would be incomplete without Chester. Not only has Chester died, but the manner in which he died has left many admirers and others who knew him with sorrow and pain. Chester sung about his sorrow regularly, especially on the band’s debut album Hybrid Theory. His lyrics chronicled his struggles with mental illness.
His family’s and band’s pain is possibly overwhelming. It’s not about whether the band can replace Chester at the end of the day. It’s a question of when they should.