Just last month, late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington’s 11-year old son wrote a note that said: “Dad, enjoy your rehearsal or whatever you’re doing today,” the note relayed. “Love life because it’s a ‘Castle of Glass’,” it finished, referencing Linkin Park’s 2012 track.
The note is tragic now with the death of Bennington, who left behind six children. See the note below, followed by a touching tribute by Linkin Park’s producer.
Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory and Meteora producer Don Gilmore paid tribute to Chester Bennington in a new Billboard interview.
When and how did you first meet the band?
I produced their first two records. This is going back a long time; we’re talking like 1999 or something. The demos were brought to me through my manager and I thought it was good. I didn’t necessarily think it was amazing, but I liked that they were trying to do something unique. So I met with them — they were looking at some other producers — and I went to a rehearsal, and Chester started singing and I was just like, “Oh my god, this is really special.” I’d never really heard somebody sing that incredibly just in a little crappy rehearsal room. He wasn’t really singing like that on the demos, and I just felt like, if he can sing like this in the studio, then we might have a chance of doing something.
What was your first impression of the band, and specifically of Chester?
He was just a nice young kid. The whole band were nice guys. In my opinion, in that first rehearsal he overshadowed the whole band; he was such a huge force vocally that it got me really excited about the project and it made me want to work with them really bad. So then I really lobbied hard to try to get the record. They did choose me, and we went into the studio and we worked really hard. We made that record in like six weeks — a pretty short amount of time — and looking back on it, when you listen to that record it’s like, wow, we did a pretty good job. It all kind of came together.
There’s been a lot of talk about how the record was made, but I found something in the band that… as a producer, you’re always looking for special things that kind of stick out and are extraordinary, because sometimes it can take just an ordinary record — maybe it has good songs and it sounds good and maybe you’re fine — but when you can marry all that with something like Chester’s singing, then it’s just unstoppable.
At the time, Chester had been the last member to join the band, having been recruited coming out of the Phoenix music scene. What was the band dynamic at the time?
I think he was finding his way with the rest of the guys. They’re all really good guys, so they were all welcoming him, but I think that he was sorting through a few things personally — getting his then-wife out here to visit; I don’t even know where he was living, he might have just been crashing on somebody’s couch — but him kind of integrating into the whole thing. I don’t think he was completely dialed in to the band [yet]. But he got along with them just fine. He was a good guy, so it worked out well for them.