Former Linkin Park guitarist tech Ben Young revealed that Linkin Park did not have ‘backing tracks’ for missing musicians or to cover mistakes in a new Ultimate-Guitar interview.
How did you come to work with Linkin Park? What is your fondest memory of Chester Bennington?
“I got the gig with Linkin because one of my good friends was one of their studio engineers. Starting back in ’07 He would call me in occasionally to do guitar setups while they were recording. Through that I became friends with one of their techs, Warren Johnson. In 2014 they needed a new guitar tech on the road and Warren gave my name to the production manager since I was already a familiar face. It worked out perfect and me and guitarist Brad Delson got along great. At first, I was nervous because I got the vibe that he could be difficult, but he was pretty easy to deal with. He just needed someone that pays attention to detail and sweats the small stuff.
“One of my favorite Chester memories is when we were in rehearsals one day and Brad wasn’t there, so I was covering his parts and playing. We finished running through a newer song that kind of had a strong lead part at the end. After the song was over Chester yelled ‘You just played the SHIT out of that guitar.’ That felt pretty good. One of the best things about Chester is that day in and day out he always gave it 100%. I never saw a show where he wasn’t feeling it and decided to dial it in. He always gave a shit.”
What has been the proudest moment of your career (SO FAR!)?
“The strange opportunities this job has brought me are insane. Back in 2015 I played three shows as the lead guitar player for Linkin Park when the guy I teched for was unavailable. I knew that potentially it could happen, so I had learned the whole set months earlier. One day we flew to Brazil for two shows and when we landed, I found out that Brad wasn’t going to make it and that I was going to be playing. Linkin wasn’t a band that had show-ready tracks for a missing musician in their playback, and it wasn’t a route they were willing to explore. It’s amazing that they put their faith in me to pull it off. I had never played in front of that many people before and I could have freaked out and train wrecked their show. Mike Shinoda put me at ease when he said, ‘There are five other people in this band and we all mess up sometimes, so don’t worry about it if you do.’ It all went great. I ended up playing another show for them when Brad’s wife was having a child. After that show at Rock on the Range in Columbus Ohio, Chester said to nobody in particular, ‘That was amazing. That felt like an old school Linkin Park show.'”
“A few years later, while working for Fall Out Boy, I ended up filling in for Joe Trohman for 7 shows in Europe when he was having his second kid. The baby steps to getting to these opportunities makes sense, but when I take a step back and look at it, the bigger picture doesn’t.
“Playing those shows also gave me the confidence to start songwriting and now I’m proud of my band Knifes, that I formed with two other Roadies, Warren Johnson from Linkin, and Brian Diaz who I worked with on Fall Out Boy. We just put out our first EP, “Proof of Concept”, and it pretty much sounds like a combination of all the bands I’ve spent the last 17 years with.”