It’s been a heavy year for Mike Shinoda.
The Linkin Park vocalist sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss his first ever solo-album Post-Traumatic, in which he details the struggles he’s gone through since his bandmate Chester Bennington died by suicide last July.
Though he says the album isn’t entirely entirely about Bennington, most of Shinoda’s songs explore the challenges he’s had in trying to understand himself without his larger-than-life friend by his side.
Describing Bennington as a “complicated” individual with a volatile but charismatic personality, Shinoda remembered:
“He was really loud, and it wasn’t just volume â€“ he had a loud personality. We would joke that he could just go about anywhere and make friends with everybody in the place. He was just a really fun-loving dude, but he was also complicated.”
Shinoda added that the singer, who battled depression and other mental health issues, could be “really hot and cold on stuff,” explaining:
“My joke with him was that he never liked a movie. If he’d seen a movie I hadn’t yet, I’d ask him how it was and either it would be an 11 out of 10 or, ‘I can’t believe anybody ever made that movie. Who the fuck decided to put money behind such a piece of crap? I wish I could get my money back.’ And that was just him.”
Another eccentric quality of Bennington’s, Shinoda recalled, was his “child-like openness” with strangers:
“It was almost random. With some people, it would be surface-y, and with others, you’d find him telling them crazy things. Like if he was sitting next to somebody on a plane, you’d hear him telling them all this stuff you shouldn’t tell another person on a plane. It’s that phenomenon. He’d have these moments of child-like openness and directness in a way.”
Like most artists, Bennington wore his heart and mind on his sleeve — which might be why his bandmates knew all about the demons he was grappling with.
After Bennington’s death, Linkin Park shared an open letter to him on its website. One memorable line read:
“We’re trying to remind ourselves that the demons who took you away from us were always part of the deal. After all, it was the way you sang about those demons that made everyone fall in love with you in the first place.”
When asked about that line in the interview, Shinoda paused before elaborating:
“Well, I feel like the bottom line with that is that we knew the guy. Like, we knew what we were dealing with. He knew what he was dealing with. That’s all. That’s all that means. It was an ongoing… just like anybody who deals with that stuff, you know, it’s an ongoing thing.”
Sad, but true.
That doesn’t mean we have to give up.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
[Image via C.M. Wiggins/WENN.]