STONE TEMPLE PILOTS bassist Robert DeLeo says that the suicide of the band’s former singer Chester Bennington was “a huge surprise.”
The LINKIN PARK frontman ended his time with STP in 2015 in order to concentrate on his main act, as well as spend more time with his family.
Chester recorded one EP with the band, “High Rise”, and did a handful of tours during his two-year tenure.
Speaking to Yahoo! Music, Robert said that Bennington‘s contributions to STONE TEMPLE PILOTS went far beyond music.
“With Chester, it wasn’t all about his talent,” the bassist said. “It was the energy that he brought into it that we so desperately needed at the time. He came into that going, ‘I can do this. I’m gonna do this.’ And you know what? He didn’t need to do that. He was in a huge band; he had plenty going on. But he wanted to do this. And he was excited about doing this. And he memorized all the lyrics, and he went out there, and he gave everything that he had.
“Being a — I hate to use the word— fan, but growing up with our music and growing up with [original STP singer] Scott [Weiland] and growing up with STP, he gave everything he had,” Robert continued. “And that was such a great thing for the three of us [Robert, guitarist Dean DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz]. I mean, I just look back at the touring that we did and the time we spent together, and it was just laughing and having a good time and such a positive thing and going out there feeling really energetic and great about this… He made us look back at our legacy and go, ‘Yeah, this is what it could be.’ And now that he’s gone, I hear from people that he was so excited about doing this.”
Bennington died on July 20 after hanging himself at his Palos Verdes residence at the age of 41. He had been open with the press and public about his struggles with drugs and alcohol, which landed him in rehab twice around 2006.
“I forget who it was that said it — it was someone who quoted this in the 1800s — of saying, ‘Everyone you meet has a battle inside that you know nothing about.’ And it stuck with me,” Robert said. “It was, like, ‘Wow!’ It couldn’t have been any more pointed than with Chester.”
According to Robert, Chester‘s suicide was “was a huge, huge surprise. We live in the same community, so we took our kids to school and to baseball games, and I saw him all the time,” he said. “And it hit really hard, being from the same community. For all of us, it did. And very surprising. We still get together weeks later here, and we’re just, like… We’re scratching our heads and wondering what made sense to him at that moment.”
Bennington joined STP in early 2013 following the dismissal of Weiland.
Weiland, who reunited with the group in 2010 after an eight-year hiatus but was fired three years later, died in December 2015 of a drug overdose while on a solo tour.
The members of STP are currently promoting the twenty-fifth-anniversary expanded reissue of the band’s debut album, “Core”, which arrived on September 29 — twenty-five years to the day of the LP’s original release.