KORN frontman Jonathan Davis has paid tribute to Chester Bennington, saying that he “loved” the late LINKIN PARK singer.
Bennington died on July 20 after committing suicide 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.
Speaking to U.K.’s Kerrang! magazine, Davis said: “I understand depression and everything [Chester] was going through. It’s always the seemingly happy, sweetest ones that are hurting the most. It’s a terrible disease that can make things feel unbearable. When I found out what had happened, I didn’t even have the words.
“I loved his smile,” Jonathan continued. “I always looked forward to seeing him. If we were playing at a festival together, he’d make a point to come and find me, which I always appreciated. Chester‘s was an amazing journey to watch. I loved that kid.”
Davis also talked about how Chester‘s contributions played a major role in the way LINKIN PARK‘s music connected deeply with the band’s millions of fans. “His lyrics hit home and were very relatable,” Jonathan said. “On a lyrical level, Chester touched upon a lot of things that people feel, and when you experience that with music, it’s a release. When you’re helping so many people, you can sometimes forget about yourself. We’re like superheroes to kids that are hurting — we’re supposed to be the living proof that things will get better. There should be more Chesters in the world.”
KORN guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer told Loaded Radio in a recent interview that he felt “frustration and shock and sadness” when he first heard about Chester‘s death.
His bandmate, KORN guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, previously apologized for implying that Bennington was a “coward” just hours after the LINKIN PARK frontman was found dead in his Southern California home. In a Facebook message posted shortly after the news of Bennington‘s suicide broke, Welch wrote that “giving up on your kids, fans, and life is the cowardly way out.” Reactions were swift, with one commenter calling Welch‘s remarks “incredibly tactless and distasteful” while another blasted them as “ignorant.”
In an interview with Detroit radio station WRIF, Welch claimed that he “meant no disrespect,” saying, “It was unfortunate. I spoke from a broken heart, a shattered heart, devastation and grief. And I would have worded it different… We wake up and we all see [the news] all over TMZ. I’m, like, ‘This has gotta be a hoax. It’s gotta be a hoax. It just can’t be real.’ Then I find out that it’s actually true. And we were all devastated; you should have seen our faces. Just like the whole world, I bet, that knew of this guy. We were in shock.”
Welch said his comments about Bennington‘s suicide being “cowardly” were the result of him processing his grief online, adding, “I was heartbroken and so sorry for my good friends that have been so close to him.”
Davis was one of a number of artists who joined LINKIN PARK on stage to pay tribute to Bennington with an emotional three-hour show on October 27 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.