Interview with Chester Bennington
12.05.2008Singer Chester Bennington manages a full 30 minute interview without screaming
FHM: What's the worst rumour you've heard about yourself?
Chester Bennington: That we'd died on a tour bus. I was asleep, some other guy are at a go-kart track some were at a movie and our tour manager was frantically ringing around seeing if we were ok. I had to ring my wife and tell her everything was alright and not to believe that crap. Screwing with our family is not cool!
FHM: Time for the truth; do you and Mike Shinoda fight alot?
Chester Bennington: No that's a bad rumour, we don't fight, we discuss. Mike and I are a vocal team, sometimes people say, "Doesn't Mike get annoyed that you do more singing?" No. Take 'Breaking The Habit' for instance, I sing it but he wrote it and he asked me to sing it.
FHM: What are your first impression of Singapore?
Chester Bennington: It's great I love it. It's like every plant on the island has its own personal gardener that looks after it.
FHM: Are you pleased with Meteora?
Chester Bennington: Yeah I'm positive that we're all really satisfied with what we produced. We all put alot of energy into it. It really is just an extension of where we were with Hybrid Theory. One of the main differences though is that we used alot of new instruments; like the Japanese Pan flute and a 10-piece live orchestra and real piano which has all been very interesting. You can hear alot more dynamism.
FHM: Listening to Meteora, we've detected quite abit of drum and bass rhythms, are you looking for a club crossover?
Chester Bennington: It comes from working with great hip-hop producers on Reanimation, which really pushed us to come up with more creative beats. Honestly, just the beats alone are alot harder and it's generally a very interesting aspect of the record.
FHM: What other artists would you like to collaborate with?
Chester Bennington: Ha! Well we kinda wiped out our list of people we wanted to work with in Reanimation, but there's still a few; Bjork, PJ Harvey, Aphex Twin too. But these are all pipe dreams!
FHM: LP's music draws on many influences, but if we came around to your house, what record would you be embarassed for us to find?
Chester Bennington: Oh man! My wife personally requested we got N'Sync's Celebrity cos she likes that Girls are Gone or whatever it is that Justin Timberlake sings. Yeah that's pretty embarassing but you know, honestly I don mind what I listen as a good song is a good song and good music is good music, and as a group we listen to so many genres that we try to incoporate that into out music.
FHM: What is your definition of a good song?
Chester Bennington: Something that stands the test of time. Anything that you can listen to 20 years from now, a song that your children's children will listen to.
FHM: Which LP tracks do you think falls into that category?
Chester Bennington: I think In The End is a really good song and off Meteroa: Breaking The Habit and Numb.
FHM: In a Rolling Stone interview from a couple of years ago, you said you suffered some abuse as a child and that influences some of your writing. Is it really OK for men to show their emotions like that?
Chester Bennington: I think so. It's important for me to use experiences to write lyrics. What I don't like are songs that spell it out for you and tell you exactly what's the song's about because songs mean different things to different people. It's important to express yourself in a positive way and for everyone to have an outlet for the kind of things that can, well, drive you insane. When I was younger, I turned all that negative stuff into drug addiction and self destruction.
FHM: How do you balance a rock lifestyle and a family?
Chester Bennington: It's very hard especially in the beginning when there was no money. We had like US$20 a day and that was all we got paid and hopefully we sold some T-shirts at the show. Now success has afforded us more opportunities and I can take my wife, our our parents along the tour bus for a few days.
FHM: What do you read?
Chester Bennington: A lot of fiction. I love Anne Rice, she's by far my favourite author. I have all her vampire works. Also anything that takes me away from reality.
FHM: How did you develop your distinctive singing style?
Chester Bennington: I did it all the wrong way. I basically went at it till it didn't hurt anymore. Its something I've been blessed with.
FHM: How would you want to be worshipped in the Cult of Bennington?
Chester Bennington: Don't. I don't want the responsibilty. DON'T WORSHIP ME! Go worship a rock or a tree. I'm human, I make mistakes and I'm here for only 80 years and then I'm gone
FHM (Singapore) - May 2003