kerrang cover

Oliver on Chester Bennington by Kerrang! Magazine.

“I first met Chester in 2014 in America. It was for a Kerrang! cover shoot, and I was really nervous about it. I was excited too, but I didn’t know whether to play it cool or just gush at him. I went with the latter option, and he was so cool and really nice to me. 


We asked each other questions about a bunch of stuff. We were on Warped Tour at the time and he was asking me about how I did it, playing shows every day for six to eight weeks without losing my voice. I told him Linkin Park were the first band I ever saw live and the reason I wanted to be in one. He seemed really taken aback about it all when I said how much he influenced me. He seemed to really appreciate it and be humbled by it. He was really nice, really genuine, really calm. Like a lot of things in my life, if I could go back to tell 14-year-old me that was going to happen, I wouldn’t have believed it.


I remember an issue of Kerrang! back in the day where my eyeball and a bit of my head was in the background of a photo from the Linkin Park gig I went to. When I got home and I saw myself in the magazine, I cried my eyes out because I thought it was so amazing. If someone had taken hold of me then and said, ‘One day you’re going to be on the front cover of Kerrang! with Chester,’ I would have had my mind blown. It’s one of those moments that makes you stop to look back at everything you’ve done and appreciate how much you’ve achieved.


I must have been about 13 when I first heard Linkin Park and, to be honest, music had never played that much of a part in my life to that point. Then I saw a Linkin Park video on Kerrang! TV and it made me think, ‘Fucking hell, this is really cool!’ I felt like the music was speaking to me, the lyrics really resonated, and they were the band that really got me heavily into the scene. From there I got into hardcore and metalcore, but I’d always check out their new albums.


Chester’s voice was a huge inspiration, too. He was someone I looked up to. He was the benchmark, because I don’t think anyone sounds like him. He was such an iconic and unique singer. I don’t think anyone sounded like him before, and I don’t think anyone will ever again. That mix of melody, catchiness and aggression is something I wanted to aim for myself. 


When I heard the news he had died I was in Los Angeles, not too far away from where it happened. At first I didn’t believe it, to be honest. When it was clear it was real, I felt weird. I know we’ve lost a lot of great artists over the years, but no-one had the impact and influence on my life that he did. Him as a vocalist and his band are genuinely responsible for the path I chose in life. Losing someone that you don’t actually know – obviously I met him, but I couldn’t call him a friend – is such a strange feeling. I feel like I miss his presence, even though I didn’t really know him. I think it’s important that you grieve and appreciate what you and we’ve all lost.”

I first met Chester in 2014 in America. It was for a Kerrang! cover shoot, and I was really nervous about it. I was excited too, but I didn’t know whether to play it cool or just gush at him. I went with the latter option, and he was so cool and really nice to me.
I told him Linkin Park were the first band I ever saw live and the reason I wanted to be in one. He seemed really taken aback about it all when I said how much he influenced me. He seemed to really appreciate it and be humbled by it. He was really nice, really genuine, really calm. 
I must have been about 13 when I first heard Linkin Park and, to be honest, music had never played that much of a part in my life to that point. Then I saw a Linkin Park video on Kerrang! TV and it made me think, ‘Fucking hell, this is really cool!’ I felt like the music was speaking to me, the lyrics really resonated, and they were the band that really got me heavily into the scene. 
Chester’s voice was a huge inspiration, too. He was someone I looked up to. He was the benchmark, because I don’t think anyone sounds like him. He was such an iconic and unique singer. I don’t think anyone sounded like him before, and I don’t think anyone will ever again. That mix of melody, catchiness and aggression is something I wanted to aim for myself.
When I heard the news he had died I was in Los Angeles, not too far away from where it happened. At first I didn’t believe it, to be honest. When it was clear it was real, I felt weird. I know we’ve lost a lot of great artists over the years, but no-one had the impact and influence on my life that he did. Him as a vocalist and his band are genuinely responsible for the path I chose in life. Losing someone that you don’t actually know – obviously I met him, but I couldn’t call him a friend – is such a strange feeling. I feel like I miss his presence, even though I didn’t really know him. I think it’s important that you grieve and appreciate what you and we’ve all lost.
—  Oli Sykes about Chester in Kerrang