Mike Shinoda On Navigating Chester Bennington’s Dark Thoughts In Linkin Park Songs

Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park recently spoke to Genius about one of the band’s latest songs, ‘Fighting Myself.’ Shinoda, in the video, talked about the process of writing songs with Chester Bennington.

The rocker mentioned Bennington and how he had reflected his ideas in the lyrics. He said:

“So, there are parts of this about sitting in silence and amplifying the bad thoughts and stuff. That was very much reflecting him because he would brood on stuff. You’d be like, ‘You good?’ and he would be like, ‘I’m fine.’ Then you knew he was not fine, it was like, he was too quiet.”

Earlier in the video, Shinoda exemplified the way the two had worked on the songs:

“Chester and I would work together on words like – I always wrote my own raps, and then his parts we would write like, I might write it, and he might sing it, he might write it, and I would tweak it up with him, and he would sing it. Or we’d kind of come together and come up with something together.”

He then explained what they had changed:

“But the rap verses were always me, so my challenge with those was to pull out some of the things. I might be writing about his perspective in my rap verse in order to tie to the chorus if that makes sense.”

The band didn’t realize how deep the frontman’s ‘bad thoughts’ were when they first met him. Shinoda explained in an earlier interview:

“Nobody knew the depths of it. When I met Chester, I didn’t know his stories. As I got to know him, I would find myself oftentimes saying, ‘I’ve never heard such a crazy upbringing, such a crazy childhood.'”

In the same interview, he continued:

“There was an element of Chester that was very fun sometimes when he was that way, and usually the next day he’d be, like, so dark.”

Bennington had struggled with depression and anxiety for years and had talked about his mental-health battles many times, which then led to taking his own life in 2017.

The track Shinoda reviewed in the video is from the 20th-anniversary reissue of ‘Meteora’, being the second unreleased song from the Meteora era Linkin Park has shared. The reissue features six unreleased songs from the era, the first of which, titled ‘Lost’, was released this February, giving fans another chance to hear Bennington’s voice since his passing away.

You can listen to the album here, and see the interview down below.