You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Radio’s Matt Pinfield on Addiction, Depression, Chester Bennington: The Signs Were in the Songs

Just three days before his death of an apparent suicide on Thursday (July 20), Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington sent a text to radio veteran Matt Pinfield, host of the national radio show “2 Hours with Matt Pinfield,” asking to get together.

That day never came, and 24 hours after news broke of Bennington’s death, Pinfield is still trying to process why.

“I was devastated,” Pinfield tells Variety. “When I went into treatment in January, he was one of the first people to call me. Chester was a lovely, positive guy. He cared about people, and all the success never went to his head. He was great to his fans. It is an incredible loss.”

Pinfield, who had gotten to know Bennington through stints at MTV, New York’s WXRK, and SiriusXM, says many in the industry saw no clues that anything was amiss. “He was Facetiming with friends and seemed to be doing great. It was a shock to every single one of us.”

Ever since Linkin Park released its debut album, “Hybrid Theory,” in 2000, the band has left an indelible mark on rock radio, with an arsenal of hit singles – “In the End,” “One Step Closer,” “What I’ve Done,” “Shadow of the Day,” “Numb,” “Crawling,” “Breaking the Habit,” “Waiting for the End,” and more — still in regular rotation. The group’s latest album, “One More Light,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

On the day of Bennington’s death, the group released a new video, “Talking to Myself.” They also had tour dates on deck, as well as an appearance on “Carpool Karaoke” confirmed (previously taped, it airs in October). On the surface, everything looked normal. So, what happened?

“People who deal with depression like that, these decisions are made on the fly,” offers Pinfield, a recovering addict.

The clues, he adds, were there in the songs, and especially the lyrics, through which Bennington was able to confront his demons. “You listen to the songs in a different way now because of the way he died,” he says. “You realize how real these lyrics were — when he was talking about being ‘Numb’ and ‘Crawling.’ These things are not for show. … People who suffer from depression, some tend to self-medicate, others write it in their music.”

Pinfield says that creative types like Chris Cornell and Scott Weiland suffer in the end, trying to find a way to fill whatever pains them, and it’s not a comfort that the fortunes of fame can bring. “People can find financial success at their vocation, but depression can inflame it,” he says. “It doesn’t fill the hole created by depression. It is still there and it must be treated. Sometimes it can make things worse.”

What Bennington leaves behind, Pinfield says, is a body of work that will impact generations of musicians to come.  On the day Bennington died, Pinfield already recorded a show honoring Cornell for his birthday. Shortly after Bennington’s death was confirmed, he went back in the studio to add in music by Linkin Park, and discuss the loss of all three musicians—Bennington, Weiland (who Bennington subbed for as singer of Stone Temple Pilots) and Cornell.

“We have lost so many great people,” he says. “All three of them were my friends. They left an incredible legacy of music. They had so much more to do, and it breaks my heart.”


More Music

  • john legend christmas collaboration 1-800-flowers

    John Legend Sets Holiday Partnership With 1-800-Flowers

    Just call it a legendary Christmas collaboration. John Legend is teaming up with 1800flowers.com this season to deliver free copies of his new album, “A Legendary Christmas.” From now until Dec. 22, any bouquet ordered from the site’s exclusive “Legendary Christmas Collection” will include a free digital download of the album. Think of it as [...]

  • A Female Perspective on Music Production

    A Female Perspective on Music Production: 'Change Takes Time,' Says Ex-Matrix Member

    With Linda Perry’s Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year, it’s the first time in 14 years that a woman has been represented in the category. Perry is preceded by Lauren Christy, formerly of the production trio The Matrix, who has written for Avril Lavigne (“Complicated,” “Sk8er Boi”), and Enrique Iglesias (Tonight I’m Loving You”), [...]

  • Justin Timberlake Super Bowl

    Justin Timberlake Reveals Rescheduled 'Man of the Woods' Tour Dates

    After postponing six December concerts due to bruised vocal cords, Justin Timberlake has announced the rescheduled dates for his “Man of the Woods Tour,” all of which will now take place in 2019. Timberlake had been pushing back dates since late October due to bruised vocal cords, and the singer’s rebooted tour begins Jan. 4 [...]

  • Yoshiki Buys Studio City Mansion

    Yoshiki Picks Secluded Spread Near Studio City (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mononymic Japanese rock star and record producer Yoshiki, an accomplished classical composer best known as the co-founder and drummer of the speed metal band X Japan — they sold out Madison Square Garden in 2014, has expanded his SoCal real estate holdings with the almost $3.4 million purchase of a secluded 1.6-acre spread in the [...]

  • Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary,

    Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary, 'Hugo Cabret' Musical

    Producers Tim Headington and Theresa Steele Page have unveiled Ley Line Entertainment with a Brian Wilson documentary and a “Hugo Cabret” musical in the works. Ley Line said it’s a content development, production, and financing company with projects spanning film, television, stage, and music. Headington financed and produced “The Young Victoria,” “Argo,” “Hugo,” and “World [...]

  • BTS' ‘Burn the Stage’ Claims Biggest

    BTS' 'Burn the Stage' Movie Claims Biggest-Ever Event Cinema Box Office Haul

    BTS concert movie has now garnered the biggest-ever box office haul for an event cinema release. “Burn the Stage: The Movie” has raked in $18.5 million around the world, distributor Trafalgar Releasing told Variety. The film follows Korean boy-band sensations BTS on their Wings tour, which was seen by more than 500,000 fans. The movie [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content