×
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

  • Ludwig Goransson Black Panther Composer

    Complete Guide to This Year's Oscar-Nominated Scores

    Unlike the song category, it’s impossible to predict the winner from this year’s quintet of original-score nominees. It’s almost anyone’s game. Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson spent a month in Africa recording unusual drums, flutes and vocals, then adding them to a massive London orchestra and choir to create a unique soundscape for the fictional land [...]

  • Oscars Best Song Nominees

    Complete Guide to This Year's Oscar-Nominated Songs

    This year’s crop of Oscar-nominated songs may be the most diverse in years: a ballad and a pop-rap from two of the year’s biggest films, plus a delicate lullaby from a Disney musical, a political themed anthem, and a novelty tune for singing cowboys. “Shallow,” the top-10 hit from “A Star Is Born,” is widely [...]

  • Bebe Rexha

    Bebe Rexha Drops New Single, 'Last Hurrah' (Listen)

    Bebe Rexha is back with her first single of 2019 — “Last Hurrah.” The Andrew Wells-produced track is Rexha’s first solo single since 2018’s “I’m a Mess,” which appeared on her debut album “Expectations” alongside the Grammy nominated “Meant to Be.” Inspired by some chocolate cake and a story about her friend, Rexha says the single [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content