Before he rose to fame as the voice of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington fronted a Phoenix band called Grey Daze.
A month before his death in July 2017, he announced his intention to reunite the band to rework and re-record a collection of songs from their early releases.
Bennington died before bringing those plans to fruition.
But his former bandmates – drummer Sean Dowdell, bassist Mace Beyers and guitarist Cristin Davis – have done their best to carry out his vision, using vocals Bennington, whose death was ruled a suicide, recorded in the ’90s to rework an album’s worth of early Grey Daze songs.
Loma Vista Recordings has released a single called “What’s In the Eye,” a brooding power ballad that would’ve sounded right at home on alternative radio in the ’90s.
“What’s In the Eye” was rewritten and modernized by Grey Daze under the guidance of producers Chris Traynor (Bush, Helmet), Kyle Hoffman and Jay Baumgardner using a vocal track Bennington cut at age 17.
Bennington’s gift for conveying emotion with the blend of raw intensity and vulnerability his fans would come to cherish is in full effect as he delivers lyrics inspired by a young friend’s death in a car accident.
“Don’t go too fast my friend,” he pleads as the chorus kicks in. “Or you’ll lose control.”
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Loma Vista president Tom Whalley says, “As a teenager, when these recordings were done, he had this incredible raw and somewhat undeveloped voice that had an incredible tone … Chester’s voice had a personality that made you a believer.”
Grey Daze released a pair of albums, “Wake Me” and “No Sun Today,” in the ’90s but lacked the funds and experience to get the project off the ground outside the Phoenix scene.
Some of the original recordings are from Anthem Studios in Glendale, but most were done at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Science in Mesa.
In an open letter posted to Grey Daze’s social media, the bandmates wrote:
“Over the years we’d become more knowledgeable, more experienced and had more resources, so we decided to pick a selection of songs from our previously released albums and re-record them the way they deserved to have been treated back in the ’90s when we initially wrote and released them.”
By February 2017, the note continued, “we started recording and in June, Chester and Sean announced the reunion, with a live performance planned for that fall. Unfortunately, as we all know, that never happened.”
Talinda Bennington, the singer’s widow, also shared her thoughts on social media.
“When Chester passed away, Grey Daze’s reunion seemed like an afterthought to everyone involved,” she wrote.
“They were suffering, I was suffering, and there were way too many emotions to work through before we could even think about what would happen to that project. Once the clouds lifted a bit, once we could focus on what Chester would want us to do, we looked for a way to continue what Chester was working on — the things he was proud of and wanted to share with his fans.”
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The Grey Daze project, she added, is “one of the ways we can continue to tell Chester’s story and connect with his fans.”
Additional details about the album will be revealed in the coming weeks.
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