Long before he came screaming into out lives with Linkin Park, the late and great Chester Bennington was in a band called Grey Daze alongside drummer Sean Dowdell, bass player Mace Beyers and guitarist Cristin Davis, and a few years back in 2017, he announced they were getting back together for a reunion to re-work a bunch of old songs from their early albums Wake Me and No Sun Today which, unfortunately upon release back in the day, were lacking the professional expertise and financial aid to make live up to the full potential of what they could have been. Sadly, Chester passed away not long after on July 21.
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These albums would be the starting point where the frontman would begin his musical journey which saw him consequently taking over the world with Linkin Park and his other side project Dead by Sunrise, not to mention his countless album and song cameos throughout his career. So the fact the band are still continuing on with the re-recording and release of these collection of songs, goes to show there’s an ear of the man’s life not a lot of us have heard yet.
Today, we finally get to see and hear one of those re-worked early recordings using Chester’s vocal performance from when he was only 17 years old and I have to say, it’s beautiful. ‘What’s In The Eye‘ shows the potential he had at such a young age and combined with the instrumentals, takes us back to the late 90’s grunge scene, where Chester first fell in love with Soundgarden‘s Chris Cornell, who he would later refer to as one of his closest friends and mentors.
On the collection of tracks, the remaining members of Grey Daze said:
“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 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.”
Following the tragedy, his bandmates, friends, family, and various collaborators stepped in to give their music the second chance it deserved, finishing what the late singer started.
Grey Daze shared an open letter to fans, taking us back to those early years all the way to where we are now. That piece reads:
We met Chester when he was a scrappy 15-year-old and we were “seasoned” 17-year-olds. We’ve been friends, bandmates, and in Sean’s case, business partners (via Club Tattoo), ever since. We were present for the highs, and witness to the lows. Chester was the heart and soul of Grey Daze, it was his enthusiasm, lyrical prowess and emotional integrity that propelled us to record and release two albums and a demo and it was with great pride that we watched the magic we knew was in him shared with the world.
Reuniting Grey Daze was something that we’d been kicking around for years, but because of work and family commitments, we hadn’t had a chance to turn the idea into reality until early 2017. 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 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.
When Talinda, Chester’s widow, and his parents, gave us their blessing to move forward with the project, we did so with the utmost care, making sure to honor his legacy as well as handle the music we had written together with the utmost care.
We all wanted to fulfill Chester’s dream of people hearing Grey Daze music as he always envisioned it.
We also wanted to make sure we had the proper steward for this. We reached out to Tom Whalley, the person who had been the head of Warner Bros. Records for the first nine years of Linkin Park’s existence and someone who knew Chester well, with hopes he’d be interested in doing this release via his Loma Vista Recordings. Executive Producer Jay Baumgardner and Tom helped us to see our vision through, re-recording the music but keeping Chester’s vocals intact. The fact that we got to retrack and rewrite the music around his vocals was an amazing experience. This is what our good friend wanted. He wanted the music to feel fresh and relevant, so people who knew his music but not his original band, could relate to it. That’s what we’ve tried to do with this Grey Daze record now.
We cannot wait for his fans and the world to hear this new album, we hope we made him, and you, proud.
We’ll keep you posted on the album, until then, get your ears around the new and improved version of Grey Daze‘s ‘What’s In The Eye‘ below!