CHESTER BENNINGTON's Pre-LINKIN PARK Band GREY DAZE's History Detailed In New Documentary
GREY DAZE, the mid-1990s band that bore one of rock music's most iconic frontmen, Chester Bennington, has released a documentary that highlights both the group's Phoenix-based origins and Bennington's vision to bring GREY DAZE's music into the modern era.
The clip, which can be seen below, opens with footage of Bennington announcing the GREY DAZE reunion, which is followed by the surviving GREY DAZE band members (Sean Dowdell, Mace Beyers and Cristin Davis) recounting their collective plans for 2017. Bennington's parents lovingly recall the moment when the 15-year-old Chester asked permission to join the group and their amazement in what the GREY DAZE bandmembers were able to do with the release. The documentary also takes fans behind-the-scenes into the recording of the forthcoming album, with guests such as KORN's Brian “Head” Welch and James “Munky” Shaffer, Chris Traynor (BUSH, HELMET, ORANGE 9MM) detailing the passion and emotion that has been poured into the project.
“What's In The Eye”, the first single from the as-yet-untitled Loma Vista Recordings album, arrived last Thursday. Rolling Stone said the single “finds the 17-year-old Bennington crooning and screaming over a moody mix of murky clean guitar and pile driving riffs” while Revolver said the track “showcases Bennington's iconic voice in a fresh context.” Originally recorded in 1993 and 1996, “What's In the Eye” was re-written and modernized by GREY DAZE under the guidance of producers Traynor, Kyle Hoffman and Jay Baumgardner. Using Chester's original vocals, the song showcases that, even at the age of 17, Chester was already “delivering intense, almost physically palpable emotion” (New York Times). “What's In The Eye” was written lyrically in different phases by both Sean and Chester collaboratively.
Before he sang, screamed, and serenaded audiences of millions throughout his storied career in LINKIN PARK and a host of other projects, Chester cut his teeth in GREY DAZE. The band released a pair of albums (“Wake Me” and “No Sun Today”) but, unsurprisingly, was lacking the expertise and financial resources to fulfill its vision. In 2017, Chester announced a GREY DAZE reunion which would see the band members, now with those previously lacking resources, re-working and re-recording a collection of songs from those early releases. The resulting music represents an important, yet unheard chapter — the origin story of one of modern rock's most recognizable voices — and also a full circle moment among friends.
In a 2001 interview with Revolver magazine, Chester described GREY DAZE's musical style as “early-'90s -style rock. It wasn't pop rock, it wasn't heavy metal. It was in between grunge and good rock. We didn't know what we were doing. We were just writing songs and singing. It was a four-piece band. Some of our songs were more rock. Others were more, I don't know, alternative? I've always been into punk and classic rock. The first few years of being a musician, it was all cover band stuff, and we'd throw in a few originals. The last band I was in, I was in it for almost eight years. We made two albums, and tried really hard.”
He added: “I definitely know why it didn't go anywhere: We all wanted to make it, but we all wanted to make it for different reasons. It wasn't all about making good songs, where anything else that comes from that is a fringe benefit.”
Bennington was found dead in his Los Angeles-area home in July 2017 after hanging himself.
LINKIN PARK headlined an all-star tribute concert for Bennington in October 2017 in Los Angeles but has not announced any future plans for recording or touring.
Photo credit: Tom Preston