The unexpected death of Chester Bennington in July 2017 rendered the future of Linkin Park understandably murky. The prospect of forging ahead without one of its two central figures (the other being multi-instrumentalist/rapper Mike Shinoda) seemed daunting, especially given the band’s massive global success.
And for much of the three years since Bennington’s passing, there hasn’t been much activity from the group. Shinoda did release his deeply personal and cathartic Post Traumatic solo album in June 2018 and went on a few tours supporting it, but he has by far been the most active member of the band musically since Bennington’s death.
This week, however, brought some discussion of new material from the remaining members — Shinoda, drummer Rob Bourdon, guitarist Brad Delson, D.J. Joe Hahn and bassist Dave “Phoenix” Farrell, thanks to an interview Farrell gave with the Dan Really Likes Wine podcast.
Among the most relevant parts of the conversation is Farrell’s news that he and the other guys in the band were writing and discussing new music even before COVID-19 lockdowns became a thing, and they’ve continued chatting via Zoom and other means during the pandemic. (Scroll to around the 18:00 mark in the video below):
“At this point, right now, I think globally we’re all doing a version of the same thing, you know, trying to stay home and trying to stay as healthy as possible. For us, with the band, we’ve been kinda writing and doing that whole bit before this all started, so casually at this point we’re doing Zoom meetings to eat lunch together and say, ‘Hi.’ But we’re not able to get together and write or do that whole bit. So working at home a little bit, working up ideas.”
This is rather revelatory news for Linkin Park fans, as previous to these comments there wasn’t really anything said about what sort of future, if any, the band could have. It’d be understandable if the band didn’t feel comfortable carrying on without Bennington, but the prospect of new music is exciting nonetheless.
Recently, Shinoda, Farrell and Hahn took part in a YouTube live stream/commentary session geared around revisiting a classic 2001 Linkin Park gig in San Diego, which was one of the most visible things any members of the band have done together in quite a while:
As far as what might come about from any potential new music under the Linkin Park name, it’s nearly impossible to guess at this point. The band’s final album with Bennington, 2017’s One More Light, was as much a curve ball as anything they’d put together to date, a mostly pop-oriented record that stood apart from much of its back catalog.
In October 2017, the remaining members of Linkin Park staged an all-star tribute concert in memory of Bennington at the Hollywood Bowl. It was an emotional night for everybody, and the concert ran more than three hours and marked the most recent public performance from all five remaining members.
During the show, Shinoda performed a song called “Looking For an Answer”:
This remains the only performance of that song, so it’s worth considering whether Linkin Park have plans to release the song in the future, now that they’re actually talking about working on new music together — or, on the other hand, if they’re discussing entirely new material that nobody knows about just yet.
At any rate, whatever new music comes from the group will be special indeed, given the circumstances.