KORN guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer says that it has been “really hard” for him and his bandmates to deal with the recent passing of Chester Bennington.
The LINKIN PARK singer died on July 20 after committing suicide at the age of 41. He had been open with the press and public about his struggles with drugs and alcohol, which landed him in rehab twice around 2006.
Asked what his reaction was to the news of Bennington‘s death, Munky told Loaded Radio (hear audio below): “Shock. Everybody was walking around in this cloud. Just frustration and shock and sadness, and there was all this mixed emotions for… still. It’s still the residual effects of a roller coaster of emotions going around. Because we’ve known him for a long time — all those guys, all the guys in [LINKIN PARK].
“I can’t imagine what his family and his band must be going through, and my heart sincerely goes out to him and his family,” he continued. “And their families — the whole band’s families. There are so many lives that are affected by this.”
Munky added that he was “really” blindsided by Chester‘s suicide. “I think there’s a statistic on Health.com where it shows musicians are number five in line for the most serious depression and they turn to drugs and alcohol to kind of make that go away, but it only worsens,” he said. “Drugs and alcohol always win; the person always fails.”
The guitarist, who had his own struggles with depression, works hard on keeping the dark cloud from pulling him back. “I have to make sure that I’m healthy, that I’m exercising, that I’m eating right, make sure to give myself enough time in the day to clear my head or meditate or get enough sleep,” he explained. “Those things can get off balance and you can into this downward spiral that can just be brutal and just keep hitting you over the head. A lot of it’s just anxiety and listening to your own thoughts. You’ve gotta step out of yourself and realize that’s not the real you. And hearing the news about that really had me… I could feel the gravitation of the depressive sort of… I could feel it pulling me in.”
Munky said that is has been “sad to lose Chris Cornell and Chester all within such a short period. It should have never happened, but it did… It’s been really hard. It’s been hard for the guys in [KORN] to hear [about Chester‘s death] and process [it]. And I can’t imagine — I can’t imagine what it’s [like] for him and his family and his band. So, yeah, my deepest, sincere condolences to him and his family and his band.”
KORN guitarist Brian “Head” Welch recently apologized for implying that Bennington was a “coward” just hours after the LINKIN PARK frontman was found dead in his Southern California home. In a Facebook message posted shortly after the news of Bennington‘s suicide broke, Welch wrote that “giving up on your kids, fans, and life is the cowardly way out.” Reactions were swift, with one commenter calling Welch‘s remarks “incredibly tactless and distasteful” while another blasted them as “ignorant.”
In an interview with Detroit radio station WRIF, Welch claimed that he “meant no disrespect,” saying, “It was unfortunate. I spoke from a broken heart, a shattered heart, devastation and grief. And I would have worded it different… We wake up and we all see [the news] all over TMZ. I’m, like, ‘This has gotta be a hoax. It’s gotta be a hoax. It just can’t be real.’ Then I find out that it’s actually true. And we were all devastated; you should have seen our faces. Just like the whole world, I bet, that knew of this guy. We were in shock.”
Welch added that he was also hit hard by the death of Cornell two months earlier, saying: “When in the history of rock music, or even the music business, have we ever seen anything like that? [Both guys with] monster voices, such inspirations to so many. Chris Cornell ended his life [and I was] heartbroken.”
Welch said his comments about Bennington‘s suicide being “cowardly” were the result of him processing his grief online, adding, “I was heartbroken and so sorry for my good friends that have been so close to him.”