“Hybrid Theory” producer remembers working with Chester Bennington: “He was such a huge force vocally”

ABC/Randy HolmesProducer Don Gilmore worked with Linkin Park on the band’s enormous debut album, Hybrid Theory. In an interview with Billboard, Gilmore remembers when he first met the band and their frontman, the late Chester Bennington.

“He was just a nice young kid,” Gilmore says of Bennington. “The whole band were nice guys. In my opinion, in that first rehearsal he overshadowed the whole band; he was such a huge force vocally that it got me really excited about the project and it made me want to work with them really bad.”

“As a producer, you’re always looking for special things that kind of stick out and are extraordinary, because sometimes it can take just an ordinary record — maybe it has good songs and it sounds good and maybe you’re fine,” Gilmore continues. “But when you can marry all that with something like Chester’s singing, then it’s just unstoppable.’

Gilmore would go on to produce Linkin Park’s sophomore album, Meteora. Before he worked with them, Gilmore did engineering work on Temple of the Dog‘s first and only album, furthering the eerie connection between Bennington and Chris Cornell.

“I’ve maybe had four or five times in the studio that I got goose bumps, literally like shivers, and one of them was with Chester, for sure,” says Gilmore. “And oddly enough, one of them is Chris Cornell, when I recorded Chris on the Temple of the Dog record.”

Bennington died by suicide last Thursday, July 20, which would’ve been the late Cornell’s 53rd birthday.

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