Marc Nelson is the bassist for the band DREAMERS, who opened for the Chester Bennington-fronted Stone Temple Pilots back in 2015. Below, Nelson remembers his experience on the road with Bennington, who died Thursday (July 20) at his estate in Palos Verdes.
I am in total shock. Chester Bennington may have very well changed the course of my career, and more importantly my outlook on staying humble and generous.
I met Chester during DREAMERS' first big tour. He was singing for Stone Temple Pilots at that time and we were opening for them. Chester and STP took us under their wing and that is NOT the norm. We were just starting out, really roughing it, sleeping in the van (which had to be replaced with a Volvo pulling a trailer when the van broke down), generally not living like "rock stars." Chester noticed this and did an incredible thing: He bought us hotel rooms out of pocket for the entire monthlong leg of that tour. This was the second day we joined up with them. He barely knew us. He (and the STP guys) continued to extend that kind of generosity throughout the tour. They'd invite us into their green rooms to meet their friends and family. It was a wonderful experience. They were showing us "the way."
I had Chester's number and would text from time to time. I was always careful not to bother him; when you are famous, people often want things for the wrong reasons, but he always responded. He struck me as one of the most kind, humble, hard-working persons I've met doing this. Chester was not weak. He had a broken ankle on that tour. He would limp backstage. Onstage, he dominated every night. Running around, you'd never know he was in pain.
And that's the thing: Clearly, Chester was in pain. This shit can tear anyone down. Depression is a deadly illness. It's something I've struggled at times with, the weight of that darkness. It's not romantic, it's ugly and suffocating. I'm so sorry for his family, his friends. The people that love him. I felt the need to relay this story to honor him and them. I'll always be grateful to him for showing us such kindness and humility. I'll always try to pay it forward.
Thank you Chester