Grey Daze Story
For most of Linkin Park fans, Grey Daze has always been a band surrounded by a certain mystery. It was a chapter that was both opened and closed a few years before the Internet became such an integral part of our daily lives, so there was no chance for the band's history to be as well documented as nearly everything that is happening these days.
Chester was in Grey Daze until 1998, when the band broke up and soon after, he decided that his relationship with music was completely done and started spending his time scanning maps as his day job. Then, much to his surprise, he was asked to check out and try to audition for a band from LA that had just parted ways with their lead singer (Mark Wakefield), reportedly due to his a little bit too overwhelming stage fright. The rest is history: Chester impressed the band members and joined the band, and after nearly a year and half it finally became Linkin Park. That's the point when it all starts in the mind of the public, but that was actually a long road for Chester and his former bandmates.
The founding members of the band (late 1993 - early 1994):
Steve Mitchell, Jonathan Krause, Chester Bennington, Sean Dowdell
Grey Daze stayed together for nearly five years and despite several lineup changes ended up being one of the biggest local acts in Arizona, opening for a lot of popular bands like Fuel, Seven Mary Three, Candlebox, Suicidal Tendencies, Bush and No Doubt among others, and drawing a few thousand people a night by themselves. However, we almost had no idea about the band's life during its existence, until now.
Chester was first in a band called Sean Dowdell And His Friends that was seemingly started in early 1992 in Phoenix, Arizona. The band consisted of him, Sean Dowdell, Chris Goad and Jason Cekoric. According to Sean, the band existed for over a year and a half and played approximately 50-70 shows around the Phoenix area. They put out a 3-track demo tape and split up. Shortly after that, Sean met a bassist named Jonathan Krause through Sean's brother and they decided to form a new band. They put up an ad on Phoenix New Times to find a guitar player and vocalist and found themselves a guitarist named Steve Mitchell.
Now that the band was musically complete (and tight), the only thing that was missing was a strong rock singer that would be able to both vocally and creatively complement their musicianship. And somehow it wasn't easy to find for the band at the time. Even though the local scene was filled with talented vocalists and musicians, none of the incoming people seemed to be the right fit.
Thanks to Jonathan, you can hear a recording of the band jamming with an unknown female singer below:
1993: Sean Dowdell, Jonathan Krause, Steve Mitchell, unknown singer. Notice guitar parts of "Whats in The Eye?" and "Holding You". Download the full 77 minutes recording that consists of several different pre-Chester jam sessions: (.zip)
So they tried out a few different singers, but it didn't work out. After listening to the Sean Dowdell And His Friends recording, Steve suggested to try and ask Chester to come back and audition for this new band as well, so the band invited him and it worked! Chester joined the band right away and someone came up with the name Gray Daze. According to Jonathan, its the spelling that they went with at first, before finally changing it to Grey a few months later, around the time that Steve left the band.
Some people think Grey Daze was an evolution of Sean Dowdell And His Friends, but that's not true. As you can see, they're two totally separate bands that Sean and Chester just both happened to be in. According to Jonathan Krause, the only true connection between the two bands is the song called "Wake Me", that was written during Sean Dowdell And His Friends days. Sean actually once denied this fact, because as far as he could remember the song was written by Chester and the band's second of three guitar players named Jason Barnes, but since we now have a recording of the band playing this song with Steve Mitchell @ Thunder & Lightning show that we posted on July 11, 2015, we can see that it's not necessarily correct, because it certainly wasn't written by Jason and the song obviously has some earlier roots.
A Word From Steve Mitchell
Steve: I played guitar with Chester in 1992 [1994, actually ~ LESTAT] in Phoenix. We played shows in Scottsdale at Thunder and Lightening, the Spaghetti Factory in Phoenix and the Mason Jar and Big Fish Pub in Tempe...
If I remember correctly... Lots of bands and shows for me since then!
I did some recordings with Chester and the band at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe at that time, but I don't have them anymore.
I wrote the guitar part for "What's in the Eye?" and a few other songs at the time, and some experimental rock opera stuff with Chester and Jonathan.
Unfortunately, Steve wasn't part of the band for long, but he did play a key role for it anyway. He was not only able to come up with ideas for quite a few songs that later became the band's staples and appeared on their first album, but also to get the band a very important gig: the opportunity to record Grey Daze's first professional demo at the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences in Tempe, AZ. Thanks to Jonathan Krause, we were able to obtain this recording and post it on September 13th, 2015.
Starting To Fly (Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences Demo Take 1):
Starting To Fly (Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences Demo Take 2):
Click "Show" to read the original post from September 13th, 2015 and download the tracks:
After Steve left, Jason Barnes joined Chester, Sean and Jonathan as Grey Daze's new guitar player. He was a bit younger than the rest of the guys, but was already an impressive self-taught guitarist.
Grey Daze interview @ The Saltmine Studio (1995)
The interview below was recorded at The Saltmine Studio for KEDG The Edge radio station around early 1995.
This recording is the only known interview with the band from the actual years of its existence and the earliest known interview with Chester and since I wasn't able to get a hold of either him or Jason to talk for this article, this exclusive recording is a nice little make up for their absence.
During the interview, the band explains how the band was created, how they found their new guitar player Jason Barnes after Steve left, the meaning behind "Sometimes" and their main musical influences at the time.
Notice that Jonathan Krause wasn't there during the interview. According to him, he had just left the band. It was his personal decision based on a combination of factors varied from his relationship with the band and his own personal priorities.
After that happened, the band found Mace Beyers to replace Jonathan on bass. Very shortly after that, Jason decided to leave the band as well and Bobby Benish joined Grey Daze, completing an entirely different incarnation of the band.
Interview with Mace Beyers, bassist (1995-1998)
> Q: So can you tell us your own Grey Daze story?
Mace: Sure. I used to be a production manager at a venue in Tempe called The Electric Ballroom. I met Grey Daze there when they played covers at our after hours nights.
They called me to see if I knew any bass players and I said: Yeah. ME!
Chester was like 18 or something like that.
Anyway, we made some bad biz' decisions but eventually made a decent CD.
I opened a Tattoo Shop named Club Tattoo from putting on conventions at the club. We got a lot of attention because I had a high profile position in town. This was the hottest club out there...that's a whole other story.
Sean the drummer came in on the tat shop with me.
I got married like an ass, all the women weren't getting along. I'm not going to throw stones, but I will say it had nothing to do with lyrics or shit like that. Chester and I quit at the same time. Its all personal bullshit.
February 1995 Electric Balllroom's ad from Music Voice Magazine:
"Fri. & Sat. After Hours 1-4AM! Pearl Jam, Candlebox, S.T.P., The Cult & More Performed by GREY DAZE"
The band also performed Alice In Chains, Live and Nirvana covers from time to time.
> Q: What was the biggest show Grey Daze played?
We played a lot of big shows, opened up for a lot of big bands. The year we won number one local band of the year in Arizona was one of the biggest.
> Q: What were the setlists like?
We played a little of the first CD...mainly songs off "No Sun Today" - the second CD. And a lot of stuff never released.
> Q: What Grey Daze song was the biggest crowd pleaser?
"B12" and the cover of "Anything Anything".
> Q: Have you played in any bands before Grey Daze?
I have been playing the bass for many years.
Recorded my first record at 16. The Double "O" Zeros which later became The Zeros. We wrote and recorded the Howard Stern theme song (in NYC). Got screwed over by Atlantic Records. Saved our money and with the help of a small label released an EP in 1984 and moved to London. I stayed with this band for 4 years. My singer had a nervous breakdown - I quit the band over a fight about peanut butter.
Moved to LA with a hundred dollars in my pocket. Met some musicians on the plane. Soon after formed a band called SHAME. Got signed to Simmons Records (Gene Simmons from KISS, his label). We lost the deal. I was in that band for 4 years as well. In the process of being in LA, I auditioned for Alice Cooper. Was runner up for the gig.
Ozzy Osbourne - my buddy Mike got the gig over me.
Then Iggy Pop - almost had that gig.
Steve Vai - played with him for three days and lost out to his friend for that world tour.
Had a few bands in between all of this...Then I sang for a band called So What. Got offered a deal, but it wasn't good enough so we didn't take it. Left that band cause they were racist. Opened up for Rage and Body Count a lot.
Had a few bands after that and then moved to Arizona to join Grey Daze.
At this point I have done about 11 records.
> Q: So what did you do after you left the band?
I messed with a few bands in AZ then moved to NJ to write songs on my own. Got a job at a Hot Topic as a manager. Saved money and recorded my own solo CD. I played all the instruments, wrote, sang and recorded it myself.
Was going to have Chester sing on a track, but when I showed up in Philly he was too sick to sing on it. Then he kept getting bigger. Decided to find a tour to get my bass playing back in shape after playing drums & guitar for while. Found a band in Ohio online, joined the band and have played over 180 shows with them touring the Midwest and East Coast. They are called Woodside Quinn. Well, we lost our sax player because he lost his mind and was committed. The style of music and the musicianship really aren't what I am used to.
> Q: Can you tell me some interesting stories about the band?
Chester called me to audition for a band called Hybrid Theory (at the time they had a publishing deal and a few labels interested), so I flew out to LA. The bass player Scott at the time was on drugs, so I played behind his back. It went well, but the guys thought I was too old. Sorry, but I still look young as hell, and my chops are better than Phoenix's, but that's the biz for ya.
> Q: Has Grey Daze ever played a show outside Arizona?
Coconut Teaszer in LA. That was the only outside show other than AZ.
According to Mace, the Coconut Teaszer show was a showcase gig for a record label. It was unsuccessful and the band broke up very shortly or right after that, but this show was one of the reasons Chester was later asked to audition for Hybrid Theory.
Interview with Sean Dowdell, drummer (1993-1998)
> Q: Do you know what happened to Chris Goad and Jason Cekoric - the original Sean Dowdell And His Friends members?
We are not sure what happened to either Chris G. or Jason C. I haven't seen them in at least 12 years [in 2008].
> Q: Why did Grey Daze decide to part ways with Steve Mitchell (the very first guitar player)?
He was very temperamental and a bit unstable so we actually fired him.
Steve was only in the band for about 5 months. He helped write a few songs, only 1 of which was ever recorded: "What's In The Eye?". But it was changed.
> Q: Is it true that "Soul Song" was the band's biggest local hit [as some sources suggested]?
"B12", "Down Syndrome", "Anything Anything" and "Hole" were our biggest hits.
> Q: How many known Grey Daze live recordings exist?
I'm not sure. Probably dozens.
Around 2010, when I had a conversation with Sean, I told him about the "Smoke Mouth" live video from the band's 1994 Rally Kap performance that, at the time, was just recently released by Jonathan and how we weren't aware of the song's existence before that and asked him if there are any other songs we don't know of. His answer was:
There are probably 20-30 more Grey Daze songs that were never released.
In 2015, we were lucky to obtain the full show recording from Jonathan and it turned out that the band also performed 4 other previously unknown songs during that specific performance alone ("My Bluest Day", "Painted", "Piece Of My Mind" and "Everybody's Falling To Pieces"), along with two covers we didn't know the band ever performed: "Circle" originally by Big Head Todd and the Monsters and "Start Me Up" originally by The Rolling Stones.
Click "Show" to read the original post from June 6th, 2015 and download the show:
Also thanks to Jonathan, we posted the band's 6-track demo recording they did at Scott Crowley's apartment in 1994 that included demo versions of 4 known Grey Daze songs ("Morei Sky", "Believe Me", "Starting To Fly" and "Shouting Out") as well as the only known studio recordings of "Smoke Mouth" and "My Bluest Day". Scott Crowley of the band Nihil was a friend of Sean, so he allowed them to record this never before released demo in his home studio. Be sure to visit our detailed LPLive Wiki page dedicated to the release.
Soon after that, we posted another full recording (this time in audio format) and it happened to be the band's debut show @ Thunder & Lightning on January 22nd 1994. The band played a short set, but we'd never heard of the songs called "The Endless Highway" and "How Would You Be" until that point.
Click "Show" to read the original post from July 11th, 2015 and download the show:
A little bit prior to all of the above mentioned releases, on April 14th 2015, we posted a proshot video recording filmed for the local AZ TV-show called Rock Club Rising in 1996 that I obtained from the show's producer Sharon Anne Nichols and No Volcano's Jim Andreas, who was also in a very popular local band at the time called Trunk Federation. It was a video of the band performing two songs of their set: "Sometimes" and previously unheard "Ryan's Wisdom".
Click "Show" to read the full back story in our original post from April 14th 2015 and download the video:
Summing up the stuff that was released by us and other known Grey Daze demos that were released by different sites long time ago ("Commit" and "Come On"), we now have 10 original Grey Daze songs that did not appear on any of the band's albums. As you read, you will also find out about other songs that existed, but aren't currently in our hands, so the band sure did have a lot of unreleased material as Sean pointed out.
> Q: During that Rock Club Rising video Chester wishes happy birthday to some guy named Scott. Do you somehow remember who he was talking about? The exact date of that performance is unknown, so the only way left for us to figure it out is to find out who that Scott was and what's his birthday.
Sean: It was a guy named Scott who worked at the Electric Ballroom and was a sound engineer assistant that hung around us.
> Q: Has the band ever played a show outside Arizona?
The band played all over the western US, LA, San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco, etc. I don't have any info on dates though.
> Q: According to Mace, the Coconut Teaszer show was the only outside gig for the band...
That is incorrect. He was only in the band for 3 years.
We played all over California, Whisky in LA, etc.
The cover for Wake Me was done by Sean's uncle Mike Walliser, who is the same photographer responsible for Sean Dowdell And His Friends demo tape cover. According to Mike, that picture is a compilation of three photos all done by him: 1) a close up of a snail; 2) a photo of a beach in La Jolla, California; 3) a photo of Mike's friend Audreia. Mike also used Audreia's photo for the cover of Tod Howarth's "Silhouette"
> Q: Here's an excerpt from Chester's interview: "I'd recently left a band back in Phoenix where our bass player had recorded his parts for an EP while out of tune, then demanded that the rest of the band re-record everything we'd done to match the tune he was playing in". Can you comment on that?
Yes, that was Mace
Actually, I'm wrong. That was Jonathan Krause that pulled that during recording.
> Q: So the EP was never finished or the project evolved into something else?
Never finished that one. There are probably about 10 unreleased unfinished songs out there somewhere. Also, there was a complete album done and mixed by a guy named Andy Barrett and Glen Parrish that we never got due to the label going under when we were signed to Real Records. That album was great and in 1997.
> Q: So I guess No Sun Today was recorded very quickly after cancellation of that album you mentioned?
> Q: Did you play any of the stuff from that album live anyway? Were any of those songs rerecorded for No Sun Today?
I'm sure we did [play them].
We did rerecord a lot of those songs and I believe we had a couple new ones from the time of the album not being released to the time we recorded No Sun Today. There are a few songs that we did not record because we just felt otherwise.
> Q: So to sum it all up:
1994: The stuff mentioned by Steve (rock opera and CRAS demos), Scott Crowley sessions, Wake Me
1994-1995: Unfinished EP?
1996-1997: Unfinished album for Real Records and No Sun Today
2001-present: A few attempts to re-release No Sun Today
What time frame SAC would be in?
Yes, and Sac was in 1997-1998.
> Q: Does it stands for "Sean And Chester?
[Laughing] I'm not sure.
> Q: Do you remember if the band ever performed the acoustic version of "The Down Syndrome" live? Also, who's playing keys on this one? Did you have any special name for it?
No and I played the piano during recording. Just the acoustic version is correct.
> Q: What the hidden track on Wake Me exactly is? It's Chester singing "Morei Sky" (definitely not the same vocal take we can hear on the album version), a metronome and some talk near the end of the track. What was happening there?
Sean: I think it was his headphone feed while we were doing bass and drum tracks.
David Knauer: Yes, that was headphone bleed. During the tracking of Wake Me, as we were recording basic tracks, Chester was sitting on the couch in the back of the studio and sang along so the band could hear him in the headphones. That track you hear is what was recorded on his handheld mic which included the music in the control room, the click track for tempo, him singing, and him talking to his girlfriend who was sitting with him.
Interview with David Knauer and Michael Jones, record producers
Record producer David Knauer, who is responsible for the band's very first album Wake Me, is an incredibly great person with a strong work ethic. He still has all of his notes, lists and master tapes from that time, so it was very easy to figure out the exact dates that he worked with the band and even shed some light on the band's other activities.
On the very first day of working on Wake Me, David recorded the band playing live in his studio to see what the band had in store. He recorded their performance straight to DAT tape and had Chester say the name of every song so it was on tape as well. The three Grey Daze demo tracks ("Commit", "Come On" and "Here, Nearby") that were circulating for years are actually just a small part of his unedited live recording. As you can see on the picture above, the performance took place on October 6th 1994 and the whole session lasted nearly 6 hours.
Then, David recorded Wake Me on the two master tapes you see in the picture below. The entire record was recorded in David's studio, but was mixed at Anthem Recording.
In February 1996, the band asked David to produce and record their 2nd album, so he started pre-production for it on February 18th. He brought them into his studio again and recorded 1 to 1.5 hours worth of material on multitrack this time.
David: It was the band playing live. It had the songs that made it to the record, songs that didn't. And a few ideas that weren't songs yet.
This session is on the other tapes you can see on the picture. Cassette copies made specifically for the band members also exist.
David: Soon after, they got noticed by a record label and there was talk of them getting signed. We continued to work on the songs and prepare for the studio. We all got very happy when they signed the deal with Real Records. Then out of the blue one day I was asked by Grey Daze's manager to come see him. Him had a release and a check for me and said that they were going to record the record with the label's producer and engineer and we would not be working together any longer. I was quite hurt by it all, as I put a lot into them up till this point. So they went in and did the record with Andy Barrett and Glen Parrish. As you know it never came out. Later that year they came back to me and asked me to redo the album. At first I was not very motivated to do it but, because it was going to give me a chance to work with the band again, I moved forward from where we left off. This time instead of doing it at my studio, I was going to do it at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Phoenix. It is a well known recording school with many nice studios. I taught there part time and my good friend Mike Jones is the Director of Education. We were going to do the record together. Since the first work we did together in Feb 96, the band had recorded the other album with Andy Barret and had written new songs, I wanted to hear all the new stuff so we did another pre-production session on 12/3/1996. Mike and I went into the studio at the school and recorded the band live to DAT again. Then just before we started the recording of No Sun Today, on 12/13/96 I was in a bad car accident. I spent the next couple months in Los Angeles and Mike went on to do the record.
Real Records was a short lived LA-based record label founded by Stevie Nicks' former manager Glen Parrish around 1995. The label existed for nearly two years with the most prominent band under its wing being Ugly Mus-Tard. According to Andy Barrett, that almost completely finished Grey Daze album was shelved because Glen did not raise the funds to finish the studio time.
> Q: Do you happen to know anyone of the following people: Robert Rogers, Tony DiMaria, John Biehl, Scott Adkins. These are the people that worked on the Sean Dowdell And His Friends tape.
I knew Robert Rogers. He may be how I met the band. He was the manager of local bands in Phoenix. He worked a bit with Grey Daze at first but also managed a band I recorded right after Grey Daze called Lemon Krayola. He also had a local music newspaper out for a while called "The Alternative News". I helped him a lot with that.
> Q: The acoustic version of "The Down Syndrome" that appeared as the hidden track on No Sun Today sound like it was recorded in one take with no overdubs. Was it recorded live during your pre-production session?
David: That must have been recording during the [actual] No Sun sessions. I hear the engineer say "We're still rolling". That is Mike Jones' voice. I do have a version of that song no one has ever heard. During the first pre-production session for No Sun Chester and Bobby recorded a version of that song with just guitar and vocal. It was so new it didn't have a name yet, Its labeled "New Song" on the track count.
Michael Jones: If memory serves that was a live track in the studio. All in one take. It had such a cool vibe, we kept it!
> Q to Michael: So can you tell me the overall story of you working with the band?
Michael: I recorded the Grey Daze album, No Sun Today in early 1997. Mixed the record. Mastered it at A&M Records and submitted it to them for consideration.
David had already been working with the band for a few years. By the time I got involved, they were tight and their songs were pretty locked in.
After the record was finished and the deal with A&M did not work out, Chester ended up recording the vocal demo for his current band at the studio we did No Sun at.
That one worked out rather well.
> Q to Michael: What is the main reason that some of the songs from Wake Me were re-recorded for No Sun Today once again? Are there any other recorded songs that didn't make the album?
Grey Daze had a great live show. As a result they gigged a lot and believe they reworked and tightened some their songs for No Sun. No unused tracks I can recall.
> Q to Michael: I believe I once saw someone mentioned working on a Grey Daze album as a class project. Was No Sun Today recorded with a help of students?
The No Sun record was done at my school. The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences. There were several students assisting on the sessions, but all the engineering and production work was handled by Myself and Ghery Fimbres.
> Q to Michael: Was that Chester's vocal demo tape recorded by you? I assume you are talking about the 4-song tape that was sent to Chester by the band for him to sing over instrumentals as a sort of an audition.
The vocal demo was a cassette, those recordings were done by my assistant/partner on the No Sun record Ghery Fimbres. Although Ghery and I were never fully paid by some of the band members, the sessions for Chester were done as a favor.
> Q to David: Mike told me that once he started producing No Sun Today, the band's songs were pretty "locked in", so I guess he didn't have to help them out with their direction. Was it the case when you worked with them on Wake Me?
David: Not at all. With Wake Me they had never been in the studio before other than Chester and Sean with SDAHF, so they were very new to the process. I worked with them a lot as the projects producer. I started in their practice room hearing the songs and discussing what works and what doesn't. Then we did the pre-production at my studio and I took a week to listen to that and decide what songs are working and what needed to change. I went back to the rehearsal studio with them and we worked on the songs. From that I helped them choose what songs should go on the CD. The reason Mike said that is because by the time he recorded them, they had gone through the Wake Me sessions, my first No Sun pre-production sessions, the Andy Barret recording and my 2nd round of pre-production sessions. The songs were set by then.
> Q to David: Did you know that the band actually recorded professionally in CRAS before, during the time that Steve was still in the band?
I don't ever remember Steve involved in any thing. I never met him. The only guitar players I worked with was Jason and Bobby.
CRAS was not a public recording studio, but a school for audio engineering. They brought in bands so the students had projects to work on. The bands got a free recording and the students have a project to learn on. It is possible that a very early version of Grey Daze came into the school to record before I met them, but I don't recall that. When I started with the band, Jason was playing guitar and they were never at CRAS till we started to do No Sun Today. Normally we would never do a full album for a band at CRAS, just a song or two for a class, but since I worked there for so long and Mike was director of education, we were working on the album there as a favor to the band in off time to keep costs down since they had no budget and no label to pay for it.
> Q to David: What bands influenced Grey Daze the most, in your opinion? I know the best indication would be the bands they covered like STP, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Candlebox, etc, but were there any other obvious influences at the time? Someone said that Chester's body language on stage was very reminiscent of Korn's Jonathan Davis. Do you think that opinion is correct?
I can't think of any other bands other than the ones mentioned above. For Chester it seems like STP was his big one at the time we did Wake Me. Yes, I can see the Jonathan Davis comparison on stage, I guess.
> Q to David: What are you up to these days?
I own and run Audio Perception Inc. We design and build recording studios, do tech support for people in the audio business and design and build audio related products. I also run Audio Perception Post a post production audio house for films and TV. I do sometimes still work with musicians and bands but not a much as I used to. Mostly I mix movies now instead of bands.
David's Pre-Production Sessions
The three pre-production sessions recorded by David Knauer were done during entirely different periods of the band's career, so these in-studio live performances perfectly capture what the band was about at different points of its existence. Thanks to him, you can see his tapes and all of the contents on the pictures below.
1996.12.03 Tempe, AZ, Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences, "No Sun Today" Pre-Production Live Session
So what conclusions can we make from these tracklists/setlists?
Multiple takes: As you can see from the tracklisting of the first tape, both "Believe Me" and "Holding You" were performed three times in a row. According to David, these songs were so new at the time, the band had to play them a few times to get them right live. "Morei Sky" was false-started as well.
Unreleased/unknown songs: "Painted", "Commit", "Come On", "Ryan's Wisdom", "Old School" and "Super Star" weren't released on any of the band's albums. Its also the first time we hear about the last two songs.
Not on tape: "Smoke Mouth", "My Bluest Day", "The Endless Highway", "How Would You Be", "Beyond Warm" (see the interview with Jonathan below), "Everybody's Falling To Pieces" and "Piece Of My Mind" are the only known Grey Daze songs that weren't performed during any of the pre-production sessions.
No Sun Today tracks that were written long before the album came out: Aside from "Whats In The Eye?", "Sometimes" and "Hole" from No Sun Today that previously appeared on the band's first album Wake Me three years prior, we can see that No Sun Today tracks "B12", "Saturation", "In Time" and "Just Like Heroin" (simply titled "Heroin"?) were all performed live at least a year before the album came out.
As David already pointed out, "The Down Syndrome" (simply titled "New Song") from the February 1996 performance was so new it had no name at the time, so we can safely assume it was written around early 1996.
Real Records album content: Looking at the setlist of the third pre-production session and keeping in mind David's words that they did it for him to hear the new songs the band wrote specifically for the Real Records album, we can see that some of these songs were:
The band likely did not perform a few new ones during the session (see Sean's words about the band feeling otherwise about some of the songs from the Real Records album. Or was he talking about "Old School" and "Super Star"?), but the absence of unknown song titles probably means that the Real Records album was more or less entirely consisted of songs that are known for us: the ones that previously appeared on Wake Me or were released on No Sun Today in the end. Well, aside from "Ryan's Wisdom" that we just recently got to know about. It's hard to tell if any of the earlier unreleased songs were going to appear on it, as it seems unlikely, but possible.
Rerecording songs: We can see that the band performed an even bigger number of songs from Wake Me during the very last pre-No Sun Today session than the amount that ended up being released on it. It looks like the songs "Wake Me" and "Morei Sky" could have easily appeared on No Sun Today.
You may ask "What's the point of rerecording any of the old songs once again, even if the new versions are tighter than before?"
The answer is that Wake Me was an independent local release and they were shooting for a label deal with both unreleased album for Real Records and No Sun Today for A&M Records, so the point was to release their stronger songs for the first time to wider public. It actually means that, in a way, the band actually had three debut albums.
Keep your eyes on the site, as we will work on ways to try and get some of this stuff released to the public.
EDIT: We were able to obtain the Wake Me Pre-Production session from Jonathan and posted it on October 31st, 2015. Click "Show" to read the original post and download the digital copy of the tape:
Interview with Jonathan Krause, bassist (1993-1995)
Just when I thought that I was done talking with anyone about the band and that my article is almost finished, I decided to make one last shot and try to contact Jonathan, whom I previously wasn't able to find.
To my surprise, I got a quick response, it was him and he wasn't only open to what turned out like a long, sincere and fun conversation, but also share some of his recordings that we later posted as part of our LPLive Exclusives. I sure did have to rewrite the entire thing and contact a few more people after our conversation.
> Q: Is it possible to figure out the name of that girl trying to come up with a vocal melody during that recording of a pre-Chester jam session or any other people that tried out to join the band?
Jonathan: Unfortunately, I do not have any record of the lead singers we tried out for us. Actually, I do believe one of the writers for the Phoenix New Times, a local rag tried out for us, but he was not our style. Sorry, can't remember his name. He did actually become somewhat of a popular novelty act in town.
> Q: When you sent me that file, you mentioned "What's In the Eye?" riff being played during the session. I also hear pieces of "Holding You". Interesting, because from all the recordings and info we have, it seems like "Holding You" was properly finished right before the Wake Me sessions. Looks like it was in the works for a long time. I guess, we can credit Steve for this song as well.
I would definitely say Steve brought in the idea for "Holding You", especially the riff.
As you can see, Steve did put together quite a few songs with us. So the info that he only wrote the riff for "What's In The Eye?" is incorrect. But then again that just showcases some of the inaccuracies of other people's memories. Steve played with us enough to produce a set list to be able to play out a few shows. Yes, Steve was a loose canon, but a great guitarist. After he left, we had a show booked at the Mason Jar and my old guitarist from a past band I played with filled in for that show. His name was David Engelhardt. David thought we sucked. Eventually we tried out many other guitarists and found Jason Barnes, who is basically a 16 year old prodigy at that time.
> Q: I know it was so long ago, but do you somehow remember if the band was opening for Lemon Krayola the night you played with David Engelhardt in Mason Jar? I'm asking because we have a very early Mason Jar show in our guide that fits to be that exact show. The band was still called Gray Daze and it was a few months after the band's first show and we believe Steve was in the band only for a few months as well and, as you mentioned, has played only a few shows. The show was advertised as Lemon Krayola EP Release Party.
Yes, I believe that was David at the Lemon Krayola CD release show.
> Q: Do you think that you left Grey Daze very early 1995? I was always under impression that you left around mid-to-late 1995, or even early 1996, but during the interview at the Saltmine the band says that they are "together for about a year" and "Jason is for about 7 months". It means the interview happened around late 1994 - early 1995. And as you said, you're not there during the interview because you had just left the band.
Does it sound right to you that the band was started in mid-to-late 1993, played its first show in January 1994, recorded Wake Me in late 1994 and you left the band right after it was recorded/released? Do you remember your very last show?
The timeline is a little fuzzy for me, but you may be right it could have been sometime in November or December of 94 that I left. To be honest with you, I can't remember. I was in a band right before and a band right after. That would make sense though. It just seems a lot happened in that time.
I remember playing a lot of shows with them including Club Rio, many times at the Electric Ballroom, all the Rally Kap shows, Long Wong's, Paradise Cafe, and all while managing to record at several studios, do a photo shoot in California and practice 3 or 4 nights a week.
I do remember my last show, it was at the Electric Ballroom.
> Q: So what was the overall creative process like at the time that you were in the band? Were the band members confident at what they do during the band's earliest days?
There were some fun times the band had, not just playing out but hanging out too. We used to invite people down to the practice studio to hangout, showcase the new material and get the word out.
As far as the writing, Jason, Steve and I collaborated on a lot of stuff. I came up with musical ideas for "Hole", "Spin", "Painted", "Shouting Out", "Morei Sky" and "Come On". Those are mostly bass driven songs, except for "Spin". I use a lot of delay bass. Jason came in with "Sometimes", "Everybody's Falling To Pieces" and "Piece Of My Mind". A lot of the other stuff was a collaborative effort. And yes, Sean and Chester both wrote the lyrics.
Writing was a lot of fun. I remember an idea would be started by either Steve/Jason or I and within seconds the rest of the band would find the notes and rhythm. Not long after Chester would spew out the verse or chorus to the new material. We would be like Holy shit, that was awesome!. Writing was incredibly easy with this band. We didn't force it. Plus, it really was not that complicated, but more of a formula.
Thanks to Jonathan, you can hear & download a recording of the band practicing with Chester trough the link below:
You can hear the band (Jonathan, Steve, Sean, Chester) perform the following songs, in jamming form:
01. Come On
02. Smoke Mouth
04. Wake Me
> Q: Do you remember where were the both sessions recorded at?
There was a practice place off of McDowell, I think it was the McDowell Studios. That is where those recordings are from. Later we moved to a storage unit off Thomas and 27th Avenue.
> Q: Back to the earlier part of this article, is there anything you can say about the whole out-of-tune tracks situation mentioned by Chester?
I'm not sure what Chester was initially talking about, but I was referring to the ending of "She Shines". The bass line is a little off it was such a new song that I wanted to rerecord it. If I recorded the whole thing out of tune, then why does it sound in tune? Just saying.
> Q: The interesting thing is that no one was ever able to properly confirm the existence of the mentioned EP. David Knauer mentioned that he has heard the story about some out-of-tune tracks, but was pretty positive the band had never recorded anything professionally before or soon after his sessions for Wake Me and had never heard of any EP's. Sean did not deny it, but doesn't remember any details. And now, from you words, it turns out it all likely happened during the Wake Me sessions. I personally think the whole EP thing was a confusing mistake on Chester's part. Can you personally confirm or deny the EP's existence? Also, Steve Mitchell mentioned recording some experimental rock opera stuff with you and Chester. Can tell me anything about that?
No EP. Steve was right. We were doing rock opera for fun, nothing recorded or ever played live.
> Q: What can you tell me about the band's manager Kerry Rose? David also mentioned that Robert Rogers was somehow around early on. Can you tell me anything about him as well?
Rob Rogers the X-Chargers line man of the NFL, Yes! Towering guy. I don't know how much he did for the band. He was around though. Kerry Rose was the owner of a Seafood restaurant that I worked at. He liked the band after hearing the demos from the Conservatory and asked me what I think it would take to make it. I told him money and good management. The money for a solid recording and good management to help us do the behind the scenes things, so we could focus on writing. Later he met with the band and we agreed to have him manage us. So he became the manager and investor of our band. He paid out $10,000 to record Wake Me.
> Q: What was your personal most memorable Grey Daze show?
When I played, the most memorable shows we're opening up for the Phunk Junkeez and a show that we played at Bennigan's outside in the parking lot. Both shows were packed and I think we're just coming into our own. Chester was a great frontman. He was beginning to really draw the crowd in. I remember at the Phunk Junkeez show there were some fans in front of the stage that I gave high 5s too. Cheesy, but fun at the same time. Kind of living the moment.
> Q: What songs you think the crowd loved the most?
During the time that I played, I saw that crowd favorites were "Spin", "Hole", "She Shines" and "Sometimes". Oh yeah, there was a new song we started playing called "Super Star". That one seem to get the crowds going and we covered "Anything Anything" by Dramarama and that one was a crowd pleaser too. Chester seem to really hit that one.
> Q: Do you remember any other specific songs the band covered at the time?
Actually funny that you say that. I think we played Tool's "Sober".
Band bio: part of the band's promo material in mid-1994 I received from Jonathan.
Notice the part that says that Chester has fronted several bands in the Phoenix area. Its likely a mistake, because Jonathan and 2 other people I spoke with for this article are pretty confident that Sean Dowdell And His Friends was the only Chester's band before he joined Grey Daze. Notice that "Believe Me" and "Holding You" weren't in the song list at the time, but there's a song called "Beyond Warm" that we have not heard. According to the list, the band also performed covers by The Beatles, The Pixies and Toad The Wet Sprocket.
> Q: Speaking of covers, we know that the band played at Electric Ballroom's "After Hours" nights a lot performing sets entirely consisted of cover songs originally by the bands like STP, Nirvana, Candlebox and others. What was the reason the band decided to play such shows? Was it just for fun or the band was more leaning to covers than originals at some point? What's the overall story behind that?
We wanted to get our name out there. Actually, it was a brilliant idea. We would purposely try and slip in some of our originals. Some shows were a bust playing covers to an empty house. Those nights were like practice sessions. Gave us time to work on our stage presence. I don't remember how much more they continued to play these types of shows after I left.
> Q: And since Chester is now also the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, I have to ask you if you happen to remember any specific STP songs the band covered at the time?
STP was one of Chester's favorite bands, if not his favorite. He also talked about Legendary Pink Dots alot. We did cover 2 songs, maybe 3: "Interstate Love Song", "Vasoline" and, I think, "Big Empty".
> Q: What are your personal favorite bands?
I am a big fan of Tool, Ministry, Nitzer Ebb, Skinny Puppy, The Art of Noise, Seal, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Rush, Van Halen, PJ, Alice, Nirvana, Soundgarden, David Bowie, Radiohead and Fugazi.
Nowadays add MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Broken Bells, Modest Mouse, System of a Down and Arcade Fire. Lotsa great music out there. I enjoyed Hybrid Theory a lot.
> Q: Can you tell me about the bands you were playing in before and after Grey Daze?
Before Grey Daze I was in:
Arlo Marbel (1.3 years: 1990-1991) a punk band that I played lead guitar and sang lead vox in. We never recorded professionally.
Then I played in my favorite band musically 22 Fires (2 years: 1992-1993). We were a progressive rock band. I think we had an original sound. We made one 6 song EP and later a 2 song Demo both at Living Head Studios. Think Tin Machine (David Bowie side project) meets Tool meets the Pixies.
After GD I was in a start up project called Lift (1 year: 1995) We sounded like Peter Gabriel meets the Wolfgang Press. We could never find a singer.
Then I joined a band that had been together for over 5 years called Mas Optica (1 year: 1996). Think Days Of The New. The band played Electric Ballroom's Fender stage and main stage a few times. They already had 2 full length CD's out, we recorded one 6 song demo. Exceptional musicians!
Then I started a band with some musicians I knew. We were called Pomegranate (1 year and a half: 1997-1998). Pop band with a few good ideas. No pro recordings.
In 1999, I joined my next big project called Superordinary (2 1/2 years: 1999-2002). They were already a band, but it felt like a new band when I joined. We were a power rock group. Kind of Goo Goo Dolls. We recorded a full length CD. We even entertained recording it at Sean Dowdell's studio SoundVision, but later went a friend who gave us unlimited studio time. We played some big shows and toured. Most notably we played at the Sturgis Biker Rally with some past huge acts such as Styx, Reo Speed Wagon, Kenny Wane Shepard, Cheap Trick and Jonny Lang. It was a 5 night festival and we opened each night. We also got a good amount of radio play in Phoenix. We were being looked at by some labels, but inevitably it was too late. The band had played its course. I had a lot of fun playing with these guys, no ego problems.
My last band was one that I joined called the Charge Michael (3 years: 2006-2008). The drummer from Superordinary had suggested me for the position. We played Dave Mathews style music meets the Black Crows. We played some big shows, but I had to focus on my day job. That was the push. I had a lot of fun and miss the hell out of it. I still write music in my home studio. I will never stop playing
Interview with Kerry Rose, manager
One of the people that I have always wanted to talk with about the band was their manager Kerry Rose. When I finally reached him, it was really interesting to hear the story from a perspective of the person who did all of the behind-the-scenes work for the band, especially given he wasn't just a man doing his job, but also a close friend for some of the band members who likely believed in them like no one else, investing his own money and time to make things work and help them achieve their goals.
> Q: So Jonathan told me you was the owner of a Seafood restaurant that he worked at. He said you liked the band after hearing one of the demos and became their manager and investor. Can you tell me some more about that? I know Grey Daze wasn't the only band you managed at the time, but was it the very first band that you started you career as a band manager with?
Jonathan is correct. I owned a seafood restaurant called "Whale and Ale". Jonathan and Sean Dowdell were both servers. I've always been a big music fan, and I play guitar. When they told me they were in a band, and asked me to come to a show, I decided to check them out. I was about 15 years older than these guys, and had not been to a small club for several years, but I didn't expect much. I was amazed at how good they were and I knew right away that Chester was a star. But I also like the style of music they were playing.
I went to a few more shows, and the band asked me to be their manager. Now, they weren't really making any money, so being the manager here really meant that I invested in the band. They each pitched in to support the rehearsal space, but I took care of everything else. What money we did get paid at shows went back into supporting several projects. I had a line of merchandise including tee shirts, posters, bandannas, etc.
Shortly after, we went into a local recording studio and started work on Wake Me. I financed the recording sessions and CD printing. I was able to get the CD in all the local record stores, and we got a little air play on a local radio station. Attendance at our shows began to grow, and we started getting noticed at least in Phoenix.
We now drew the attention of an independent record company, Real Records. They wanted to sign us. I decided to hire an entertainment attorney, to help review the contract. After several interviews, we selected Scott Harrington, who was based in Los Angeles.
Before we could really do anything with Real Records, they basically ran out of money, and we really didn't get anything from the relationship, other than a new relationship with Scott.
Anyway, the band's reputation was growing, and we continued to see bigger shows. The owners of the Electric Ballroom were fans, and we played there a lot. There was a local Recording Conservatory school that offered to record our next album if the teacher and students could produce the album. So Mike Jones (teacher) produced No Sun Today, while his students served as recording engineers.
The album was a huge success, scoring a local radio hit with "B-12". We were now drawing up to 1,500 people to a show at the Electric Ballroom.
> Q: So was Rob Rogers somehow involved at some point and, if so, what was his part at managing the band?
Rob Rogers was the manager of Lemon Krayola, another local band that has some notoriety. He really wasn't involved with Grey Daze, although he did introduce me to some club owners, recording studio people, and just helped me to "learn the ropes".
> Q: Were you working with them until the day the band broke up? According to Mace, the band broke up right after some unsuccessful showcase gig @ Coconut Teaszer in LA.
I guess the break up was too personal for the band members, so I'm not asking you about that, but I'd like to ask you about your personal feelings when it all happened and what did you do after that and what are you up to these days.
We did a small tour into Southern California, including a fantastic show at the Whiskey a Go Go on the Sunset Strip. Although we had other record companies looking at us, nobody came forward. After that tour, the band was at a crossroads. It really didn't seem like continuing forward made sense unless we could move to the next level. I had invested over $10,000 in the band.
Scott Harrington called about this time, and asked if it was possible to approach Chester about another project. While, I didn't really want the band to potentially break up, I felt that I owed Chester the news. That other project was looking for a singer. It was something new. Rap-rock. The project was called Hybrid Theory. Obviously, I told Chester and he decided to pursue it. The rest of the band was mad at me, and fired me. I understood. But I'm still friends with everyone. I spoke at Bobby Benish's funeral. Sean Dowdell is one of my best friends to this day. I still talk to Mace occasionally. I've lost touch with the original members, Jonathan and Jason.
About six months later, Chester called to say his new band was playing a show at the Big Fish Pub in Tempe. So, the first time I saw Hybrid Theory was in a small club in front of about 50 people. They were amazing. I knew then that they were destined for big things. Their first album was incredible. The rest is history. I still see Chester occasionally when he is in town. I did manage a few other bands for a short period of time, but nothing was as good as Grey Daze. So, I'm no longer in the business.
The band did a few shows after they fired me, but it was all over pretty quickly. Chester may have played a few more shows out of loyalty, but shortly thereafter, he and his wife at the time, Samantha moved to L.A. to pursue Hybrid Theory.
I really enjoyed my time managing Grey Daze. Using that experience, I have written two books (more on the way) about a fictional blues rock musician I've named Lenny Clapton. I talk about the music industry a lot in the books, and much of it comes from my time managing the band. From the first time I saw him on stage, I knew that Chester was a star. It's nice to think that I had a little something to do with helping him achieve his dream.
> Q: You mentioned Whisky A Go Go show being fantastic. What exactly made it so memorable for you?
It's a fantastic - very famous venue, and they have a killer sound system. There was 3-400 people at the show and they really got into the band. When they did "Anything, Anything", the place went nuts. The sound guy thought it was better than the original version. I just remember it being a particularly good show.
> Q: Speaking of specific shows, what do you think was the biggest band Grey Daze opened for and the overall biggest show the band played?
We did a big NY's Eve show opening for Vince Neil, when he was doing a solo tour. We also opened for Seven Mary Three. I'm drawing a blank on other bands at the moment. The biggest show I remember producing was a show that we headlined at the Electric Ballroom where we had 1,500 paying customers. It was shortly after the release of No Sun Today.
> Q: Chester once said that he was asked to front Michael Schenker Group around the time that he was in Grey Daze or shortly after that...
Maybe. We did a free Earth Day show at the big outdoor amphitheater in Phoenix that he headlined. The show was a bust - only about 300 people showed up, but I'm sure he got a chance to see the band. But nobody ever mentioned it to me.
> Q: Can you tell me if the band really won the award for Best Local Band two years in a row, as we believe? This fact is mentioned a lot, but no one was ever able to figure out any further details. I believe someone once said it was Phoenix New Times Music Awards, but there's nothing about the band on their site or its archived version from that time.
I remember one battle of the bands type show that Grey Daze won. But I don't remember who the sponsor was. As far as "best local band", I don't remember anything like that specifically.
>Q: Do you happen to still have any photos of the band?
I have a photo of the later version of the band that I have framed in my office with the 2 CDs.
The album cover for No Sun Today features Kerry's daughter Jessica Rose. Artwork (layouts and graphics) for both albums was done by Jason Barnes, even though he wasn't in the band by the time No Sun Today was released.
Sometime between the time that Grey Daze had started to lose faith in their future and the day Chester got an offer to join what became Linkin Park, he also auditioned for a local ska band called Kongo Shock.
Jimmy Boom (ex-Kongo Shock, The Phenomenauts): So Kongo Shock's lead singer was being deported back to Canada. We tried out quite a few people to fill his shoes. Grey Daze had just broken up, and their practice studio was located in the same complex. I also went to High School with their drummer. We had always been friends with them, but were miles apart in styles. Chester (with his 2 foot, stringy, blond dread locks) tried out and was the one that we eventually chose, but he was also very persuasive. He threw a BBQ at his house after the second tryout as a way to really shake us up.
A few weeks later some personal problems with a couple of remaining members of Kongo Shock led us to call it all off. We never really told him that he was our pick. We just said "Sorry, we broke up".
There is a Rolling Stone interview with him that sort of goes into his state of mind when this happened, but they don't mention Kongo Shock, they just say that he didn't get the gig with us and after that he really wanted to quit music all together. I think his girlfriend at the time got him to keep going on and to eventually do an audition in LA for what became Linkin Park.
In May 2015, Phoenix New Times posted an interview with Bob Noxious and Barton Applewhite of Kongo Shock and here's what they had to say:
Kongo Shock had another brush with infamy when lead singer and trumpet player Dave "Ice Cold" Neil quit the band to move back to Canada. The band decided to add two horn players and get a new dedicated lead singer. The singer it wound up taking on was the former lead singer of Grey Daze, Chester Bennington. Ever heard of him?
Noxious laughs at the idea of it. "And I was the guy who made him mad enough to quit! We had a meeting at the George and Dragon with Chester. And we wanted him to sing the songs off our record more like the singer we'd had so we could keep our same fan base. And we told him any of the new stuff, you do it like you do it because we like what you do. I handed him a few CDs of some more traditional stuff like The Skatalites and Desmond Dekker, and he just didn't care for that; he was more of reggae background. In some interview, he said something to the effect of 'after a particularly bad band meeting, I decided to go to Los Angeles.' But he didn't mention us.
A Word From Dave Sardegna
Dave: My name is Dave Sardegna. I played bass after Mace Beyers left. If I remember correctly, Grey Daze was band of the year in Phoenix 2 years in a row which was why I auditioned for the band.
Once I joined Grey Daze we kept the name for about 6 months then changed it to Waterface with all new material written by myself, Jodi Wendt (singer) and original GD members Bobby Benish (guitar) and Sean Dowdell (drums). Setlists were basically the No Sun Today record. "The Down Syndrome" and "Anything Anything", of course. Also did "The Metro" by Berlin since we now had a female singer.
Sean Dowdell: When I tried to keep Grey Daze together after Chester and I split we called it Grey Daze for less than 2 months and never played a show with Dave under Grey Daze.
> Q to Sean: Does it mean that Dave's words are incorrect or the band actually performed all of these under Waterface?
Yes, we never performed under Grey Daze.
EDIT: In June of 2016, I had an opportunity to briefly chat with Jodi Wendt and it turned out the band did play at least five shows as Grey Daze. She told me: "We did play at least 2 shows as Grey Daze before changing the name to Waterface - Big Fish Pub in Tempe, which was my first performance ever in a band, and at Jackson's on 3rd in Phoenix. We dressed up as members from KISS", and also sent me a photo of the ad for that Jackson's On 3rd show she mentioned. Since then, we are listing all of the band's October 1998 shows as "Grey Daze Shows featuring Jodi Wendth". There are four of them, but since none of them took place in Big Fish Pub, it looks like we're currently missing at least one.
Thanks to Dave, here's the Waterface label promo photo of the later lineup signed by the band members:
Now, Dave and Jodi own Oz Tattoo and are playing in a band called A Distortion Named Melody.
> Q to Dave: Do you happen to have any Grey Daze live recordings?
I used to have a copy of a show with Chester at the Fenders Ballroom, but have since misplaced it.
It was at the Fenders Ballroom in Tempe, Arizona. The venue was referred to as "the Ballroom".
Back then Chester had dreadlocks and quite honestly his whole stage persona was very, very resemblant to Jonathan Davis of Korn.
His body English on stage is definitely more his own now.
According to Electric Ballroom's owner Jim Torgeson, Dave is definitely talking about Fender Showcase Room @ Electric Ballroom. It was a smaller concert room in the venue that, according to Sean, the band played on very rare occasions. The reason for this confusion is likely the fact that the backdrop behind the Fender Showcase Room's scene says "Fender" and it was obviously seen during the video.
Another local band from Glendale, AZ called Purity In Black performing at Fender Showcase Room @ Electric Ballroom.
A Word From Jay Kereny of Lemon Krayola
Ever since I found out about Grey Daze/Lemon Krayola connection through David Knauer and Robert Rogers along with the fact that Mindy of Lemon Krayola demoed & performed "Shouting Out" live with the band, I started thinking there's got to be more of what the two bands had to do with each other, so I contacted Lemon Krayola's vocalist/guitarist Jay Kereny to directly ask him about it.
Jay Kereny: Yes, our two bands were together a lot. You could call it a brotherhood.
> Q: How did you first meet the band and what exactly connects the two bands aside from the facts I mentioned?
My Brother John and I started Lemon Krayola and produced many acts. Lemon Krayola and Grey Daze were both large drawing bands. I would consider us both pioneers of the local scene in the 90's, however in the media shadows of the Tempe music scene. We also rehearsed next door from each other, hung out together, toured together and generally supported each other. Along with ska band Kongo Shock which Chester tried out for later on. Then Chester got a call about auditioning for then Hybrid Theory. My band at the time "Size 5" which was my brother, John and I from Lemon Krayola, Bart Applewhite from Kongo Shock and Chuck Moore.
I produced Chester and we videotaped audition, then I moved to LA with Chester where I auditioned for LP for Bass, and lived with Chester. I own a record label now.
Interestingly enough, Lemon Krayola also happened to be the opening band for Stone Temple Pilots' second ever gig in Arizona that took place in Mason Jar in November 1992.
Jay: This process started with the break up of both Grey Daze and Lemon Krayola. Later Chester would tell me that he was hoping that my brother and I would join up with him and start a band. That didn't happen. Instead John and I were approached by a manager and producer to write and produce a record under the name "Size 5". I was producing this project when Chester got a call from Hybrid Theory by way of Jeff Blue by way of Grey Daze attorney, I think. Anyway, Chester called me and asked me if I would help with he tracks they sent him. My brother John, bassist, Bart Applewhite and I learned the songs, I helped him with melodies and such and videotaped the session. Chester later told me he was accepted in the band and was moving out to LA. He asked me to come out and room with him, and that there may be some opportunities for a temporary bass position etc. So we moved to LA, I lived with Chester and his now ex-wife Samantha. We lived in an apartment in Brentwood. The band started writing and then shopping labels. I was able to attend all showcases, from many labels including Warner Bros. Warner Bros had an artist named Hybrid so they chose Linkin Park spelled that was because web domain wasn't avail for Lincoln. I believe it was after a park near our apt in Santa Monica, but I could be wrong. Anyway, Chester's then wife had an emergency surgery situation and Chester was faced with canceling one of the most important tour of his career after recently going Gold. I offered to take off work and nurse Samantha back to heath while Chester continued touring. I decided to return back to Phoenix after a couple years to start a family and my own publishing/record label Virtus Records.
> Q: Speaking of you producing Chester's audition session, as far as we knew, the band sent him the tape with 4 songs on one side and the instrumental versions of the same songs on the other. To this day we assumed he just recorded his voice over the instrumentals. Now that you said that you, John and Bart had to learn the songs, it seems like there was also a recording of the same songs being performed live in studio? Am I getting it right?
Yes, there was a live version played by us and recorded on VHS. Now I am not sure what was submitted, our version may have been a pre production to get his parts right, then I think he went and tracked it over music bed and submitted that. But I certainly helped him get his parts written.
> Q: Did any of the songs you helped Chester with make their album?
I think so, but honestly don't remember what songs we worked on. I've been trying to track down that VHS tape.
So, as you can see, the fact that the most of us knew simply as "Chester recorded his vocals over the tape" really had a much bigger story and amount of work behind it. Chester actually had to make it professionally all the way through the process: he got himself a producer, wrote some new parts/lyrics around existing songs on the tape, rehearsed them with a band to tight them up and then entered a professional recording studio at Conservatory Of Recording Arts & Sciences to record the demo. Chester once said he had to pay $100 per hour for studio time, so he obviously had to be as prepared as possible once he entered it. Anyway, he spent a few hours in the studio recording, mastering and mixing his vocals with Ghery Fimbres. As we know it was all done in a matter of days around his 23rd birthday in March 1999. Then he called up Jeff Blue to let him know that he was finished with the demo. Jeff couldn't believe that he was done with it so fast, because it usually took months to receive demo recordings from the other people that were trying out for the band at the time, so Chester had to play it to him over phone to convince him that he's not joking.
Ghery Fimbres: From what I recall, Grey Daze had broken up, and out of nowhere I received a call from my partner, Mike Jones. We were both heavily involved with No Sun Today. Chester had reached out to him about wanting to do a quick demo for an upcoming project called Hybrid Theory. It was late on a Sunday evening. I met Chester at the studio, and he handed me a cassette. I transferred the cassette to 24-track-2 inch-tape, cleaning it up as much as possible. I set up a Neumann U-87, a pop filter, a headphone rig, and got to recording. We spent about 3 hours in the studio that night. The final audition tape was committed to DAT, and I burned a CD for him. Being that it was so long ago, I can't recall the name of the songs that he recorded vocals against. Chester was always pleasant, and I remember shaking hands with him at the end of the session, and wishing him luck.
Many months later, a friend of mine said they had gone out to see a band from Los Angeles, and that the singer had said to say hi to me. My friend couldn't remember the name of the singer, but remembered the name of the band: Hybrid Theory. I had no clue who he was talking about until I heard Linkin Park's record, Hybrid Theory. The rest is history. I smile that I played a tiny part in his success, and wish Chester many more years of even larger successes.
About Bobby Benish, guitarist (1995-1998)
According to Mace Beyers, sometime in 2002, Bobby Benish was recording new guitar tracks for some songs. Around that time he had a seizure while driving, blacked out and totaled his truck. In the hospital, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. According to Mace, Warner Bros wanted to release the guitar tracks in some way and kind of promote it with Linkin Park, and also hold and organize a benefit show for Bobby since he was having trouble paying his medical bills.
A show was scheduled for September 7, 2002 at the Dodge Theater in Phoenix, Arizona with several other bands.
On August 28, 2002, Chester was forced to cancel the benefit show because the record label had summoned Linkin Park back to the studio with Don Gilmore to record their next album Meteora. LinkinPark.com stated it was canceled due to unavoidable time constraints of recording the next Linkin Park album. Chester issued a statement saying, "It's very unfortunate that we are having to postpone this concert but our management has pulled everyone back from vacations and various activities in order to meet our recording obligations. However I will continue to help Bobby and his family at this very difficult time."
The benefit show was never rescheduled. Unfortunately, Bobby passed away in September 2004. Visit Bobby's online memorial.
It is unclear what exactly the mentioned guitar tracks were initially for, but my personal guess would be that it had something to do with the planned No Sun Today re-release.
The re-tracking for the this re-release was done by Michael Beck at his own studio called SoundVision that was co-owned by Sean Dowdell for some period as well. The entire record was remastered, remixed and ready to go, but was ultimately blocked from public release due to legal problems. However, in 2007 LPAssociation was able to obtain the majority of remastered tracks from Sean and post them for download, but, unfortunately, didn't receive the songs "Saturation", "Soul Song" and the hidden acoustic version of "The Down Syndrome" from him, because he was eventually stopped from releasing them at the last minute.
> Q to Mace: Were you going to perform on that Grey Daze reunion show?
Yes, I was invited. Chester flew me out to California, I stayed with him for a few weeks and the show got canceled. I believe it was the label's bullshit that cause that cancelation. They also block the re-release of "No Sun Today".
According to Sean, the guitarist for the event was going to be Jason Barnes and there were no rehearsals before the show got canceled.
List of bands Grey Daze played shows with (to the best of our knowledge): [updated 2017.04.17]
- Able Cain
- Aces & Eights
- Agnes Gooch
- Authority Zero
- Aventin Hill
- Bandit Queen
- Bionic Jive
- Blue Healer
- Caroline's Spine
- Chindo Squad
- Chronic Future
- Clock People
- Crash Wagon
- Crooked Alibi
- Dead City Love
- Dislocated Styles
- Dread Zeppelin
- Echo Chamber
- Elliot's Lochness
- Eric Hates Everything
- Explicit Noise
- Felony Blues
- Fine China
- Flutter Kill
- Fred Green
- Freud's Mom
- Freudian Slip
- Gemini Lounge
- Gilby Clarke
- Glass Bottom
- God Lives Underwater
- GPT Restraint
- Honey Bucket
- Huckele Bones
- Idly Rove
- Jan Zero
- Jesus Chrysler Supercar
- Jimmy Eat World
- Jimmy Rig
- Jones Fracture
- Just Because
- Kicking Harold
- Kidd Nasty
- Lemon Angst
- Lemon Krayola
- Les Payne Project
- Liquid Fate
- Love Not Human
- Lucy's Fur Coat
- Lynch Mob
- Mean The Child
- Michael Schenker Group
- Mission G
- Monkey Boy
- Morphine Mary
- Mr. Pink
- Necessary Enemy
- No Doubt
- Nuclear Opie
- Phunk Junkeez
- Plaster Fish
- Posted Green
- Poster Children
- Postvale Road
- Powerman 5000
- Puzzle Gut
- Rebel Soul
- Reuben's Accomplice
- Rosemary Silence
- Rub Cleo
- Secular End
- Seven Mary Three
- Shaded Grey
- Side Effect
- Sister Machine Gun
- Suicidal Tendencies
- The Claymore
- The Hunger
- The Refreshments
- The Robies
- The Slims
- The Surf Ballistics
- Tripping With Grace
- Twelve Inch Waste
- Type O Negative
- Van Gogh's Daughter
- Velvet Blue
- Vince Neil
- VooDoo Scream
- We Drink Rain
- Wicked Season
- Witz End
- Yoko Love
- Zig Zag Black