Papa Roach Drummer Was ‘Shocked’ by Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell’s Deaths

Story by Cat Badra, photo by Anne Erickson

The last thing Papa Roach drummer Tony Palermo ever expected was to lose musical greats Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington this year. In fact, he had just spent time with both Cornell and Bennington shortly before their deaths. That said, Palermo was “shocked” by the loss of the two musicians, and the whole experience certainly impacted him.

Speaking with SpazioRock, Palermo commented on Bennington’s death, saying, “It was really shocking — (and it happened) just not that long after Chris Cornell died. We actually played a show with Soundgarden a week before (Chris) passed away. And that was just like, ‘Wait! What?’ I was shocked. And then, I remember I was at home… I wake up in the morning and get coffee and read my computer news instead of a newspaper. And it was right there– Chester Bennington (had passed away). And I was, like, ‘What? What? No!’ ‘Cause we just had dinner with him a month before that.”

Palermo added that the bands were just “talking about the history of everybody and some killer stories, some funny stories, and he just seemed in such high spirits. And then I was shocked. Literally, it just… I was, like, ‘Uh… What?’ It literally took my breath away.”

Palermo went on to discuss the possibility that Cornell’s suicide is partly what drove Bennington back into depression.

“He was friends with Chris Cornell, and after Chris’s death, I think he must have been in shock from that,” Palermo said. “But just to, like, feel the pain… And I didn’t know Chris Cornell, but I love Soundgarden. Just to feel the pain of losing such an amazing artist, and knowing that Chester knew him, it was bizarre to me that he would just take his own life as well, knowing the pain that he must have felt losing a friend like that, and what he would, in turn, do.”

Publication date: December 2, 2017

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