Chester Bennington's First Band: Inside Grey Daze's New Acoustic EP, Track by Track | Revolver

Chester Bennington's First Band: Inside Grey Daze's New Acoustic EP, Track by Track

Drummer Sean Dowdell tells emotional stories behind late singer's performances
grey daze chester bennington NINETIES, Grey Daze
courtesy of Grey Daze

Revolver has teamed with Grey Daze for an exclusive limited-edition clear vinyl variant of their new acoustic EP Amends … Stripped. It's limited to 350 — order yours now!

Before Chester Bennington became a global phenomenon with Linkin Park, the late singer got his start as a member of Grey Daze — a Phoenix-based outfit that released a pair of albums in the Nineties before calling it quits.

Grey Daze got a second chance in 2017, when Bennington regrouped with drummer Sean Dowdell and bassist Mace Beyers with plans to rework and re-record their old material. Unfortunately, Grey Daze never got the chance to fulfill their vision as Bennington would tragically pass later that same year.

In 2020, Grey Daze's surviving members released Amends, an 11-song album (created with the blessing of the Bennington family) that included Bennington's original vocals on top of completely reworked instrumental tracks. The album also featured guest spots from members of Helmet, Korn and more.

This year (on January 29th) Grey Daze debuted Amends … Stripped. The new five-song EP presents stripped-down, acoustic versions of Amends cuts "Shouting Out," "Sometimes," "Soul Song" and "What's in the Eye" and "The Syndrome." Each song boasts completely new instrumentation and every song except "The Syndrome" showcases different takes of Chester's original vocals.

"One of the more interesting things about working with such a great singer like Chester, is the more you take away from his surroundings, the more you get to appreciate and hear all of the subtle nuances of his voice," says Dowdell. "He was a very special vocalist with an amazing writing ability, and it was very meaningful for us to use these different vocal performances …"

Below, Dowdell tells us the stories behind each track on Amends … Stripped.

"Shouting Out"

We had two different vocal performances from Chester on the original [1994] Wake Me album, one which was faster and more rock and another that was slower and lent itself to an acoustic version of this song. We scaled everything back and tried to emphasize Chester's vocals in a different light. This is [guitarist] Cristin [Davis'] favorite track on Stripped. This track feels like an apology from Chester and is very emotional for all of us. 


Easily my favorite song on this EP. Hearing Chester stripped down gives me chills every time I listen to this song. This is one of the few Grey Daze songs about "hope." It is meant to be uplifting lyrics that give the listener a chance to see the bright side in a bad situation. We love how emotional this track is and the strings lend themselves beautifully to Chester's voice. Mace delivers one of the coolest bridges on the album utilizing a 12-string bass that producer Billy Bush brought to the session and it sounds so unique. 

"Soul Song"

One of the strongest lyrics ever written by Chester, that shows a spiritual side to the vocalist. He seems as if he is singing from the beyond to us every time we listen to this track. It is simply awe inspiring and makes us miss him even more. It is a great reminder that although Chester is gone from our physical world, he is still waiting for us on the other side. Cristin does an amazing guitar performance on this track. 

"What's in the Eye"

Our first single on Amends and one of the oldest songs from our catalog, this song was written by Chester and myself. The lyrics were meant to pay homage to one of Chester's friends who had passed away in a car accident several days before the song was written. The lyrics — "Don't go too fast my friend, or you'll lose control" — are a sad reminder of losing people we cared about too early in life. 

"The Syndrome"

This was recorded in its entirety in 1997 with original guitarist Bobby Benish on a 12-string guitar, Mace Beyers on 12-string guitar, myself on piano and Chester on vocals. The band literally was in the middle of recording their second album [1997's …No Sun Today] when we decided to just play this version of "The Syndrome" together. It was mixed live straight to two-track and left in its complete original format. Chester gives a haunting performance of this song. This one in particular touches a nerve for me when I hear it, it brings back a great memory of the original recording session and pays a nice homage to Bobby [who died of brain cancer in 2004] in keeping his performance on the track.