Grey Daze: A Phoenix from the ashes.

Grey Daze will be touring the UK in May 2024 on their #ForYouChester tour. We were able to sit down with Sean Dowdell and new vocalist, Chris Hodges, to discuss their thoughts on touring, Chester’s legacy and the new direction for Grey Daze.


Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, grunge rockers Grey Daze was started in 1993 by drummer, Sean Dowdell and Chester Bennington. Chester left Grey Daze in 1998 to join Linkin Park and established himself as one of metal’s iconic vocalists over the next 20 years. In 2017 Chester had plans to reunite with his former bandmates and release new music under the Grey Daze name, sadly, before this could happen he took his own life. 

Grey Daze honored Chester’s legacy by remastering their previous 90s album releases, Wake Me and …No Sun Today, and releasing them as Amends (2020) and The Phoenix (2022). These albums featured Chester’s restored vocals and collaborations with several musicians who were friends of Chester such as Marcos Curiel (P.O.D), Brian Welch (Korn) and Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction).

The “For You” Chester Tour in the UK, can you tell me a little bit about it?

Chris: We’re coming to the UK for the very first time, playing music that has never been played before – from Phoenix, from Amends, from Stripped. We also have something special for the UK audience, we have been working on new music, and we think we’re going to give a bit of a teaser in the UK on what we’ve been doing this. So this is a special thing, a lot of firsts, and there’s a lot of excitement around this tour.

As a legacy project, how do you plan to pivot from honouring Chester to forge out on your own?

Sean: It’s always going to be a part of who we are, Chester is always going to be a part of Grey Daze. Even though he’s not here physically with us, he’ll be with us on stage. We’ve kept very special, intimate moments involving Chester in our backing tracks with us. He’ll always be on stage and a part of Grey Daze when we’re playing live. The new rendition of Grey Daze, the new skin of Grey Daze with Chris as the frontman is a fun thing to see culminate. It’s been in the works for a couple of years and Chris is really coming into his own and is helping the band grow in a new and different direction.

Chris, how is it for you to step into such legendary shoes?

C: I don’t take it lightly. The shoes that I had to fill and have to fill, I’ll never be able to fill them, Chester left a legacy that keeps growing to this day and continues to grow. It’s a balancing act of making sure that I’m paying respects to the legacy that has been, but also honoring the fans by doing this live and hopefully doing it justice and writing new music and touring and respecting both eras. I take it very personally.

It’s always going to be a part of who we are, Chester is always going to be a part of Grey Daze. Even though he’s not here physically with us, he’ll be with us on stage.

What would you say Chester’s legacy in metal/rock is?

S: Clearly his biggest piece of his legacy is his time with Linkin Park. Those guys had this massive impact on rock music since 2000. Chester’s had the ability to connect with people and make them feel like they weren’t alone with whatever sadness or pain they were dealing with, and he made them understand that there was an outlet for that pain. He had the ability for the listener to hear him sing and say “Thats it, that’s exactly how I feel, he’s describing it”. He had that ability to connect with a listener that way and I don’t think a lot of singers had done that. That’s what made him so special.

It’s interesting to hear you talk about him as a person, as Linkin Park released 'Friendly Fire’ today and fan reaction to the video has been talking about Chester’s presence being missed.

S: He was one of my best friends. I didn’t think of him as Chester from Linkin Park, he was Chester my little brother. I have a very different perspective than a fan does.

Do you think there are some fans who do want to just see him as Linkin Park even though he was involved in a lot of other projects?

S: I think that there’s always going to be a contingent of people who have compartmentalized others and they only want to see them in that way. There’s nothing we can do about that, it’s like arguing with a brick wall. You don’t want to hear what we’ve done, then don’t come and see it. We’d rather spend our time on the 99.9% of people who love what we’re doing and focus on their energies. Of course Chester was more than what he did with Linkin Park, Chester did a lot of other projects and some of those projects were fantastic, with Grey Daze being one of those. He was an immensely talented human who was able to go and do several other things and do them well.

Grey Daze in 1995

To go back to Grey Daze, Amends retained a lot of the grunge sound, Phoenix is more alt-rock. The new sound, what can fans expect to hear?

C: That’s a good question. When we got into the room together, you know how music is written these days, people don’t even have to be in the same room together – that’s how I’ve been writing music for the past decade. This was the first time in 10 years that I was in a room writing new music together and it just so happened to be the legacy of Grey Daze. The interesting part about it was the music that came out of the studio over the past few months has been some of the most energetic music that I’ve ever heard Grey Daze do. I was very pleasantly surprised because it’s still GD, there’s a huge element of GD but it’s like this new wave, new energy, lots of energy. I think everyone is going to really enjoy this new music, it’s insane.

For the UK tour, what are you expecting the energy of the crowd to be?

C: – If the energy is the same as what we’ve been experiencing online, I’m expecting a crazy time, I’m expecting a good time. These venues are very intimate, and I think that’s done on purpose. I enjoy the intimate settings, I want to be able to connect with people on a personal level. I think that’s, collectively, that’s our job – to connect with everybody and to have this experience together. If I don’t walk out of these venues with some bumps and bruises, I want to get out there with the people, if I don’t walk out with some bumps and bruises, I don’t think I’ve done my job.

Are there any UK cities in particular you’re looking forward to playing?

C: – Manchester, I heard about the Manchester folks. The crazier, the better. At the end of this tour, I’m gonna rate everybody and see how crazy everybody got.

Is there any more touring planned for the future? Anything for Europe you can talk about?

S: – We start off this leg with a cruise coming out of Germany before we get to the UK, then we’re looking at some stuff maybe in Portugal, France, and Italy next year. We would love to have some more dates in Europe, some more festivals of course. We’re looking to do as much as we can over there.

You talked about the connection to the crowd. Do you prefer the studio or live?

C: – I’m gonna cheat. The studio is great because you get to perfect it, but the live show is equal parts nerve-wracking but if it goes well then it was the best experience ever. Playing live, you can literally have the worst experience of the best experience. I think that’s the interesting thing about playing live, you just don’t know. You don’t know what’s going to happen, you can’t predict the future. Man, there’s a lot of nerves that go into playing live music but for me nothing replaces live.

There’s a lot more social media involvement now, bands speaking to fans but also fans speaking to bands. How do you feel about that increased ability of fans to connect directly with bands?

C: – I think it’s important, massively important. Chester had a lot of projects, Stone Temple Pilots, he did so many things. What he did with GD was extremely special, and I’m not sure if, if we weren’t in this social media, this digital media age, I don’t think we would be in the position we’re in right now. The fans are dictating this, we had no intention to insert ourselves where we don’t need to be. This is a legacy project that has to be respectful, so every step that we’ve taken we look to the fans, we look to social media, sometimes that doesn’t feel good, but most of the time that’s overwhelmingly positive. So we’re moving as the fans want us to move, and we’re engaging with everyone on social media and I think that’s a good barometer of whether we’re moving in the right direction.

Man, there’s a lot of nerves that go into playing live music but for me nothing replaces live.

Is it sometimes difficult when you have to deal with people making cynical comments?

C: – Of course, this is a sensitive project, and we’re doing a sensitive thing, and I’m in a sensitive role – that comes with the territory. I’m not offended by it. I appreciate people’s perspectives whether they’re good or bad and just roll with it.

We’re in a new phase of GD now with Chris as the frontman, and we’re in a rebirth mode where it feels fresh, new and exciting. There’s a new voice and a new perspective in the band.

S: – I initially would get really offended when there were naysayers but then, you know, I had to come to the realization that for every little kid in the basement that was talking shit online there was 1000 people that loved what we were doing and had to change my attitude from wanting to smack the shit out of some little punk for running his mouth to focus my energy on the 1000s of people that loved what we were doing. I try to focus my energy in that direction now and not worry about the people who don’t like what we’re doing because you’re never going to make them happy. Focus on the ones who do like you.

Amends was an emotional period and Phoenix is a celebration, is that the mindset you’re still in now?

S: – I think we’ve done good by Chester, we’ve done good by the way we honored him and curated those albums. We’re in a new phase of GD now with Chris as the frontman, and we’re in a rebirth mode where it feels fresh, new and exciting. There’s a new voice and a new perspective in the band. What we did with Chester was amazing, and we’ll never take that for granted, but we want to try and grow with the band and have new music, and the only way to do that is to shed our skin and become something new. Chris gives us that opportunity to do that.

Interview by Christian Gould

Grey Daze in the UK

Guys from Gray Daze will come to the UK in May for the very first time, with 6 special concerts. You can’t miss these dates!

  • UK TOUR 2024
  • Sun 12th May BRISTOL Thekla
  • Tue 14th May NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
  • Wed 15th May GLASGOW Cathouse
  • Thu 16th May MANCHESTER Rebellion
  • Fri 17th May WOLVERHAMPTON KK’s Steel Mill
  • Sat 18th May LONDON The Garage

Tickets and info:

Read more: Skindred with guests did a phenomenal show in Birmingham! Check our pictures.

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