Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley Was Asked if He’d Ever Consider Fronting Linkin Park
Will we ever get more music from Linkin Park after the 2017 death of Chester Bennington, and if so, what would that future look and sound like? These are questions that come up frequently, and given that the band's last show was a memorial tribute with some of rock's biggest names playing with the group to honor Chester, the question will likely persist if we've already seen a person who might step in with the band.
Sum 41's Deryck Whibley was one of the performers honoring Bennington on Oct. 27, 2017 and he's since played a Linkin Park song alongside Mike Shinoda at 2018's Reading Festival, so the question was posed to him by The Jasta Show host Jamey Jasta if he would ever consider playing with Linkin Park should they ever return.
The singer responded (as transcribed by Blabbermouth), "I think that's an impossible task; I think those are impossible shoes to fill. I don't know if they're ever gonna do anything. I have no idea what that's gonna look like or who that could be."
Jasta in turn suggested that Whibley could be a good vocal fit, to which the musician stated, "I'll take that compliment. I don't know if I could do that. I don't know if I agree with you on that."
When asked further if it's something he would consider, Whibley offered, "That is such a non-possibility that it's too weird to even, like, sort of 'joke think' about it. [Laughs] I don't know. I don't know how someone could fill those shoes. I think it would be tough."
During the 2017 tribute show, Whibley and Sum 41 drummer Frank Zummo, along with Jon Green, joined Linkin Park onstage to perform "The Catalyst." A year later, Sum 41 were scheduled to perform at the 2018 Reading Festival and welcomed Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda to the stage to cover Linkin Park's "Faint." (as seen below).
In a throwback post on Instagram earlier this year, Whibley reflected on that pairing with Shinoda, giving some behind-the-scenes perspective of how it came together. "We had only decided to perform this song together about a week before the show. We had no rehearsal whatsoever. On the day of the show we (@sum41) were stuck at customs coming into the U.K. and it didn’t look like we were even going to make it to the show. After hours of waiting we were finally cleared and had to try and make our way through all the concert traffic which ended up getting us to the festival 45 minutes before our show time," recalled Whibley.
"We quickly said hello to @m_Shinoda outside of our tour bus, confirmed we were still going to perform together, spoke very briefly about how the arrangement would go and then scrambled to get ready for our set," says Whibley of the hastily organized collaboration.
"It was such a blast to perform this song, (which is one my favorites) but also nerve racking at the same time. With no rehearsal and only practicing in a hotel room by myself a few nights before the show, all I wanted to do was to come in with the utmost respect and try my best to honor the music, Chester, Mike, @linkinpark band members and the LP family. No one will ever come close to @Chesterbe and that’s not what it was about for any of us. It was purely just about the love of the music. As you can see by the smiles on all of our faces we were having so much fun!"
Linkin Park have not performed together since the 2017 tribute concert held for Bennington at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. In the time since, co-vocalist Mike Shinoda has turned his focus to solo efforts as well as producing and collaborating with other artists. Over the weekend, Shinoda won a Grammy for Best Remixed Recording for his work on Deftones' song "The Passenger."
Last October, Shinoda was questioned about Linkin Park's future and shot down the idea of ever performing with a hologram of Bennington. "Negative a million percent," stated Shinoda when the idea was posed, “I hate the idea of doing a Linkin Park hologram thing. It’s awful.”
He would later add in the same Tuna on Toast With Stryker interview, "Now is not the time [for the band's return]. We don’t have the focus on it. We don’t have the math worked out. And I don’t mean that by financially math, I mean that like emotional and creative math."
He continued, “Our bar for like, the threshold for what would be acceptable is high. Just like always. For our band, anything that we do, it’s like it’s gotta be, it’s gotta clear a certain bar. So there’s no, nothing has cleared the bar.”