In a brand new interview with "The Rich Eisen Show", ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist Jerry Cantrell was asked for his opinion on the passing of LINKIN PARK singer Chester Bennington, just two months after the suicide of SOUNDGARDEN frontman Chris Cornell.
"It's been a horrible year, and it's really unfortunate to have lost those guys," Cantrell said (see video below). "'Cause they were both great people, both very good friends and amazing talents. It still doesn't seem real."
Jerry, whose band lost its original singer, Layne Staley, to a drug overdose in 2002, added that Cornell and Bennington's families are "dealing" with the loss of their loved ones. "It's just an unexpected thing," he said. "And we've been through it personally, so we kind of know what that's all about. All you can really do is just let everybody know that you love 'em and be there for 'em. And also to remember them in a good light instead of bad moment. Because they had great lives and they were quality people.
"We had so many landmark moments in life together with Chris. And I didn't know Chester as well, but we've done a lot of charity work with he and his band's charity. It's really sad to see that sort of thing happen. You just try to be there for them and to be supportive."
Cantrell also stressed the importance of leaning on loved ones to stop yourself from feeling lonely and alone.
"I think everybody has dark thoughts," he said. "I think depression and addiction and many other issues, they're all linked. I have some of them myself. I'm an alcoholic as well, so I've dealt with a lot of those issues myself and we've lost a lot of friends and bandmates to that. But there are a lot of people that get through, that deal, and so, I guess, basically [we] are trying to reach out to them and also to be an example of 'you can walk through that.' Because a lot of people were there for us when we walked through our thing. So it's family, and it hurts, and I'm really gonna miss 'em."
After Cornell died in May, Bennington wrote a letter thanking him for inspiring him and hoping he would find peace in "the next life."
Chester died on July 20, which would have been Cornell's 53rd birthday.
The two singers bonded when they toured together nearly a decade ago.
For the past eight years, Cantrell and ALICE IN CHAINS bassist Mike Inez have hosted the Alice In Chains & Friends Fantasy Football League & Auction, donating a spectacular collection of signed musical instruments, memorabilia and experiences for an online auction to benefit organizations like Music For Relief and MusiCares. Proceeds from this year's auction will be split between a donation to MusiCares in Cornell's name and a donation to Music For Relief in Bennington's name.