Demos (Out Of Ashes Demo CD)
|Demo album by Chester Bennington|
|Label||Warner Bros. Records|
|Dead By Sunrise chronology|
Demos is a watermarked CD of Chester Bennington/Dead By Sunrise rough demos. The disc was discovered in January 2018 and its content was released by fan sites LPLive and LinkinPark:br on March 20, 2018 in celebration of Chester Bennington's 42nd birthday.
Chester Bennington met Ryan Shuck and Amir Derakh when Orgy were working on their second record, Vapor Transmission, at NRG Recording Studios, the same studio Linkin Park was recording Hybrid Theory, and they immediately became best friends. After Linkin Park finished promoting and touring for Meteora, Chester started writing new songs and Ryan would always go to his house and hear them being played by Chester on acoustic guitar, thinking they were really good. Ryan then pushed Chester to convince his bandmates that those weren't Linkin Park songs and Chester started planning a solo album where he would play everything except for drums. Around the same time, Chester was teaching and coaching Ryan to sing in Julien-K and became so excited with what they were creating that he wanted to join the band, but they thought it would be better to work on a new project together instead. The new project was born one day in the studio when Ryan and Amir started playing with the guitar tracks Chester had recorded for "Let Down" and took the song to a place he never imagined he wanted.
Towards the end of 2004, Dr. Henry Nicholas III — Co-Founder and former Co-Chairman, President and CEO of Broadcom Corporation — a billionaire and prominent philanthropist, decided to create a music company called Level 7, having Chester and members of Julien-K as business partners. The objective behind the company was to create a new cutting edge, technology oriented business model that would change the way the music industry operates and would give the creative and financial control back to artists as explained by Chester: "I'm working on this company called Level 7 and our goal is to completely change the way the music industry is run. And I can't really--I wish I could tell you more about it, but I can't. My goal, I've accomplished everything I've ever wanted, more than I ever could have dreamed of accomplishing with Linkin Park, you know? And we do things that just blow my mind. But I want to contribute; I want to be known as someone who contributed in a positive way to everybody in the business, that helped to give artists control of their careers back. And put the power back into the hands of the fans and the hands of the artists, rather than in the hands of some fucking dude who doesn't even know how to write a song. I think the people who really make the business possible, the artists and the fans are the ones that are taken for granted the most. And I really want to try and help that, and try to change that, and hopefully with what we're doing with Level 7, we'll be able to accomplish that."
Level 7 had a recording studio in a mansion owned by Nicholas at 9 Telescope in Newport Coast where some of the Dead By Sunrise material was recorded. The plan was to release both Chester's solo record and Julien-K's debut album as Level 7's very first releases, however, around 2008 Nicholas was indicted for several fraud and drug charges and his subsequent extensive legal battles had seemingly prevented him from moving the project forward, causing a massive delay on the records seeing the light of day. Dead By Sunrise then seeked Warner Bros. Records to put out the record. Future Retrospective was a tentative title for the album before they decided on Out Of Ashes.
Writing and Recording
Chester started working on his solo album in 2005 when Linkin Park took a seven-month break. Back then the group was called Snow White Tan. According to Ryan Shuck, they completed the album, but had to put the project on hold when Linkin Park started working on Minutes To Midnight, delaying the release of Dead By Sunrise's debut album to sometime in 2008. He said some of the material already dated back to five or six years. "When I started writing the music for Dead By Sunrise, I felt like they were stylistically outside (the band's) box," Chester explained. He described the record saying, "We took Nineties rock, mixed it with Eighties pop like Depeche Mode, the Cure and Bauhaus and smashed them together. It's fuckin' driving beats and walls of guitars." Those early songs included "Morning After", "Walking In Circles" and "Let Down", which was performed live at the ReAct Now: Music & Relief show. While "Give Me Your Name" was also written around that time, Chester said it wasn't actually intended for the album as he wrote it for his wedding which took place in December 2005. The band changed their name to Dead By Sunrise in 2007.
It was only after Projekt Revolution 2008 that Chester went back to work on his solo record, while simultaneously working with Linkin Park on A Thousand Suns, for a 2009 release. Addressing previous statements that the album was finished, Ryan explained, "it COULD have been finished if we wanted to call it finished. But we just thought it could go further, so we revisited the songs and really focused on what we could do to ensure that this was a GREAT record. Chester is an extremely hard worker – and he keeps us all on our toes, and really focuses on excellence. He is also a pretty prolific writer, and he did have more ideas that he wanted to explore." Besides writing new songs, the band also enlisted the help of Howard Benson, who drastically changed its overall sound as explained by Ryan, "On the album, the guitars were definitely heavier – there was a bit more grip to the record before and I think the label, when they heard the songs, were like “this could be all over the radio” and they wanted us to polish it up and make it shimmery." Pre-production was done at Ryan's house, tracking at Bay 7 Studios and vocals at Bay 7 as well as Sunset Sound. Afterwards, the band moved to Sparky Dark Studio (Howard Benson's home studio) to listen and put the finishing touches to the album. As for their writing process, Ryan said, "The songs start with Chester usually on an acoustic guitar as a little vocal melody, but it’s really sparse. Occasionally they’re more complete songs, but a lot of times he has an idea and a really good melody and we just sort of record that and he’ll literally go work with Linkin Park then. And we’ll build the song and write it, do the parts and everything, he’ll come back and he’ll get excited and then he’ll sing more on it and then he’ll go back and work with Linkin Park." Despite doing double duty, Chester said he was involved with every aspect of making the album, from the songwriting to the programming to performing with various instruments. According to him, the name "Dead By Sunrise" was partly inspired by the fact that they did most of their work from 3 o'clock until about 3 or 4 in the morning.
The lyrics were described by Chester as being very poetic and visual. "When I was writing the lyrics for Out of Ashes, I tried to use sentences that were really visual and words that inspired people to see a moving picture in their heads. That way, listeners can really catch the vibe of what the music is about. In doing so, there's a more colorful flare to the lyrics. That also allows people to feel how dark a lot of the record is. I think the darker thing are, the more they make an impact on you. In terms of writing, I definitely went a little more poetic on this album than normal."
Songs that were originally written to deal with Chester's personal feelings about God (such as "Fire" and "Too Late") were changed lyrically because he felt some people get uncomfortable with this subject matter. "Condemned", "Inside Of Me" and the final version of "Fire" were conceived towards the end of those later sessions with Howard Benson, when Chester decided he would write "3 really great rock songs" and did so within 8 hours.
The exact date of the CD is hard to be determined because the band had worked on the songs for many years and the quality of the tracks vary a lot. With the exception of the "Morning After" remix (released on the Underworld Evolution soundtrack), none of the tracks are fully mastered or mixed, and some of them are very loud and brickwalled.
The tracks noticeably lack the changes imposed by the label, with the music being more guitar driven, especially on "Walking In Circles" and "Fadeaway", and a lot of the background vocals from the final versions being absent. "Walking In Circles", with different ending, and "My Suffering", with different lyrics and screamed verses, are the same versions performed live at Club Tattoo's 13th Anniversary in 2008. Twenty Eyes is also the same version performed live, being different from the original Misfits song, with new lyrics and a different structure towards the end. "Fire" was also still in its early form, before Chester decided to start over the song with different melodies and lyrical theme. The bridge from the final version was originally the chorus. Other notable difference in the CD is that the bridge in "Fadeaway" is repeated in place of the fourth verse. "Morning After" is the only demo not to have any lyrical differences.
Around June 2007, a picture posted on Julien-K's official website revealed a songboard with the titles of all the songs contained in this demo, with "In The Darkness" being the only song that made the album not featured in the CD. This, and the absence of songs from the later sessions, could mean the recordings date from 2005 up to sometime before mid-2007 while the CD itself dates to sometime after the Level 7 incident (as it features the Warner Bros. logo). It's also important to note that "Into You" already had its final title on the board, while it is listed as "Fadeaway" on the demo.
In early 2009, Mike Shinoda posted on his blog about Chester playing him 9 songs from Dead By Sunrise, but it's unknown if that was the same CD.
The fact that the CD is credited to Chester Bennington (despite the band already being named at the time) could be explained by the following quote: "We were called Snow White Tan for a while, and then I changed the name to Dead By Sunrise, but I really just like Chester Bennington."
|1||Walking In Circles||Chester Charles Bennington, Amir Davidson, Ryan Christopher Shuck, Anthony Valcic||4:59|
|7||Twenty Eyes||Glenn Danzig||2:05|
|8||Give Me Your Name||Bennington, Davidson, Shuck, Valcic||5:04|
|9||Morning After Remix||4:15|
|1||Let Down||Bennington, Davidson, Shuck, Valcic||3:54|
|4||Give Me Your Name||5:04|
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