Jared Leto stepped out of his band Thirty Seconds To Mars during the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday (August 27) to deliver a special tribute to Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, both of whom committed suicide this year.
Leto told the in-person and televised crowd that, “MTV asked me to come here today to say a few words about Chester and the late great Chris Cornell — two artists I had the absolute pleasure of touring with. They were close friends with one another, Chester even singing a cover of the classic ‘Hallelujah’ at Chris’ funeral. Chester said of Chris, ‘Your voice was joy and pain and anger and forgiveness, love and heartache all wrapped up until one.’
Just weeks later, Chester himself was gone.
Chester was my friend, as he was to so many, and witnessing his life taught me important things, especially about working relentlessly, pursuing dreams and being kind and caring while doing it. When I think about him, Chester, I see his face, which was always smiling. I think about his heart, which he wore on his sleeve. I think about his wife and six incredible children. I think about his family. I think about his band, who were really his brothers.
And I remember his voice, at once ferocious and delicate. That voice will live forever. If there is anyone out there who is watching this tonight who feels like there is no hope, hear me now, you are not alone. There is always a way forward. Reach out, share your thoughts, do not give up, and I promise you this: The absolute biggest breakthroughs in life lie just beyond the darkest days.”
Leto introduced a clip of Linkin Park performing “The Catalyst” during the 2010 VMAs, though only a short portion of it aired before the network cut away to a commercial.
Leto and Thirty Seconds To Mars also performed their latest single, “Walk On Water” from the group’s upcoming fourth album, which is expected to be announced soon.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.