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Linkin Park lead vocalist Chester Bennington and legendary skateboarder Tony Alva were honored for their service in promoting and supporting sobriety at the eighth annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit.
Held at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles, the organization recognized Dogtown Z-boy Alva with its From the Heart Award, which was presented by close friend and Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis. Linkin Park singer Mike Shinoda handed off the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award to his best friend and bandmate, Bennington.
While MusiCares focuses primarily on addiction and treatment, other services provided by the organization include emergency financial assistance, medical expenses and educational workshops. The foundation was established in 1989 by The Recording Academy, home of the Grammy Awards.
At the benefit concert, Beastie Boys DJ Michael Schwartz, better known as Mix Master Mike, opened the evening with a short set dedicated to his protégé and friend DJ AM, whose untimely death was a consequence of his own struggles with drug addiction. “To see him achieve what he did was amazing and I’m very proud of him, I miss him,” Schwartz told The Hollywood Reporter earlier in the evening.
But while the music industry has for decades boasted the mantra “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,” there were many hopeful stories from attendees who were celebrating milestones of recovery. Chief among them: Bennington’s.
Currently handling frontman duties for the Stone Temple Pilots, Bennington took the stage with original STP members Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz for a six-song set that included classics “Wicked Garden,” “Big Bang Baby,” “Vaseline” and “Paper Heart.”
Bennington and the guys were later joined by Duff McKagan and Slash from Guns N’ Roses for a rousing cover of David Bowie’s “All The Young Dudes” (see photo below) that had nearly everyone in the venue singing along.
For his part, Alva delivered an impassioned speech that ended with a quote from Miles Davis: “I’m always thinking about creating, my future starts when I wake up in the morning and start creating.” He followed the address by playing a set with psychedelic surf rock band Chicken Noodle Project.
Other MusiCares supporters in attendance included comedian and Dancing with the Stars contender Andy Dick, the evening’s host and Mad TV star Bobby Lee, and electronic music pioneer Moby. “MusiCares has saved the lives of my friends, quite literally,” Moby told THR. “And they’ve helped me with meetings backstage at a lot of festivals that I’ve played.”
Indeed, there was no shortage of humility when it came to the award recipients. Said Bennington: “The focus of tonight for me is about raising money for music cares and MAP Fund to help musicians who are struggling with recovery and addictions problems. Any time I’ve done something with MusiCares in the past it’s been about showing up, being sober with people who like to be sober and playing music. If you want to give me an award for showing up and playing music with my friends, how cool is that!”
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