20 March 1976
Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, United States
20 July 2017 (aged 41)
Chester Charles Bennington (March 20, 1976—July 20, 2017) was the vocalist and co-songwriter of the band Linkin Park. He was also a former vocalist of Grey Daze and had a side-project Dead By Sunrise.
Born March 20, 1976 and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, Chester's first instrument was the piano. While growing up he was in a number of bands and played various instruments, but mainly was a vocalist. He never settled in a full time band until 1992, when he joined Grey Daze. The band disbanded in 1997 and he moved on to "Hybrid Theory", the band later changed their name and became known as Linkin Park, but the album still was titled "Hybrid Theory".
Chester had a rather unpleasant life right through adolescence. He was sexually abused as a child, by a close family friend. A few of his friends committed suicide, and one of his friends died in a freak skateboarding accident down a hill.
Bennington's parents divorced in 1987, leaving him with his two half-sisters and half-brother. His brother introduced him to bands like Loverboy, Foreigner and Rush which he claimed as his influences. Also, Chester's brother taught him to sing 'Hot Blooded' at the age of 2 and learning to talk and taped him when he was doing it. This tape is still somewhere but he says that it's lost. He told a kid about this because he had nothing clever to say and is amazed that everyone around the world now knows about it and everyone asks about it. Chester attended Greenway High School at the beginning of his freshman year but later went to Washington High School and he graduated there. Chester said that while he was in high school he was bullied and he described himself as a geek. When Chester was younger he had a day job working as a coffee barista. Through his late teens and early twenties Chester battled an addiction to crystal meth and cocaine; however, he managed to overcome his addictions and is now clean.
Bennington was formerly the lead vocalist in a band called Grey Daze through 1993 to 1998 who was popular across Arizona and the United States but didn't achieve global status. Chester thought he was not getting enough credit for his vocals and lyrics so he left the band. While with Grey Daze Chester recorded two albums, "Wake Me" in 1994 and "...no sun today" in 1997 along with one demo tape "Sean Dowdell and his Friends?" in 1993 while the band was under the same name. Since Chester left, they have replaced him with a new female singer, Jodi Wendt, renamed the band to Waterface and have recorded one album, "Seven Days".
He graduated in 1994 from Washington High. He met his wife, Samantha, while he was working at Burger King. They were married on October 31, 1996, at the age of 20, and because he was too poor to afford an actual wedding or engagement ring, the two of them have rings tattooed on their ring fingers. They have one child, a boy named Draven Sebastian Bennington, born April 19, 2002, at 1 PM as mentioned on linkinpark.com : "Chester and Samantha had their son on April 19th, 2002 at 1 PM. He's happy, healthy, and cute as can be. The baby and parents are doing great. They thank you for being so interested and they love you guys! The whole family will be on the road during the next Linkin tour!". Draven was supposedly named after a character in the movie "The Crow". As of May 2, 2005, the couple has divorced after eight years of marriage. Samantha has been granted full custodial rights of their child, while Chester is fighting for joint custody. He recently married his longtime girlfriend Talinda Bentley, a former Playboy model. Bennington's wife, Talinda, gave birth in Los Angeles on Thursday 16th March 2006, to a 9-pound, 3-ounce boy named Tyler Lee, according to a statement from their publicist. Chester has a son with his wife, Talinda, named Jamie who is 10 years old. Chester worked at Bean Tree Coffee House and said it was that who kept him going, and that coffee houses are very understanding and this was the base of his inspiration.
Chester was going to reunite with Grey Daze for one last performance to raise some money to help the former Grey Daze member Bobby Benish who has a brain tumor at the Dodge Theatre in Arizona along with bands Phunk Junkeez, Pokerface and Gift. But, unfortunately, Chester had to postpone the performance due to Linkin Park's recording schedule while they were working on Meteora. Since then Bobby Benish has died due to his brain tumor.
In 1998 Linkin Park advertised for a vocalist due to trouble with getting signed. A firm that was mutual friends with Chester told the rest of Linkin Park (then called Xero) that Chester Bennington would be good for the job. They sent Chester a demo and asked Chester to sing to it. Within three days, one of which was his birthday (apparently he didn't show up for his birthday party because he was working on the demo) he had recorded the demo and played it to Xero over the phone, they were blown away and asked Chester to fly to Los Angeles. Xero changed their name to Hybrid Theory and recorded the Hybrid Theory EP which included the songs "Carousel", "Technique", "Step Up", "And One", "High Voltage" and "Part Of Me". They attracted some attention from some record labels and eventually decided to sign to Warner Brothers Records.
Due to a copyright issue with the British group Hybrid they had to change their name. Chester suggested Linkin Park because after recording sessions Chester would drive past Lincoln Park in Santa Monica. They recorded their debut album, Hybrid Theory through 1999-2000 and it was released on October 24, 2000. It produced hits like In The End and Crawling. Hybrid Theory has since sold over 19 million copies around the world. Then in 2002, Linkin Park released the remix album Reanimation, featuring remixes from Hybrid Theory. Chester and Linkin Park then recorded their next album Meteora featuring hits like Somewhere I Belong and Numb. They released the live album Live in Texas and the "mash-up" album with Jay-Z, Collision Course. His co-writer and fellow band member Mike Shinoda wrote a song, which until recently could not be performed live. The song, called "Breaking the Habit," brought back memories from the past which in many cases reduced Bennington to tears. There is much speculation behind the meaning of the song, including Chester's drug addiction and childhood issues. The song took Mike Shinoda six years to write and was released a single in June 2004 and was included on the Meteora album. Linkin Park has a new record coming out in late summer (July to September), the record is going under the working title of YunGodtre and Chester has described it as "Dark, Poppy, and Melodic" different from their other albums which fused Rock and Hip-hop.
Bennington seems to have had rather bad luck with getting sick on tour. On 8/8/01 during Ozzfest, he was bitten by a recluse spider at a hotel in the Boston area. A portion of Bennington's arm swelled and he ran a fever, but he finished the whole tour. Most people require hospitalization after a recluse spider bite. Bennington continues to struggle with a hiatal hernia, an ailment that forced LP to cancel their show in Evansville, Indiana. (April 11, 2003). In 2003, LP was forced to cancel their European tour in June due to a viral infection Chester developed. He was sent to intensive care at LA's Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre when he lost feeling in his body and collapsed. Normally Chester wore glasses, but during a live show he typically took them off because he was afraid they would get broken. He claimed that he couldn't even see the front row of the audience without them.
In 2009 Chester Finally released an album with his side project, Dead By Sunrise. The album is named "Out Of Ashes" and received relative success. This band features all the Julien-K members. In 2010 after touring with Dead By Sunrise, Dead By Sunrise went on a break to let Chester Finish writing Linkin Park's Album and also to let the rest of the band finish the Julien-K album
As of 2/08/06, Totaling 14:
1. Upper Left Arm - (Pisces)
2. Upper Back - (Six arms spread out) This Tattoo was to illustrate Chester on stage. the tattooist gave the picture 6 arms to show how he holds the audience with his music.
3. Lower Back - (Linkin Park lettered in old English) This tattoo was the result of a bet Chester made with a friend of his. If Hybrid Theory went platinum, the tattoo would be free. If not, Chester would have to pay full price. The album went platinum, and Chester got a free tattoo.
4. Upper Right Arm - (Japanese Koi Fish)
5. Lower Left Calf - (Hybrid Theory Soldier)
6. Left Arm - (Flames a.k.a. The Cusp of Aries)
7. Right Arm - (Flames a.k.a. The Cusp of Aries)
8. Right Calf - (Dragon)
9. Ring Finger on Left Hand - (Engagement band)
10. Pinkie Finger on Right Hand - (Birthstone in a gold ring)
11. Left of Back - (Dragon)
12. Right of Back - (Dragon)
13. Right Elbow - (an Unidentified tattoo that looks like a skull on a rose?)
14. Left Elbow - (Skull with crossing swords underneath)
"Tattoos exude pain and pleasure all at the same time." —Chester
"Tattoos are permanent and a lifelong commitment, the same as marriage" —Chester
Chester says all his tattoos have a story behind them and have a meaning to him.
Chester got his first tattoo when he was 18.
Chester's Independent Songs
1. State of the Art - DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit
2. (Title unknown) - The Visionaries
3. Karma Killer - Cyclefly (from Crave, 2002)
4. System - Written by Jonathan Davis of Korn (from OST Queen of the Damned, 2002)
5. Morning After - Written by himself
6. Walking Dead - DJ Z-Trip (from Shifting Gears, 2005)
7. Rock and Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) Part 2 - Handsome Boy Modeling School (from White People, 2004)
8. Let Down - Written by himself for the demo for Let Down, which appeared on the Dead By Sunrise album and performed live at React Now
9. Walking In Circles - on the Dead By Sunrise album
10. Home Sweet Home - Mötley Crüe performed at ReAct Now
11. Morning After - Dead By Sunrise (Underworld Evolution: The motion picture soundtrack)
12. Wonderful - Stone Temple Pilots live on the 2001 Family Values Tour
13. Head Like A Hole ( Nine Inch Nails Cover )
On July 20, 2017, it was announced that Bennington had committed suicide. He was married and is survived by six children.
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