Even though he passed away on July 20, 2017 it still feels like "yesterday" and it's even a little hard to write about it but here are some things you might know or did not know about Chester Bennington...
(Photo: Christie Goodwin)
1. His full name is Chester Charles Bennington and he was born in Phoenix, Arizona on March 20, 1976, to a nurse mother and a detective father who specialized in child abuse.
2. From a young age he loved music and grew up on bands like "Depeche Mode" and "Stone Temple Pilots".
3. Chester was sexually abused when he was at the age of 7 by another man, he was afraid to tell anyone or ask for help because he was afraid they would think he was lying or he was gay. He suffered from the abuse until the age of 13.
4. When he was 11 years old his parents divorced and he moved in with his father, while still being abused, his older brother left home and his two sisters were not around. His father, who suffered from mental health problems and worked double shifts, was not at home and Chester was left alone. He hated his family, he had no one to turn to, so he ran away.
5. He ran away to poetry and painting and began writing songs, choruses, and rhymes so that they would help him put some order to his relentless thoughts and emotions while trying to keep his sanity.
6. Chester's first band was "Gray Daze", a post-grunge band he formed with his friends in 1993. They were very well known in Phoenix and performed as an opening act for almost every rock band that performed in the city.
7. The band released three albums, a demo album in 1993, the album "Wake/Me" in 1994, and the album "No Sun Today..." in 1997. Beyond being Chester's starting point in music, it was also the one who gave him the lost confidence and self-belief. As one who was also abused at school, he was happy to have a group that he belongs to and which supported him.
On June 26, 2020, the band "Gray Daze" released an album consisting of songs from the band's first two albums, with Chester's original recordings voice and a brand new recording of the musical instruments, the album is called "Amends".
8. The problem was that the same group also created a lot of chaos around it with drugs and alcohol, Chester said that it was an endless cycle, when they finish the drugs they switch to alcohol and when it was over they would go back to drugs when occasionally combining sex, just like the cliché... "drug sex and alcohol" only in a very extreme way.
9. In 1993 Chester who was only 17 years old but already drained from drugs and alcohol returned to live with his mother, who was shocked by her son's condition, a broken and pale boy. She locked him up in her house without the possibility of leaving until he recovered.
10. In 1998 the band disbanded. According to Chester, it was due to a lack of originality and interest that led to quarrels and arguments. At the age of 22 when he is married with no musical future, he finds himself working for a digital services company.
11. On his 23rd birthday Chester got a call from Jeff Blue from the Los Angeles record label "Zomba Music" who asked him if he was interested in being a singer in a band, trying to combine rock and hip-hop. Chester who did not really like hip hop but was very interested in the band expressed willingness, to say the least.
(Photo: Gary Wolstenholme)
12. On the same day he received a demo with the music of the band "Xero", he ran to the studio and began to record his vocals on the music on the demo. The next day he picked up the phone to Jeff and played the recordings for him, another day passed and Chester was already waiting at nine o'clock in the morning at the "Zomba Music" offices for auditions for the band.
13. Chester who looked skinny and pale with glasses and dressed like a guy from a dark nightclub, opened his mouth roaring into the microphone and the rest is history !!
14. The interesting story about the acquaintance of Chester and Mike Shinoda stems from the way the two learned to know each other. During their first writing, Mike would work with Brad Delson on the music and then, sit down with Chester on the lyrics. Chester lays out in his writing everything he went through and so, without any prior acquaintance, Mike learned about the life of Chester through the songs.
15. As we have mentioned in other posts, "Xero" changed its name to "Hybrid Theory" and tried to get a recording contract, but everyone rejected them until Jeff who helped them initially got a role in the "Warner Bros." record company and signed the band "Linkin Park" to a recording contract.
(Photo: Mick Hutson)
16. In October 2000 the band released their first album "Hybrid Theory" despite difficult confrontations, lack of faith, and relentless attempts to change them. The Fantastic Six managed to release an album that took them straight to the moon in business class.
17. The band's second album "Meteora" came out three years later and despite the insane expectations and heavy pressure from all sides, for the album to be as successful as the first album. Linkin Park passed the "second album syndrome" with success and flew to number one on the charts and was a resounding success again.
18. Throughout that period, Chester experienced great suffering despite their insane success. Because he often drank and used drugs, the other members of the band did not share the same. So they distanced themselves from him. Not just because they did not use drugs themselves but because it was impossible to have a conversation with Chester without him losing control. He felt alone and lost as the band rode the success at 120 mph and does not stop for a second.
19. After finishing the tour of the second album, the members returned exhausted and worn out. Chester returned to his home and his unwanted relationship with his first wife and his condition began to deteriorate. He increased his drug and alcohol consumption and went through a lot of anxiety attacks and nervous breakdowns until at some point he decided to go to rehab and put an end to it.
(Photo: James Minchin)
20. The recordings for the band's third album "Minutes to Midnight" were the opening of a new area from all aspects. Chester who was clean and sane began to form a warm and cohesive relationship with the rest of the band and together they also decided to go in a slightly different musical direction. The album was released in May 2007.
21. The band then released four more albums, "A Thousand Suns" in 2010, "Living Things" in 2012,
"The Hunting Party" in 2014 and "One More Light" in 2017.
22. In 2005 Chester formed a band called "Dead by Sunrise" with guitarist Amir Derakh and guitarist Ryan Shuck both from the band "Orgy". The band's idea came when Chester wrote a number of songs that did not suit Linkin and he felt he had to put them out. They released one album called "Out of Ashes" in October 2009.
23. On May 23, 2013, Chester fulfilled a dream when he took the stage with the idols of his youth, "Stone Temple Pilots". A few months later Chester becomes the band's official singer and they released an EP with five songs called "High Rise" all songs written by Chester and STP. This love story was short and ended in 2015 in light of his commitment to Linkin.
24. Chester is a tattoo enthusiast and has quite a number of tattoos all of which were performed by "Club Tattoo" in Arizona whose owner is Sean Dowdell a childhood friend of Chester.
(Photo: Chester Bennington)
25. He also played a number of small roles in several films including: "Crank", "Crank: High Voltage", "Saw 3D" and "Artifact".
26. Chester suffered all his life from depression and mental health problems which led him to consume drugs and alcohol in a massive matter, he had better and worse times but it was always there in the background. He committed suicide by hanging himself and was found by his housemaid around nine in the morning at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California. The day he died should have been Chris Cornell's 53rd birthday he also committed suicide two months earlier.
27. In honor of the 20th-anniversary celebrations of the band's second album "Meteora", the band released a video clip for one of the songs that were shelved during the work on the album. Like many other songs that were recorded but not released, the song "Lost" was re-produced and reworked and was released in February 2023.
The most appropriate album for this post is the band's latest album "One More Light" which despite its poppy nature, the lyrics of the album feel as if they were preparing for his death.
You can listen to the album on: Spotify, Apple Music.