Chester Bennington, Linkin Park's lead vocalist.
Origin Phoenix, Arizona
Country United States
Years active 1992-present
Genres Nu metal/Alternative Rock
Chester Charles Bennington (born March 20, 1976) is an American musician.
He's best known for being the lead vocalist in the nu metal band Linkin Park (and the oldest member). He also has a side-project called Snow White Tan.
He joined Linkin Park in 1998, replacing Mark Wakefield and after being the vocalist for Grey Daze.
Early life & Grey Daze
Chester Bennington in his High School Yearbook.
Chester was born March 20 1976 and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. He is notable for producing loud, high-pitched and often screamed vocals, which were produced in part over time through Chester singing, until his throat and lungs were sore, when he was a child. Chester's first instrument was the piano. While Chester was 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 Chester moved on to Linkin Park.
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 skateboarding accident.
Bennington's parents divorced in 1987, leaving him with his two half sisters and a half brother. Chester was the youngest of four children at 11 years old, and he stayed with his father who was a police officer and detective. His brother introduced him to bands like Loverboy, Foreigner and Rush which he claims as his influences.
Before his parents parted, the family frequently moved around Arizona, from cities such as Scottsdale, Tolleson, Tempe, and others. "I was an athletic kid but I just stopped caring about it, and I stopped doing well in school," Chester states in a Kerrang! article. "I started smoking weed and going to parties. I think I was 11 when I started smoking pot."  Chester attended Centennial High School, Greenway High School, and later graduated from Washington High School. 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. Chester worked at Bean Tree Coffee House and said it was that what kept him going, and that coffee houses are very understanding and this was the base of his inspiration. Through his late teens and early twenties Chester battled an addiction to crystal meth, LSD, and cocaine; however, he managed to overcome his addictions and is currently clean.
Chester Bennington performing with Grey Daze.
Bennington was formerly the lead vocalist in a band called Grey Daze through 1993 to 1998 who were popular across Arizona and the United States but didn't achieve global status. Chester thought he was not getting enough credit for his writing and had mutual disagreements with other band members, causing him to leave 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. After Chester left, they split up and guitarist, Sean Dowdell joined a new band with a new female singer, Jodi Wendt, called Waterface and have recorded one album, "Seven Days".
Chester met his wife, Samantha, while working at Burger King. Chester worked part time so he could practice with Grey Daze in the evening. At this point he was so poor he couldn't afford a car or even a bike so he used a skateboard as his form of transportation. They got married on October 31, 1996, at the age of 20, and because Chester was too poor to afford an actual wedding or engagement ring, the two of them have rings tattooed on their ring fingers. The couple were in the local real estate market and to learn more about the business world, Chester would sneak into classes at Arizona State University without paying the required tuition fees (unlike the rest of Linkin Park, Bennington does not have a college diploma.) They have one child, a boy named Draven Sebastian Bennington, born April 19, 2002 at 1 p.m. as mentioned on linkinpark.com : "Chester and Samantha had their son on April 19th, 2002 at 1PM. 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". On May 2, 2005 the couple divorced after eight years of marriage. Samantha has been granted full custodial rights of their child, while Chester, after months of battling, has joint custody. On December 31, 2005, Chester married his 29-year-old girlfriend Talinda Bentley, who posed for Playboy during her college years in California Institute of Technology. Bennington's wife, Talinda, gave birth in Los Angeles on Thursday March 16, 2006, to a 9-pound, 3-ounce boy named Tyler Lee, according to a statement from their publicist. This statement also said that Chester has a ten year old son named Jaime, though there is speculation as to whether he is Chester's biological son or stepson.
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 1995, Bennington and former Grey Daze member Sean Dowdell founded Club Tattoo, a tattoo parlor, in Phoenix, Arizona. They now have full partnership and 3 chain locations in Arizona. Many celebrities, such as Hoobastank, David Boston from the Arizona Cardinals, and Chester himself have gotten their tattoos done there.
Linkin Park and other projects
Chester Bennington (right) with Linkin Park.
In 1998 Linkin Park (then called Xero) advertised for a vocalist due to trouble with getting signed. A firm which knew Chester told 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 from Phoenix to audition. At the audition, several other potential vocalists vying for the position simply left once they heard Bennington sing. One auditioner commented to the band that they'd have to be crazy not to pick him (Chester). Xero then changed their name to Hybrid Theory and recorded the Hybrid Theory EP which included the songs "Carousel", "Technique (Short)", "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. 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. It was released as 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), Chester has described it as "dark, poppy and melodic" different from their other albums which fused Hard Rock and Hip hop.
Chester (right) performing "Home Sweet Home" at ReAct Now alongside Motley Crue
Bennington seems to have 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 leg 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 Center when he lost feeling in his body and collapsed. Bennington had been wearing glasses most of his life. During live shows, he would remove them, although claiming he couldn't even see the front row of the audience without them. Then in March 2004, he went through laser eye surgery and no longer wears his signature thick-rimmed glasses. A few days before performing at the second Club Tattoo Anniversary Party in April 22, 2006, Bennington got his arm stitched, which was cut after falling through a window of his father's house. He was drunk and had lost the key to the house. The next day, he had an anxiety attack, causing him to have a seizure and arm spasms.
In the Summer Sonic 2006, Bennington joined his long-time friend and bandmate Mike Shinoda in the performance of Shinoda's Fort Minor hit, Where'd You Go.
In 2007 Chester is set to release a solo album under the name Snow White Tan, produced by Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck of Orgy. There are currently two confirmed tracks: 'The Morning After' and 'Walking In Circles'. 'Let Down' is also rumoured to appear on the album. Chester will sing, play guitar, play keyboard and does the programming on the record. Influences for the album include The Cure, Depeche Mode, and Bauhaus, and Chester has described it as "fuckin' driving beats and walls of guitars." One of his friends also likened one track to T-Rex. The album is due for release sometime in 2007, after Linkin Park's new record. Chester is also playing with "Bucket Of Weenies" a small garage band who perform cover songs, Bucket of Weenies have covered such songs as Snow White Tan's The Morning After. Also, Chester recently played with Motley Crue at ReAct Now: Music & Relief, a Hurricane Katrina relief concert, helping them onstage performing 'Home Sweet Home'. It was that same show he performed the unreleased song 'Let Down' with Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck.
As of 2/08/06, Totaling 14:
Upper Left Arm - (Pisces)
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. The idea was suggested by a friend of his.
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. He says it really hurt.
Upper Right Arm - (Japanese Koi Fish)
Lower Left Calf - (Hybrid Theory Soldier)
Left Wrist - (Flames also known as The Cusp of Aries)
Right Wrist - (Flames also known as The Cusp of Aries)
Right Calf - (Dragon)
Ring Finger on Left Hand - (Engagement band)
Pinkie Finger on Right Hand - (Birthstone in gold ring)
Left of Back - (Dragon)
Right of Back - (Dragon)
Right Elbow - (Unidentified tattoo that looks like a skull on a rose?)
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, like his engagement ring. He and his ex-wife Samantha were too poor to buy a ring, so both of them tattooed it on their fingers. Chester recently did an interview with tattoo stories on fuse.
Chester got his first tattoo when he was 18.
Bennington's independent songs
State of the Art - DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit
(Title unknown) - The Visionaries
Karma Killer - Cyclefly (from Crave, 2002)
System - Written by Jonathan Davis of Korn (from OST Queen of the Damned, 2002)
Morning After - Written by himself
Walking Dead - DJ Z-Trip (from Shifting Gears, 2005)
Rock and Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) Part 2 - Handsome Boy Modeling School (from White People, 2004)
Let Down - Written by himself for his solo project
Walking In Circles - on his solo album/written by himself?
Home Sweet Home - Motley Crue performed at ReAct Now
Morning After - vs. Julien K. (Underworld Evolution: The motion picture soundtrack)
Wonderful - Stone Temple Pilots live on the 2001 Family Values Tour
Head Like A Hole - ( Nine Inch Nails Cover )
posted by wikipedia
Chester Bennington feat Julien-K - Let Down
Apache feat Chester Bennington – Tell Me
Club Tattoo's Chester Bennington Interview - Part 3
Teleconference Interview with Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda