June 30, 2009|
Los Angeles Times
Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington remembers the day I met him for the first time, on the Strip in 2000. His band's debut had come out a few days before and had shot up the charts. A national music magazine wanted his band somehow in the next issue, and it found the group at a radio convention in Las Vegas. A photographer arranged a shoot of the band pretending to gamble at the Aladdin (now Planet Hollywood).
Linkin Park was so not famous then; the casino's floor manager carded the band members even for pretending to gamble. As for me (who got a call that morning to run down and do a quick interview with the unknown band), I mistakenly called them Lincoln Logs the entire conversation.
"That was a pretty funny time," Bennington recalls. "There were a whole lot of new experiences happening at that time. It is funny. I remember everything you were saying. And I remember that time when we could not buy an interview with most people. And now we are at a time where it seems we can spend all of our time doing interviews and nothing else. It's been a very interesting ride."
As we were speaking by phone Monday, one of his four children was hollering in the background. Bennington will be in Vegas on July 4 offering what he says is the debut performance of his new band, Dead by Sunrise, at Planet Hollywood's Steve Wyrick Theatre in the Miracle Mile Mall. They will be doing an acoustic performance to intentionally thwart the efforts of bootleggers he says, until the final electric versions are ready for release.
But his real reason to be here is not so much musical as to promote the opening of Club Tattoo in the mall; he is a co-owner in the tiny chain. As for the difference in playing in a hit-making band and owning a tattoo parlor, Bennington, notes that there isn't much. "In the beginning, being in a band was a lot less about business. It was about having fun, and trying to get enough money to pay for the rent for your rehearsal space. Nowadays, with Linkin Park being what it is, there is a lot of business going on. It is not much different than operating and owning a business like Club Tattoo. The one thing I don't have to do is the daily grind of operating and managing the shop. That is what my partners do. I am the lucky guy who gets to promote the shop and use my celebrity to raise awareness of Club Tattoo."
In addition to the concert Saturday night, during the day at Club Tattoo, Bennington and his band will be signing autographs from 2 to 4 p.m.