Chester Charles Bennington (born March 20, 1976 in Phoenix, AZ) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, and an actor. He is best known as one of the two vocalists and songwriters of rock bands Linkin Park and Dead by Sunrise, as well as being the former lead vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots.
Chester was a vocalist in a locally renowned band named Grey Daze and was given a mixtape from a band named Xero by a Zomba Music A&R executive in the latter part of 1998. Xero were searching for a new vocalist in the wake of Xero frontman Mark Wakefield's departure and started giving out demo tapes to try and find a replacement. After listening to the tape and liking what he heard, Chester wrote lyrics and recorded them over the tracks, then sent the tape back to the band. On his 23rd birthday in 1999, Chester received a phone call from his Zomba contact saying the band were interested to meet him in person to try out for the lead vocalist spot. Chester flew to Southern California and met the Xero bandmates, then proceeded to completely blow them away in the audition. Not only did he impress the band, his performance also intimidated another vying candidate into leaving before his audition. Chester was a shoe-in for the vocalist spot. The band soon renamed themselves to Hybrid Theory and released their first material recorded with Chester on the Hybrid Theory EP soon afterwards in '99. Hybrid Theory would later change their name to Linkin Park.
Bennington is often labeled as the main source of raw emotion found in many of Linkin Park's songs. This stems from a problematic childhood plagued with the divorcing of his parents, sexual molestation, and heavy drug and alcohol abuse. Through writing music, Chester therapeutically released his pent-up frustration and anger. Instead of making the messages of his songs solely about himself, Chester's writing style uses universal emotions and relatable themes instead of situational lyrics to deliver his stories and help others. For this reason, Chester is regarded as a role model for millions of people who can relate to his messages. Chester has also realized his creativity through a number of musical endeavours besides that of Linkin Park. What initially began forming in 2005, ultimately became Chester working alongside Amir Derakh, Brandon Belsky, Elias Andra, and Anthony "Fu" Valcic of Julien-K & Ryan Shuck of Orgy & Julien-K to form the side-project, Dead by Sunrise. The band released their debut album Out of Ashes on October 13th, 2009, and have played a number of shows in Europe before the band went on current hiatus for Andra and Belsky's departure in different years. Chester also performs with his cover band, Bucket of Weenies from time to time too, a band dedicated to performing classic rock hits. B.O.W. consists of Chester on vocals, Ryan Shuck on guitar, Mike “Cheez” Brown on bass guitar, Mike Rouse on guitar & Sean Dowdell on the drums. In 2013, he was Scott Weiland's replacement as the lead vocalist after Stone Temple Pilots fired Weiland on Febraury 27 without telling him, so Weiland left on a solo tour with his own solo band.
Chester has also devoted his talents to other projects outside of music, which include his very own clothing line in Ve' Cel, a label comprised of edgy designs aimed at embracing uniqueness and individuality in fashion. Chester also has a creative outlet in his tattoo business, Club Tattoo, which is a part-owned enterprise with long time friends Sean Dowdell and Thora Dowdell.
As Featured Artist
Bennington executively produced Death to Analog, the first studio album that was released by Julien-K in 2009, releasing their hit single "Kick the Bass". He also executive produced the EP Us You for Los Angeles, Tripduster band Hellflower, which is fronted by his long-time friend Church, the director of activities.
Chester made cameo appearances in Crank as a pharmacy stoner in 2006, and then appeared later on in Crank: High Voltage as a horse-track speculator in 2009. He also made an appearance on Saw: The Final Chapter in 2010 as Evan, a white powered, ill-fated skinhead.
He is also working with Church, the Director of Activities, on developing an upcoming television show, Mayor of the World, with Trip Taylor as the executive producer.
|2009||Crank: High Voltage||Hollywood Park Guy|
Chester has a total of 10 tattoos:
- A crest on his chest containing the initials of him, his wife, and his kids
- A "zombie gypsy" on his upper back
- Flames on both arms, starting at the wrists
- Linkin Park on his lower back
- Koi fish on both upper arms
- Dragons on the back of his shoulders representing the koi fish reaching the end of their journey
- Hybrid Theory soldier on the back of his left leg
- A dragon on the back of right leg
- Skull with diamond eyes on right arm
- A spider web on his right elbow