Bennington performing at Globen, Stockholm in 2007.
|Birth name||Chester Charles Bennington|
|Also known as||Chazy Chaz|
March 20, 1976 |
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
|Origin||Agoura Hills, California, U.S.|
|Genres||Alternative rock, post-grunge, alternative metal, rap rock, nu metal, electronic rock|
|Occupations||Musician, singer-songwriter, actor|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, drums|
|Associated acts||Linkin Park, Dead by Sunrise, Julien-K, Grey Daze, Stone Temple Pilots|
|Hamer Vector flying V guitar
Chester Charles Bennington (born March 20, 1976) is an American musician, singer-songwriter and actor. He is best known as the lead vocalist of rock bands Linkin Park and Dead by Sunrise. He was originally the lead vocalist for Sean Dowdell And His Friends? and Grey Daze. As of 2013, he is the current lead vocalist for Stone Temple Pilots.
Bennington became known as a vocalist with Linkin Park's debut album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000, which was a massive commercial success. The album was certified Diamond by the RIAA in 2005, making it the best-selling debut album of the decade, as well as one of the few albums to ever hit that many sales. Linkin Park's following studio albums, Meteora, Minutes to Midnight, A Thousand Suns, and Living Things, released in 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2012 respectively, continued the band's success. Bennington formed his own band, Dead by Sunrise as a side-project in 2005. The band's debut album, Out of Ashes was released on October 13, 2009. He worked on new material with Stone Temple Pilots in 2013 to release the EP High Rise on October 5, 2013 via their own record label, Play Pen LLC / ADA. Bennington has been ranked in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader (#46).
Chester Bennington was born on March 20, 1976, in Phoenix, Arizona, to a nurse and a Phoenix police detective who worked with child sex abuse cases and took double shifts. He is of English descent. Bennington took interest in music at a young age, citing Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots as early inspirations and dreamed of becoming a member of Depeche Mode. Bennington's parents divorced when he was eleven years old and his father gained custody of him. As a result of the divorce, Bennington started abusing marijuana, alcohol, opium, cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD. Bennington eventually overcame his drug addiction, and would go on to denounce drug use in future interviews. During a Linkin Park tour, he started heavily drinking but claimed to have quit in 2011 noting "I just don't want to be that person anymore". In an interview, Bennington revealed that he suffered sexual abuse from an older male friend when he was seven years old. He was afraid to ask for help because he did not want people to think he was gay or lying and the abuse continued until age thirteen. The abuse and situation at home affected him so much that he felt the urge to kill and run away. To comfort himself, he drew pictures and wrote poetry and songs. Later, he revealed the abuser's identity to his father but Bennington chose not to continue the case after he realized the abuser was a victim himself. At the age of seventeen, he moved in with his mother and was banned from leaving the house when his mother discovered his drug activity. He worked at a Burger King restaurant and used his money for cocaine and crystal meth before starting his career as a professional musician.
Bennington’s first band was Sean Dowdell and His Friends? when they released the three-track cassette in 1993 that is the same name as the band, before he and Sean Dowdell moved to form the band Grey Daze, a post-grunge band from Phoenix, Arizona  to record Wake Me in 1994, Demo in 1995, and ...No Sun Today in 1997. He left Grey Daze in 1998, but struggled to find another band to sing in. After nearly quitting his musical career altogether, Jeff Blue, the vice president of A&R at Zomba Music in Los Angeles, offered Bennington an audition with the future members of Linkin Park. Bennington quit his day job at a digital services firm, and took his family to California, where he had a successful audition with Linkin Park, who were then called "Xero". he recorded the song for his audition and managed to finish it one day missing his birthday in the process.
Bennington and Mike Shinoda, the band’s other vocalist, made significant progress together, but failed to find a record deal. After facing numerous rejections, Jeff Blue, now a vice president of A&R at Warner Bros., intervened again to help the band sign with Warner Bros. Records.
Bennington was physically bullied in high school. In an interview, he said "I was knocked around like a rag doll at school for being skinny and looking different". He went on to say that joining a band where his voice mattered more really helped.
||This section may stray from the topic of the article. (April 2011)|
On October 24, 2000, Linkin Park released their debut album, Hybrid Theory, through Warner Bros. Records. Bennington and Shinoda wrote the lyrics to Hybrid Theory based on some early material. Shinoda characterized the lyrics as interpretations of universal feelings, emotions, and experiences, and as “everyday emotions you talk about and think about.” Bennington later described the songwriting experience to Rolling Stone magazine in early 2002:
|“||It's easy to fall into that thing — 'poor, poor me', that's where songs like 'Crawling' come from: I can't take myself. But that song is about taking responsibility for your actions. I don't say 'you' at any point. It's about how I'm the reason that I feel this way. There's something inside me that pulls me down.||”|
—Chester Bennington, Rolling Stone Magazine, 2002
Hybrid Theory was released in the United States on October 24, 2000 following the debut of "One Step Closer" on the radio. It entered the U.S. Billboard 200 charts at #16 in late 2000, and was certified gold by the RIAA five weeks after its release. In 2001, Hybrid Theory sold 4.8 million copies in the United States, making it the best-selling album of the year, and it was estimated that the album continued selling 100,000 copies per week in early 2002. Throughout the following years, the album continued to sell at a fast pace and was certified diamond by the RIAA in 2005 for selling 10 million copies in the U.S. It has sold 24 million copies worldwide as of 2009, including over 10 million in the U.S. which makes it the band's best-selling album and the best-selling debut album of the 21st century.
The follow-up to Hybrid Theory would ultimately become Meteora. The band began to work on new material amidst their saturated schedule, spending a sliver of their free time in their tour bus' studio. The band officially announced the production of a new studio album in December 2002, revealing their new work was inspired by the rocky region of Meteora in Greece, where numerous monasteries have been built on top of the rocks. Meteora featured a mixture of the band's previous nu metal and rapcore styles with newer innovative effects, including the induction of a shakuhachi (a Japanese flute made of bamboo) and other instruments. Linkin Park's second album debuted on March 25, 2003 and instantly earned worldwide recognition, going to #1 in the US and UK, and #2 in Australia.
Linkin Park returned to the recording studios in 2006 to work on new material. To produce the album, the band chose Rick Rubin. Despite initially stating the record would debut sometime in 2006, it was delayed until 2007. The band had recorded thirty to fifty songs in August 2006, when Shinoda stated the album was halfway completed. Bennington later added that the new album would stray away from their previous nu metal sound. Warner Bros. Records officially announced that the band’s third studio album, entitled Minutes To Midnight, would be released on May 15, 2007 in the United States. After spending fourteen months working on the album, the band opted to further refine their album by removing five of the original seventeen tracks. The album’s title, a reference to the Doomsday Clock, foreshadowed the band's new lyrical themes. Minutes to Midnight sold over 600,000 copies in its first week, making it one of the most successful debut week albums in recent years. The album also took the top spot on the Billboard Charts. Linkin Park's fourth album, A Thousand Suns, was also co-produced with Rick Rubin and was released on September 14, 2010, with its first single, "The Catalyst", a success. Their latest album, Living Things, was released on June 26, 2012, and its first single is "Burn It Down" which has met critical success. Bennington and Mike Shinoda, as Linkin Park, are working on a new song titled as "A Light That Never Comes" with American dubstep musician Steve Aoki. The song will be unlocked, once the Linkin Park fans get online to play the new and upcoming puzzle-action game, Linkin Park Recharge (short as LP Recharge), which will be launched to Facebook on September 12, 2013.
Dead by Sunrise
Dead by Sunrise started to form in 2005 while Chester Bennington was writing songs for Linkin Park's album Minutes to Midnight. On May 10, 2008, Dead by Sunrise performed three songs ("Walking in Circles", "Morning After", and "My Suffering") at the 13th anniversary party for Club Tattoo in Tempe, Arizona. The song titled "Morning After" was written by Chester Bennington and originally performed on December 9, 2001 at the Live in Berlin concert. Bennington also performed Morning After with his cover band entitled Bucket of Weenies in many shows throughout 2005 and 2006. This was the first time that Bennington had "officially" performed the song under a new name—Dead by Sunrise. In addition, this band has recently started touring with Linkin Park in Europe. Videos have been filmed for "Crawl Back In" (September 8, 2009) and "Let Down" with the songs serving as the album's first two singles. "Crawl Back In" has reached the 11th spot on the Mainstream Rock chart. After the release of Out of Ashes on October 13, 2009, the band is currently on hiatus.
Stone Temple Pilots
On May 19, 2013, the band released a free download of their new single, "Out of Time" featuring Bennington via their official website, and is featured on their EP High Rise, which was released on October 8, 2013. The updated website also featured new promotional pictures of the band including Bennington, implying that he will be recording and touring with the band, at least for the near future. Speaking about his decision to join the band and the difference between Stone Temple Pilots and Linkin Park, Bennington said: "Every band has its own kind of vibe. Stone Temple Pilots has this sexier, more classic rock feel to it. Linkin Park is a very modern, very tech-heavy type of band. I grew up listening to these guys. When this opportunity came up, it was just like a no-brainer." Before this happened, Bennington himself exclaimed years before in interviews that singing lead vocals in Stone Temple Pilots was his lifelong dream.
Bennington has one child from a previous relationship with Elka Brand; Jamie. He also adopted her son Isaiah. Bennington married his first wife, Samantha Marie Olit, on October 31, 1996 but could not afford a wedding ring because they were poor. They had one child together, Draven Sebastian Bennington, who was born on April 19, 2002. Bennington’s relationship with his first wife declined during his early years with Linkin Park, and they divorced in 2005. After divorcing his first wife, Bennington married Talinda Ann Bentley, a former Playboy model, with whom he has three children, Tyler Lee Bennington and twins, Lily and Lila (born 2011). The wedding ceremony was custom designed and performed by Mary Jean Valente of "A Ceremony of the Heart". Bennington and his family live in a house in Gilbert, Arizona when he is not on tour.
Chester and Talinda were harassed by a cyberstalker, Devon Townsend, for almost a year. Townsend was found guilty of tampering with the couple's email, as well as sending threatening messages, and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Bennington is a tattoo enthusiast. Bennington has done work and promotions with Club Tattoo, a recognized tattoo parlor in Tempe, Arizona. Club Tattoo is owned by Sean Dowdell, Chester's friend since high school. They played together in two bands, "Sean Dowdell and his friends?" and "Grey Daze". He showed off his tattoos by posing shirtless for PETA's "Ink, Not Mink" anti-fur campaign.
Bennington is a fan of the Phoenix Suns and Penny Hardaway. He would later reveal that he's a fan of Arizona sports teams in general (Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes) in an interview with CBS Sports Radio.
Health and injuries
Bennington has had medical issues outside of the limelight. He suffered a severe bite from a recluse spider while touring with the OzzFest in 2001. Bennington was plagued with poor health during the making of Meteora, and struggled to attend some of the album’s recording sessions. He fell ill during the summer of 2003, and eventually underwent surgery. Bennington sustained a wrist injury in October 2007 while attempting to jump off a platform during a show in Melbourne, Australia at the Rod Laver Arena. Despite the injury, he continued to perform the entire show with a broken wrist, before heading to the emergency room. He received 5 stitches.
In 2011, Bennington felt ill again, and Linkin Park was forced to cancel three shows and reschedule two from the A Thousand Suns World Tour. Bennington injured his shoulder during the band's tour in Asia and was advised by doctors to have immediate surgery, cancelling their final show at Pensacola Beach, Florida and ending their tour.
Bennington joined Z-Trip in 2005 for the single "Walking Dead", released on Z-Trip's major label album Shifting Gears. "Walking Dead" was a Top Ten Single in the US. Bennington also made a surprise appearance during Z-Trip's performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2005.
Bennington teamed up with original Orgy guitarists Ryan Shuck and Amir Derakh, who perform together as Julien-K, for a solo project. Chester's band is called Dead by Sunrise, formerly known as Snow White Tan. Dead by Sunrise has since released their debut album Out of Ashes on October 13, 2009. Chester also worked on Julien-K's debut album Death to Analog and is credited as the executive producer. In 2009, Ryan Shuck said, "Both bands are the same. The one where Chester sings and writes is Dead by Sunrise, but when I sing, and Amir and I are the primary writers, it becomes Julien-K and it's more electro and much darker... Julien-K and Dead by Sunrise are basically a creative collective, we're sort of a Warhol-style factory in that sense... Dead by Sunrise is Chester's Julien-K if that makes any sense."
On May 18, 2013, Bennington surprisingly took the stage at KROQ's Weenie Roast with Stone Temple Pilots who parted ways with their lead singer, Scott Weiland on February 2013. The setlist included original Stone Temple Pilots songs, as well as a new song with Bennington on vocals called "Out of Time" which debuted that same day and was available for free download. It was later announced by Chester and the band in an exclusive KROQ interview that he was officially the new frontman of Stone Temple Pilots and discussed the possibility of a new album and tour. The song "Out of Time" is featured on their upcoming EP High Rise, which will be released on October 5, 2013.
|2001||Stone Temple Pilots featuring Chester Bennington||"Wonderful (Live)"||The Family Values 2001 Tour|
|Disturbed featuring Chester Bennington||"Walk"||N/A|
|2002||Chester Bennington||"System"||Queen of the Damned soundtrack|
|Cyclefly featuring Chester Bennington||"Karma Killer"||Crave|
|DJ Lethal featuring Chester Bennington||"State of the Art"||N/A|
|2004||Handsome Boy Modeling School featuring DJ Q-bert, Grand Wizard Theodore, Jazzy Jay, Lord Finesse, Mike Shinoda, Rahzel & Chester Bennington / Knockers (feat. Tim Meadows)||"Rock N' Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) (Part 2)"||White People|
|2005||Z-Trip featuring Chester Bennington||"Walking Dead"||Shifting Gears|
|Mötley Crüe featuring Chester Bennington||"Home Sweet Home" (remake)||N/A|
|2006||Linkin Park||"Nobody's Listening [Green Lantern Remix]"||Fort Minor: We Major|
|Chester Bennington||"Morning After (Julien-K Remix)"||Underworld: Evolution (soundtrack)|
|2007||Young Buck featuring Chester Bennington||"Slow Ya Roll"||Buck the World|
|2008/2010||Chris Cornell featuring Chester Bennington||"Hunger Strike (Live at Projekt Revolution 2008)"||Songs from the Underground (2008) / A Decade Underground (2010)|
|2010||Santana featuring Chester Bennington & Ray Manzarek||"Riders on the Storm" (The Doors cover)||Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time|
|2012||Linkin Park||"Blackout (Renholdër Remix)"||Underworld: Awakening (soundtrack)|
|2013||Stone Temple Pilots||"Out of Time"||High Rise (EP)|
Bennington also made a cameo in the 2006 film Crank as a customer in a pharmacy. He later appeared as a horse-track spectator in the film's 2009 sequel, Crank: High Voltage. Bennington also had a role as the ill-fated skinhead, Evan, in the 2010 film Saw 3D.
Chester Bennington is working with his long-time friend and director of activities, Church, on developing an upcoming television show, Mayor of the World, with executive producer Trip Taylor.
|2009||Crank: High Voltage||Hollywood Park Guy|||
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