Chester Bennington

Chester Bennington
Chester Bennington

Chester Bennington performing as a part of Linkin Park at Sonisphere Festival in Finland.
Background information
Birth name Chester Charles Bennington
Born March 20, 1976 (1976-03-20) (age 35)
Origin Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Genres Alternative rock, nu metal, alternative metal, alternative hip hop, hard rock, rap rock, rap metal, electronic rock, post-grunge
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter, actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, piano, drums
Years active 1993–present
Labels Warner Bros.
Associated acts Linkin Park, Dead by Sunrise, Grey Daze

Chester Charles Bennington (born March 20th, 1976) is an American musician, singer-songwriter and actor. He is best known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the rock band Linkin Park.

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 metal albums to ever hit that many sales.[1] Linkin Park's following studio albums, Meteora, Minutes to Midnight, and A Thousand Suns, released in 2003, 2007, and 2010 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. In 2007, Bennington was placed at #46 on Hit Parader's list of "Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists".[2]


Early life

Bennington performing in Dallas, Texas

Bennington was born in Phoenix, Arizona.[3] He attended Greenway High School. He took interest in music at a young age, citing Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots as early inspirations. Bennington's parents separated in the late 1980s. He later struggled with cocaine and methamphetamine addictions.[3] Bennington eventually overcame his drug addiction, and would go on to denounce drug use in future interviews.[4] He worked at a fast food restaurant before starting his career as a professional musician.[3]

Before joining Linkin Park, Bennington was a vocalist in Grey Daze, a grunge band from Phoenix, Arizona.[5] He left Grey Daze in 1998, but struggled to find another band to sing in.[5] 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.[5] Bennington quit his day job, and took his family to California, where he had a successful audition with Linkin Park, who were then called "Xero".[5] Bennington and Mike Shinoda, the band’s other vocalist, made significant progress together, but failed to find a record deal.[5] 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.[5]

Linkin Park

On October 24, 2000 Linkin Park released their debut album through Warner Bros. Records. Bennington and Shinoda wrote the lyrics to Hybrid Theory based on some early material.[6] Shinoda characterized the lyrics as interpretations of universal feelings, emotions, and experiences, and as “everyday emotions you talk about and think about.”[7][8] 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[6]

Hybrid Theory was released in the United States on October 24, 2000 following the debut of "One Step Closer" on the radio.[9] It entered the U.S. Billboard 200 charts at #16 in late 2000,[10] and was certified gold by the RIAA five weeks after its release.[11] In 2001, Hybrid Theory sold 4.8 million copies in the United States, making it the best-selling album of the year,[12][13] and it was estimated that the album continued selling 100,000 copies per week in early 2002.[6] 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.[14] It has sold 24 million copies worldwide as of 2009,[15] 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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] Linkin Park's second album debuted on March 25, 2003 and instantly earned worldwide recognition,[19] going to #1 in the US and UK, and #2 in Australia.[20]

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.[21] The band had recorded thirty to fifty songs in August 2006, when Shinoda stated the album was halfway completed.[22] Bennington later added that the new album would stray away from their previous nu metal sound.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] Linkin Park's newest 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. In June Chester Bennington was at the LPU summit in Hamburg in which he did a cover of Adele's version of Rolling in the Deep with Mike Shinoda playing the piano.

Personal life

Chester Bennington has two children from a previous relationship with Elka Brand; Jamie and Isaiah.[27] Bennington married his first wife, Samantha Marie Olit, on October 31, 1996.[27] They have one child together, Draven Sebastian Bennington, who was born on April 19, 2002.[27] Bennington’s relationship with his first wife declined during his early years with Linkin Park, and they divorced in 2005.[28] After divorcing his first wife, Bennington married Talinda Ann Bentley, a former Playboy model,[27] with whom he has had a child, Tyler Lee Bennington. 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.[29]

In September, 2011, Chester confirmed that he and wife, Talinda, are expecting twins.[30]

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.[29]

Bennington is a tattoo enthusiast.[31] Bennington has done work and promotions with Club Tattoo, a recognized tattoo parlor in Tempe, Arizona.[32][33]


Bennington performing at Sonisphere Festival in Kirjurinluoto, Pori, Finland, 2009

Despite having success in the early 2000s, 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.[34] Bennington was plagued with poor health during the making of Meteora, and struggled to attend some of the album’s recording sessions.[35] He fell ill during the summer of 2003, and eventually underwent surgery.[36] 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. Soon after breaking his wrist he hit himself in the face with a tennis racket. He received 5 stitches. Bennington also injured his back once, while performing a live show.[37][38]

In 2011, Bennington fell ill again, and Linkin Park were forced to cancel three shows and reschedule two from the A Thousand Suns World Tour.[39]. 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.[40]


  • Grey Daze – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1993–1998)
  • Linkin Park – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion (1999–present)
  • Dead by Sunrise – lead vocals, guitar, keyboard (2005–present)
  • Julien-K – production (2003–present)

Solo work

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.[41] Chester also worked on Julien-Ks 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"[42]

Featured vocals

Album contributions

Year Artist Song Release
2001 Stone Temple Pilots feat. Chester Bennington "Wonderful" The Family Values 2001 Tour
2002 Chester Bennington "System" Queen of the Damned soundtrack
Cyclefly feat. Chester Bennington "Karma Killer" Crave
DJ Lethal feat. Chester Bennington "State of the Art"
2004 Handsome Boy Modeling School feat. Chester Bennington & Mike Shinoda "Rock 'N' Roll (Could Never Hip-Hop Like This) Part 2" White People
2005 Z-Trip feat. Chester Bennington "Walking Dead" Shifting Gears
Mötley Crüe feat. Chester Bennington "Home Sweet Home" (remake)
2007 Young Buck feat. Chester Bennington "Slow Ya Roll" Buck the World
2010 Carlos Santana feat. Chester Bennington "Riders on the Storm" (The Doors cover) Guitar Heaven: Santana Performs the Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time
Cancelled Korn feat. Chester Bennington "Head Like a Hole" (Nine Inch Nails cover) Korn Kovers

Music producer

Chester Bennington executive produced the E.P for Los Angeles, Tripduster band Hellflower, which is fronted by his long time friend and Director of Activities (D.O.A), Church.[43]

Film and television

Bennington also made a cameo in the 2006 film Crank as a customer in a pharmacy.[44] He later appeared as a horse-track spectator in the film's 2009 sequel, Crank: High Voltage.[45] Bennington also had a role as the ill-fated Skinhead, Evan, in the 2010 film Saw 3D.[46]

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 producers Trip Taylor.[47]


Year Title Role Notes Source
2006 Crank Pharmacy Stoner [44]
2009 Crank: High Voltage Hollywood Park Guy [45]
2010 Saw 3D Evan [48]


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  2. ^ "Rob Halford, Robert Plant, Bon Scott, Ozzy Are Among ‘Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists’". (Roadrunner Records). 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  3. ^ a b c Apar, Corey, Chester Bennington Biography,, Retrieved on June 27, 2007.
  4. ^ Bradenton Herald, Bradenton: Mo' Money Mo' Problems (August 13, 2004), Linkin Park Association; retrieved on June 27, 2007.
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  6. ^ a b c Fricke, David. “Rap Metal Rulers”, Rolling Stone No. 891, March 14, 2002
  7. ^ BBC Radio 1, Evening Session Interview with Steve Lamacq, June 13, 2001
  8. ^ "BBC Session Interview". LP Times. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  9. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "All Music review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-09-16. 
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  11. ^ "Everybody loves a success story.". The LP Association. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  12. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa (March 31, 2002). "MUSIC; New Ideas From the Top of the Charts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 
  13. ^ "Hybrid Theory tops best-sellers of 2001". Retrieved 2007-09-16. 
  14. ^ "Gold and Platinum: Diamond Certified Albums". RIAA. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  15. ^ "Hybrid Theory total sales". Live Earth. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  16. ^ "Sputnikmusic review". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  17. ^ Warner Bros. Records, "The Making of Meteora" (2003) [DVD], Released on March 25, 2003.
  18. ^, Linkin Park Get Their Tempers Under Control To Complete New LP Retrieved on June 10, 2006
  19. ^ a b, Linkin Park – Biography Retrieved on March 20, 2007
  20. ^ "Linkin Park – band history and biography". Retrieved December 23, 2007. 
  21. ^, Mike Shinoda Says 'No New Linkin Park Album In 2006 After All', Retrieved on June 9, 2007
  22. ^, Mike Shinoda Says Linkin Park Halfway Done With New Album, Retrieved on June 9, 2007
  23. ^, Linkin Park Say Nu-Metal Sound Is 'Completely Gone' On Next LP, Retrieved on June 9, 2007
  24. ^ Warner Bros. Records, Fans Counting the 'Minutes' as Linkin Park Reveal Album Name and Release Date, Retrieved on June 9, 2007
  25. ^, Linkin Park Finish Apocalyptic Album, Revive Projekt Revolution Tour, Retrieved on June 9, 2007
  26. ^, Linkin Park Scores Year's Best Debut With 'Midnight', Retrieved on May 28, 2007
  27. ^ a b c d Chester Bennington Profile,; retrieved on June 27, 2007.
  28. ^ Montgomery, James, Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight Preview: Nu-Metallers Grow Up (May 7, 2007), MTV News; retrieved on June 24, 2007.
  29. ^ a b Kushner, David, Linkin Park's Mysterious Cyberstalker (May 15, 2007), Wired magazine; retrieved on June 27, 2007.
  30. ^ "Linkin Lady". Linkin Lady. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  31. ^ Chester Bennington Biography, (accessed January 2011)
  32. ^ Brink, etnies and Chester Bennington Launch Club Tattoo Collaboration with Exclusive Art Show in NYC! (March 21, 2007); retrieved on June 24, 2007.
  33. ^, Press Room; retrieved on June 24, 2007.
  34. ^ "Linkin Park's Bennington Suffering From Bite". Linkin Park News (Yahoo! Music). 2001-08-13. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  35. ^ Warner Bros. Records, "The Making of Meteora" (2003) [DVD]; released on March 25, 2003.
  36. ^ "Linkin Park's Chester Bennington Doing Fine". Linkin Park News (Yahoo! Music). 2003-07-11. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  37. ^ Chester Bennington (2007-10-17) (Adobe Flash). Chester's Broken Wrist (The Official Linkin Park YouTube Channel) (YouTube video). Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  38. ^ "Linkin Park's Chester Bennington is Accident Prone". UpVenue. 25 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  39. ^ Diaz, Julio (4 October 2011). "DeLuna Fest loses Linkin Park". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  40. ^ Linkin Park (5 October 2011). "LINKIN PARK WITHDRAW FROM DELUNA FEST". 
  41. ^ "Twitter / Chester Bennington: @VanOk93 Dead by Sunrise i". 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  42. ^ "Julien-K". 19 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  43. ^ "Hellflower". American Voodoo Records. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  44. ^ a b Cohen, Johnathon (2006-08-29). "Linkin Park Hits iTunes, New Album Not Quite Ready". Billboard ( Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  45. ^ a b Greenberg, Alexandra (2009-04-03). "MAYNARD JAMES KEENAN & CHESTER BENNINGTON MAKE CAMEO IN 'CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE'". Mitch Schneider Organization. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  46. ^ Uncle Creepy (2010-08-31). "New Saw 3D Image Tortures Linkin Park's Chester Bennington". DreadCentral (CraveOnline). Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  47. ^ "Reaper's Forge". Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  48. ^ JEN (July 22, 2010). "Saw 3D". cbennington Blog. Retrieved July 22, 2010. 

External links

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