"Happy 36th Birthday"
Who was the missing ingredient to Linkin Park's ground-breaking sound? The answer came in the form of a twenty-year-old misfit from Phoenix, Arizona named Chester Bennington. Chester was a vocalist in a locally reknowned 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 Mark Wakefield's departure and started handing 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 '99, 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 to form the side-project, Dead By Sunrise. The band released their debut album "Out Of Ashes" October 19th 2008 and have played a number of shows in Europe. Chester also performs with his cover band, Bucket Of Weenies from time to time too, a band dedicated to performing classic rock hits. BOW is a collaboration of Chester on vocals, Ryan Shuck on guitar, Mike "Cheez" Brown on bass, Mike Rouse on guitar & Sean Dowdell on drums.
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. -lpassociation.com
Facts about Chester...
Before Grey Daze, when Chester was 15 he played in a band called "Sean Dowdell and Friends" in which he was the lead singer. Currently the only existing evidence of this band is a 3 song tape that includes the following songs: "Painted Pictures" "Kill The Flies" and "God's Afraid".
Chester was the one who came up with the name Linkin Park for his band (taken from the then-name of a park in Santa Monica, California). It was originally supposed to be spelled "Lincoln" but since the band couldn't afford to buy the domain name lincolnpark.com from its owner, they changed the spelling in order to buy linkinpark.com. -Imdb.com
"What I enjoy most about being in the band is having the opportunity to create and perform music with amazing musicians who have also become closest of friends. I would like to thank all who support us and make all of this possible."
Chester on high school: "I was a geek who thought I was cool. I didn't hang out with a particular clique, but with different people from different cliques. I was a total nerd, trying to fit in. Luckily, I found music and that was my niche. That sorta took me out of my geekdom. I was never invited to parties as a teenager - I turned up with the popular people. That's where the lyrics to 'Guilty By Association' came from." -Imdb.com
Just one of my favs...