Many posts and news articles have been written about Chester Bennington’s death but this won’t be one of them. I will acknowledge for any who had yet to know that the frontman for rock band Linkin Park passed away on July 20th 2017. The reason this post is being written a few weeks after his death is because I wanted it to be a remembrance post more than an announcement. So, if you’re here for the details of his death you will have to find another blog because the purpose of this post is to look back on the life of a musically talented man who was gone too soon.
Although I wouldn’t class myself as a hard-core Linkin Park fan their music is part of the soundtrack of my childhood that followed me into my adult life. To learn of Chester’s passing hit me with a personal pain as if I had lost a friend. Chester was also known for being the lead singer of both Dead by Sunrise and fronted Stone Temple Pilots from 2013 to 2015 but was, of course, most known for his music with Linkin Park. Chester’s career and recognition as a promising vocalist began with the band’s debut album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000, two of their most popular songs (‘One Step Closer’ and ‘In The End’) being from that album.
However Linkin Park was not his first band. Much like any young hopeful Chester first started testing his musical ability in 1993 when he released a three-track cassette named Sean Dowdell and Friends? after the band who recorded it. Later he moved onto form a new band, Grey Daze, and found larger success with the post-grunge band from Phoenix recording three albums (Demo, Wake/Me, …no sun today) from 1993 to 1997 until 1998 where Chester left to pursue something more. The road to Linkin Park nearly proved too much for Chester, almost pushing him to give up on music altogether. Until the vice president of A&R at Zomba Music in LA offered him an audition that would lead to the creation of classic and brilliant music we all associate Chester with today. Quitting his job and putting aside his own personal life Chester managed to record a song for the band (initially named Xero) in a single day. The band faced much rejection until the previous president of A&R at Zomba Music used his new vice president position and Warner Bros. to get the band sighed to their record label. With this helping hand the band were able to get off their feet and jump head first into a sea of success.
Linkin Park’s first album caused them to stand out in the alternative music world as something different that would refuse to fade into the background. Chester admitted in an interview in 2002 that some lyrics from particular songs on the album were personal to him allowing him to give such soulful performances during live shows. The album has proved to be one of the band’s most successful as Hybrid Theory has since been named the best modern classic of the last fifteen years in 2012. With Loudwire ranking it number 10 on its Best Hard Rock Albums list. The band exploded on the alternative music scene and continued to release numerous albums: Meteora (2003), Minutes to Midnight (2007), A Thousand Suns (2010), Living Things (2012), The Hunting Party (2014) and One More Light in May this year which the band were currently touring to support.
Chester’s insanely successful career as a music artist was not his only achievements in life however. On May 12th 1996, Chester welcomed his first child into the world with then-partner Elka Brand and adopting Brand’s other son in 2006. He had another son in 2002 with his first wife Samantha Marie Olit before divorcing in 2005 to lead to his second marriage in 2006 with Talinda Ann Bentley and had three more children. Chester was also a tattoo enthusiast which can been seen by pictures of his own body art and did work to promote with Club Tattoo, a tattoo parlour in Arizona.
Chester’s love of music began at an early age when he listened to bands like Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots and would later achieve his dream of becoming a member of the latter. In his early life Chester struggled with drug addiction but was able to overcome this and focus his energy into his musical career allowing him to soar high in the music wold. Throughout his career Chester was plagued with poor health, falling ill many times during touring leaving for some shows to be cancelled and others postponed. Still, Chester prevailed in his career and continued to provide us with the music we have all come to know and love.
My personal relationship with Linkin Park and Chester’s music will remain in my memories, immortalised as part of the reason my love for music has only continued to grow throughout my life. Out of respect for his family and friends details of his death will not be discussed but I feel I am able to say, along with an uncountable number of fans, that Chester will be greatly missed. The music world becoming just a little quieter without him. We have lost many music legends in recent time and Chester has now been added to the stars who will continue to shine.
By Skye W. Winwood