Who is Chester Bennington?

Posted on February 16, 2012

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By Conor Murray

There aren’t many things Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington hasn’t done.

Lead vocalist for one of the biggest bands in the world; acted in the recent SAW and Crank movie franchise; has produced both films and music all over the world; started his own charity along with members of Linkin Park and has raised more than 1 million dollars for various different charities…not too shabby for someone only 35 years old.

However, not everything was always so bright for the Linkin Park singer.

Bennington was born in Phoenix, Arizona on March 20th 1976.. In the late 80s, his mother and father separated, to which was the starting block of a difficult time in the singer’s life. He struggled with the separation and became addicted to both cocaine and methamphetamine. He managed to fuel his drug addiction by working in a fast food restaurant close to his house. Eventually though, he kicked the habit and has managed to stay away from both alcohol and drugs to this very day.

Bennington has, however, claimed that despite these dark times in his youth, it has influenced much of the lyrics he has written that has made him a very popular songwriter. Even in his youth, Bennington was still interested in making music and becoming a star.

Jeff Blue was that man.

Blue, the vice president of Zomba music in Los Angeles signed up Bennington to a band called Grey Daze to which Bennington was not fond of and quit in 1998 after just a few months performing.

Blue, however, saw the talent that Bennington possessed and whisked him and his family off to California, where he had a successful audition with the band then named Hybrid Theory. However, due to the inclusion of its newest arrival the band agreed that a new name was needed since fresh life had been injected into the set-up.

Linkin Park was born.

Following the next year and a half of painful rejections by recording companies and harsh conditions to record, the band released their debut album in 2000 called their previous name: Hybrid Theory.

Initially regarded as “rebel pop band”, Linkin Park blew away both critics and the general public with a sound not been previously heard. In essence, Hybrid Theory defined a genre and created an entire new one in the meantime.

The album grew to be a phenomenon. It has sold more than 4.8 million copies in 2000, making it the best selling album of the year. Also, statistics from 2010 reveal that the album has sold 24 million copies worldwide. 10 million units sold in the United States alone. Ultimately, the album is the most successful debut alum of the 21st century so far. It has managed to surpass such acts as Lady Gaga, Adele, Beyoncé and others who are to this day, worldwide superstars. It is truly an remarkable accomplishment.

Fast forward 12 years and band have garnered accolades that every band would dream of. They have an overall record of 70 million albums sold worldwide, two Grammy awards and have collaborated with such stars as Paul McCartney, Jay Z and Busta Rhymes.

However, Bennington’s health throughout his career has hindered his fame outside of the band. In 2001, during a worldwide tour, he received a venomous bite from a Recluse spider, which severely hindered the band’s tour as some dates had to be cancelled while Bennington recovered. Moreover, in a recent tour promoting their latest album, ‘A Thousand Suns’, the band were forced to cancel three shows as Bennington had injured his shoulder on stage. Doctors had advised the band not to continue touring while their lead singer was in this condition. The band had to reluctantly cancel their final date of the tour, resulting in the end of the tour, much to their dismay.

Bennington’s personal life in 2007 also came under threat from a cyber stalker.  One particular email sent by the woman, Devon Townsend, read “I’m watching you” to Bennington’s wife while he was on tour. He informed the police immediately and the woman was found and put a trial. It was later revealed that she attempted to gain access to his PayPal account, phoning his mobile in the early hours of the morning and monitoring his house. Townsend was sentenced to two years in prison, with a restraining order put in place against her contacting the Linkin Park’s singer’s family.

Bennington now has to constantly change his passwords to protect himself and his family. He has said: “I keep a list for every different thing, and it drives me out of my fucking mind.”

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Posted in: Profiles