Chester Bennington’s Last Days: Linkin Park Singer’s Mix of Hope, Heaviness

On a afternoon of May 26th, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington gave a opening graphic any in his career. His tighten friend, Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, was being laid to rest during a Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. “My name is Chester,” Bennington told a mourners collected there. “I had a good payoff of being a crony of Chris and invited to be a member of his family.” Then, accompanied by Linkin Park bandmate Brad Delson on guitar, he sang “Hallelujah.” Bennington had turn famous in a early 2000s as a powerhouse voice of one of rock’s biggest bands, expressing himself by an angst-ridden scream, though that day his singing was different: plaintive, somber, fragile. He also paid reverence to Cornell on Twitter: “Your voice was fun and pain, annoy and forgiveness, adore and suspense all wrapped adult into one. we suspect that’s what we all are. You helped me know that.”


Less than dual months later, Bennington, too, was being mourned. He died of self-murder by hanging and was found on a morning of Jul 20th in his Palos Verdes Estates home in Los Angeles County, a week before Linkin Park were to set out on a 29-date North American tour. The singer, 41, had been on vacation in Arizona with his wife, Talinda, and his family, though came home early, observant he indispensable to work. TMZ reported that military had found a partially dull bottle of ethanol in a bedroom where he had died. 

Bennington had always been open about his struggles with obsession and depression, though those tighten to him were repelled by his suicide. The day after Cornell’s memorial, Bennington tweeted that he was “feeling unequivocally creative” and had created 6 new songs. Around a same time, he told a friend, Rene Mata, “We have to hang together, and we have so many to live for.”

Bennington had reason to be happy: Linkin Park’s new album, One More Light, had topped a charts when it was expelled in May, and a single, “Heavy,” was doing good on stone radio. In further to a Linkin Park tour, he was formulation a reunion with his pre-fame grunge band, Grey Daze, for September. “He was on tip of a world,” says Sean Dowdell, drummer for Grey Daze and a crony of Bennington’s given their teens, who final talked to him dual days before his death.

Steve Stevens, who plays guitar with Billy Idol, remembers Bennington holding a new puppy while nod everybody who came backstage during an eventuality final Oct for Rock to Recovery, an classification for solemn musicians. “He was creation certain that everybody got to accommodate a dog during a door,” he says. “It was so endearing and so Chester.”

“He was describing an hour-by-hour conflict with addiction. When we demeanour during it now, it’s horrifying” – longtime crony Ryan Shuck

On Linkin Park’s European debate in Jun and July, Bennington seemed to be in tip form. “We saw a many alive and benefaction Chester of my 15-and-a-half-year story with a band,” says Jim Digby, a group’s executive of touring. “He was arguably in a best earthy condition of his life.”

A few days before his death, Bennington had been texting with Robert DeLeo, his bandmate in Stone Temple Pilots (Bennington fronted a rope from 2013 to 2015 after Scott Weiland left a group). His messages were “loving, positive, looking-forward-to-the-future, growing-old kinds of things,” DeLeo recalls. And a day before he died, Bennington e-mailed former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum, observant he’d like to perform again with their all-star covers band, Kings of Chaos.

But some of Bennington’s friends now feel they ignored signs that a singer’s dim side – that he called his “dark passenger,” a anxiety to a force that encouraged a serial-killer protagonist on TV’s Dexter – had been creeping behind into his life. Bennington had left to rehab twice around 2006 and seemed to be solemn in a years after. But friends contend he suffered a three-day relapse final August, during that he blacked out from alcohol, and had been celebration as recently as October.

A month before his death, Bennington told longtime crony Ryan Shuck, who played guitar in Bennington’s side plan Dead by Sunrise, that he was 6 months sober. But Bennington also sent Shuck, who had his possess struggles with alcoholism, some content messages that seemed predicting in hindsight: “He was describing an hour-by-hour conflict with addiction. When we demeanour during it now, it’s horrifying. He was revelation me, down to a detail, what he would do in a initial hour he wanted to drink: ‘I fundamentally only take it hour-by-hour each day.’ ”

Bennington talked about his issues in an interview in Feb with Music Choice. “I have a tough time with life,” he pronounced while describing a definition behind a strike “Heavy.” “Even when it’s good, we only am worried all a time. . . . The opening line, ‘I don’t like my mind right now’ – like, that is me 24 hours a day. And if we get stranded in here, like, we only find life unequivocally hard. It doesn’t have to be.”

Shuck believes Bennington “had a integrate of drinks” only before his death. “We don’t know how much, though it doesn’t take many when you’re that modernized an alcoholic and an addict and you’re battling to a border he described to me. You don’t need many to remove your mind for a minute.”

Shuck and Dowdell downplay conjecture that Cornell’s genocide desirous Bennington’s. While there are similarities – both artists hanged themselves, and Bennington did so on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday – they trust it was mostly a coincidence. “It could be a partial of it, though it’s a tiny partial of it,” Shuck says. “I consider that it’s only another terrible eventuality that gets put in your subconscious. It’s kindling, though a glow was already burning.”

Bennington’s troubles go behind to a nightmarish childhood. He was innate on Mar 20th, 1976, in Phoenix, a youngest of 4 children. His mother, Susan, was a nurse; his father, Lee, was a military investigator who investigated child-sex crimes. They divorced when Chester was 11, and, feeling deserted by his mother, he lived with his dad, whom he after pronounced was not “emotionally stable” during a time.

From a time Chester was 7 or 8 until he was 13, he was intimately abused by an comparison masculine friend. “I was removing beaten adult and being forced to do things we didn’t wish to do,” he once said. “It broken my self-confidence.”

The knowledge led Bennington to try drugs and alcohol. By his teens, he had used opium, amphetamines, pot and cocaine. “I’d splash so many that I’d shit my pants,” he once said. Bennington claimed to have kicked square abuse a initial time in 1992, when a internal squad detonate into a place where he was removing high with his friends and kick and attacked them.

Bennington poured his practice into Linkin Park’s songs, that churned his soul-baring screams with Mike Shinoda’s rapping and a band’s logging riffs for a sound that dominated a cocktail charts for many of a 2000s. “He had a graphic voice, during once ethereal and ferocious,” says actor and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto, who met Bennington on a festival circuit in a 2000s. “It’s a angel and a demon, sitting on both shoulders. You could feel a tragedy between a dual when he sang, and we consider a reason so many people connected to his strain was given of that change he achieved between a two.”

Bennington’s songs, many co-written with Shinoda, became anthems for immature people struggling with some of a same romantic issues. “ ’Crawling,’ for example, is substantially a many verbatim strain lyrically I’d ever created for Linkin Park,” Bennington pronounced of a single, off a band’s megaselling 2000 debut, Hybrid Theory. “That’s about feeling like we had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol.”

Those who knew him contend Bennington didn’t let his struggles conclude his personality. He could be humorous in a youthful approach one notation (he was a fan of scatological humor) and deeply supportive a next: Shuck recalls Bennington kicking himself forever after creation a fun about lung cancer onstage.

His messages were “loving, positive, looking-forward-to-the-future, growing-old kinds of things,” Robert DeLeo recalls.

Bennington would infrequently tell bands that non-stop for Linkin Park, “Next time we competence be opening for we guys.” Sorum remembers how he’d asked a Kings of Chaos rope members to do a gig shortly before Christmas. Bennington and DeLeo were laid over for 12 hours in Chicago, and a drummer felt terrible for gripping them from home during a holiday season. “I e-mailed those guys and said, ‘I apologize. I’m so sorry. Thank we so many for going a distance,’ ” Sorum says. “And standard Chester style, he e-mailed back: ‘Anytime, bro.’ There was no drama. Nothing.”

At home, Bennington found condolence in his 6 kids. He’d turn a father for a initial time during age 20, and initial got married in 1996. That attribute finished in a scattered divorce, noted by a relapse where “I drank myself to a indicate where we couldn’t leave a residence and we couldn’t function,” he recalled. “I wanted to kill myself.” He married Talinda in 2005, and a integrate had a son and twin daughters. Leto remembers going to Bennington’s residence for cooking one night. “I travel in and it’s only jam-packed with a biggest family you’ve ever seen,” he says. “I only couldn’t trust that he had such a pleasing and abounding family life, generally for someone so young. we hadn’t seen so many of that [in him], spending time on a road.”

“He always had beguiling tales of his 6 kids, that he always referred to with a lucent smile, no matter what kind of parental anguish competence have had him do a double take,” says ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, who toured with Bennington in Kings of Chaos within a past year. “His tattoo-parlor business was another highlight; he had me conceptualizing china valuables for a Las Vegas emporium where we whiled divided a hours articulate shop. He was unequivocally an enchanting soul.”

In late July, Shuck paid reverence to Bennington during a private service in Los Angeles, where he review a acknowledgment alongside Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn and Shinoda. (The members of Linkin Park, as good as Talinda Bennington, declined to be interviewed for this story.)

Bennington’s genocide is still resonating among his fans, who gifted a startle call when a news reached a public. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline says it perceived a 14 percent spike in calls on a day after a news broke. 

Ten days after Bennington’s death, a singer’s home was encircled with a proxy six-foot fence. A military cruiser sat outward as fans left flowers, drawings, signs, guitar picks and crosses on a perimeter. “When we found out, we was during a museum, and we only bawled my eyes out,” pronounced 19-year-old Briana Yah-Diaz. “It was like a square of my childhood went away. The little-girl partial of me needs to come adult and compensate my respects. . . . we could always count on them.”

Outside his home, one note read, “Fly giveaway now! With adore all a approach from Texas.” Another said, “Dear Chester Bennington, It hurts all of us to know that we saved so many lives, nonetheless we couldn’t save you. . . .”

Additional stating by Steve Appleford

All donations to Music For Relief will now be destined to a One More Light Fund in respect of Bennington 

Revisit 12 good Linkin Park songs that showcase a talents of a band’s late thespian Chester Bennington.


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