Music & Culture

Remembering Chester Bennington of Linkin Park

It’s hard to believe that it has already been two years since Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington passed away. Even now, it is still a difficult subject to talk about, especially for fans and those closest to him.

When trying to figure out what to write for this article, so many ideas went through my mind. I tried to think of the best way to honor him, and at the same time, try to bring comfort to those reading it. I realized that the best way I could do this was reaching out to fans and people who knew Chester and asking them to share their stories about him. Through this, I hope it brings back happy memories of him and shows how wonderful of a person he was and how he remains so impactful.

There are so many stories I’ve read throughout the years from other Linkin Park fans who have met Chester, and when I was researching for this article, a Reddit user, /u/ChildofChaos, reached out to me with theirs. Here is their story exactly as they wrote it.

Below is the video of the speech that /u/ChildofChaos mentioned:

The next story comes from Jim Louvau, a photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. Louvau was a friend of Chester’s for over 16 years and photographed him for over a decade. Earlier this year, Louvau opened a gallery dedicated to his photographs of Chester in Los Angeles, and just last month, he opened another one in Phoenix. With his permission, here are excerpts from his story he shared with Phoenix New Times.

“I was the vocalist for a makeup-heavy, industrial-influenced rock band called Victims in Ecstacy, which was opening for a then-unknown Los Angeles band called Linkin Park at the old Mason Jar in Phoenix…[Chester’s] interest in helping others was apparent that night. During our set, we broke our snare drum and I was forced to make small talk with the crowd to buy time. Chester, a skinny kid with bleached-blond hair, came to our rescue, loaning us Linkin Park’s snare, which allowed us to finish the show…We ran into each other again a month later, when Linkin Park played an early slot on that year’s That Damn Show at Peoria Sports Complex. I missed his set again that day, but while standing backstage, Chester tapped me on the shoulder, hugged me, and praised me.”

“After spending years in Los Angeles, Chester returned to Arizona during the aughts, living in Gilbert with Talinda, his second wife. He began doing charity work for Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, raising money for patients and improvements at the hospital. I toured the hospital with Chester as a photographer, watching him meet with children and talking with families that were dealing with situations that no kid should have to deal with. The vibe was often very melancholy, but Chester’s smile when he walked through the door was infectious, and he made others feel at ease.”

These stories are just two of the hundreds, probably thousands, that are out there revealing another side to Chester Bennington that many people didn’t know about. Besides being an iconic vocalist and frontman, he was a kind-hearted man who wanted nothing more than to help others. During a conversation about his legacy with Louvau, Bennington said “There are lots of perks to being in Linkin Park that I enjoy…But outside of that, all I want to do is be a dad and just do good things for my community and for people that I can help out.”

Bennington was a man who wasn’t afraid to bare his heart and soul on stage, and despite his rockstar status, remained a humble and kind human being. He has helped so many people feel less alone in their struggles and provided comfort to them. Chester Bennington was truly a wonderous anomaly in this world, and he will always be remembered not just for his music, but for just being him.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please know that there are resources out there to help. Here is a link to resources around the world.

Featured Image: Instagram (@chesterbe)