Chester Charles Bennington (born March 20, 1976) is an American musician, singer-songwriter and actor. He is best known as the lead vocalist of rock bands Linkin Park and Dead by Sunrise. He was originally the lead vocalist for Sean Dowdell And His Friends? and Grey Daze. As of 2013, he is the current lead vocalist for Stone Temple Pilots.
Bennington became known as a vocalist with Linkin Park's debut album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000, which was a massive commercial success. The album was certified Diamond by the RIAA in 2005, making it the best-selling debut album of the decade, as well as one of the few albums to ever hit that many sales. Linkin Park's following studio albums, Meteora, Minutes to Midnight, A Thousand Suns, and Living Things, released in 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2012 respectively, continued the band's success. Bennington formed his own band, Dead by Sunrise as a side-project in 2005. The band's debut album, Out of Ashes was released on October 13, 2009. He worked on new material with Stone Temple Pilots in 2013 to release the EP High Rise on October 5, 2013 via their own record label, Play Pen LLC / ADA. Bennington has been ranked in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader (#46).
Chester Bennington was born on March 20, 1976, in Phoenix, Arizona, to a nurse and a Phoenix police detective who worked with child sex abuse cases and took double shifts. He is ofEnglish descent. Bennington took interest in music at a young age, citing Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots as early inspirations and dreamed of becoming a member of Depeche Mode. Bennington's parents divorced when he was eleven years old and his father gained custody of him. As a result of the divorce, Bennington started abusing marijuana,alcohol, opium, cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD. Bennington eventually overcame his drug addiction, and would go on to denounce drug use in future interviews. During a Linkin Park tour, he started heavily drinking but claimed to have quit in 2011 noting "I just don't want to be that person anymore". In an interview, Bennington revealed that he suffered sexual abuse from an older male friend when he was seven years old. He was afraid to ask for help because he did not want people to think he was gay or lying and the abuse continued until age thirteen. The abuse and situation at home affected him so much that he felt the urge to kill and run away. To comfort himself, he drew pictures and wrote poetry and songs. Later, he revealed the abuser's identity to his father but Bennington chose not to continue the case after he realized the abuser was a victim himself. At the age of seventeen, he moved in with his mother and was banned from leaving the house when his mother discovered his drug activity. He worked at a Burger King restaurant and used his money for cocaine and crystal methbefore starting his career as a professional musician.
Bennington’s first band was Sean Dowdell and His Friends? when they released the three-track cassette in 1993 that's the same name as the band, before he and Sean Dowdell moved to form the band Grey Daze, a post-grunge band from Phoenix, Arizona  to record Wake Me in 1994, Demo in 1995, and ...No Sun Today in 1997. He left Grey Daze in 1998, but struggled to find another band to sing in. After nearly quitting his musical career altogether, Jeff Blue, the vice president of A&R at Zomba Music in Los Angeles, offered Bennington an audition with the future members of Linkin Park. Bennington quit his day job at a digital services firm, and took his family to California, where he had a successful audition with Linkin Park, who were then called "Xero". he recorded the song for his audition and managed to finish it one day missing his birthday in the process.
Bennington and Mike Shinoda, the band’s other vocalist, made significant progress together, but failed to find a record deal. After facing numerous rejections, Jeff Blue, now a vice president of A&R at Warner Bros., intervened again to help the band sign with Warner Bros. Records.
Bennington was physically bullied in high school. In an interview, he said "I was knocked around like a rag doll at school for being skinny and looking different". He went on to say that joining a band where his voice mattered more really helped.