Interview with Chester Bennington
With their new album « Live In Texas », Linkin Park is still topping the charts. Back after his medical problems, Chester Bennington agreed for a new interview, in which he reveals a few surprising aspects of his personnality.
One: You’re 28, married and father of a baby boy. Still when you’re singing, you express the pain of million of teenagers. How do you manage to talk about their problems now that they’re not yours anymore?
Chester Bennington: Simply because I’ve been through solitude, feeling of abandon, violence and drug. Before my parents divorced, I had a perfect childhood, I was a good pupil and I was feeling very good. But when my mum left , I suddenly lost it. I was 11 and I strated to take drugs. In class, I was sleeping and my health started to decline. I lost weight until looking like a starver. I remember very well this period of my life, even though I got out luckily of it. I’ve managed to overcome my problems and that’s why now I can talk about in our songs. I’ve made the worst mistakes and I’ve learned things that now, I hope, will help the kids who listen to our records. If it can help them to find their way and realise their dreams, that’s good.
One: What were you dreaming of when you were a teenager?
Chester Bennington: I loved Depeche Mode and I used to sing along their songs. I often dreamed that I was becoming the 5th memeber of the band. I imagined that their plane would land in my school and that they were taking me on tour with them. (laughs).
One: To the opposite of many rock albums, “Hybrid Theory” doesn’t contain any cursing.
Chester Bennington: It’s true, we wanted to stand out. We were thinking that, to be honest, we shouldn’t try to hide our emotions behind cursing. We wanted to be sincere and not to shock. I suppose it surprises people who don’t know us. After a concert, the people that we meet are always astonished that we’re not agresive or frightening. But it’s not our style, we are normal guys doing music, that’s all. I think that it’s important to show the kids that you can express yourself without being agressive or violent.
One: You’ve got a lot of tattoes all over your body. Why?
Chester Bennington: To get tattoed is the most painful experience you could ever imagine and, at the same time, it’s beautiful and reveals a lot about your personnality. When people see my tattoes, I want them to help them to understand who I am. When I started, I didn’t plan to have as many tattoes, but I got them. There’s one I’m really proud of. When I got married in 1996, my fiancee Samantha and I didn’t have enough money to buy our rings, so we got them tattoed instead.
One: I’ve noticed that when you’re on tour you’ve got more luggage than the rest of the band....
Chester Bennington: (Chester looks in an other way, looking embarrassed) Yes, I admit it, I’m a fashion victim! (laughs). I own dozens of pair of shoes. One for each outfit! My underwears are generaly matching my clothes and my socks are matching my shoes. I suppose it says that I’m crazy, but it really matters to me.
One: Is your wife worried to see young and beautiful girls hitting on you after your concerts?
Chester Bennington: I suppose that she’s worried and, after all, it’s natural that a wife whose husband travels a lot questions herself. But we’ve been married for nearly 8 years and our realtion is important. Samantha is just perfect. I don’t deserve her.
One: What’s the strangest thing a fan has ever asked you?
Chester Bennington: A completely crazy fan asked to have my pubic hairs! I was disgusted....
One: What’s your favorite movie?
Chester Bennington: “Fight Club”, without hesitation. Brad Pitt is a real god in this movie, an incredible incarnation of the punk-rock spirit. This movie is awesome and sums up really well the Ameraican culture. I also like “The Crow” a lot, my son Draven has been named in tribute to the hero of the movie, Eric Draven.
One: Do you have any hidden gift which would surprise your fans?
Chester Bennington: I’m an excellent cook. My wife says that’s the reason why she stays with me! (laughs) I can cook a normal steak with just salt and pepper and it will be the best one you’ll ever taste. The secret is to cook with love.
One: What’s the record we’d be surprised to find in your collection?
Chester Bennington: I shouldn’t be saying it but I’ve got all Madonna’s albums. (laughs)
"One" Magazine (France) - March/April 2004