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Deceased Linkin Park Frontman's Band Had Strong Santa Monica Ties

 
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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

July 20, 2017 -- Home was a somnolent suburb at the far edge of L.A. But it was an infamously troubled park in Santa Monica that formed the identity of successful rock/hip hop band “Linkin Park.”

On Thursday, that was a painful bit of 2000s rock history to remember, as news spread about Linkin frontman Chester Bennington, found dead in his Palos Verdes Estates home by police at about 9 a.m.

“Shocked and heartbroken, but it's true,” bandmate Mike Shinoda tweeted later in the day. “An official statement will come out as soon as we have one.”

One More Light album cover

Bennington’s death is being investigated as a suicide. He was 41.

As the story goes, it was Bennington who thought of naming the band in honor of Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park, which had become mostly known for its homeless encampment and problems with drugs.

The City spent $520,000 and nine months renovating Lincoln Park before its re-opening in 1995. Three years later, it was renamed Christine Emerson Reed Park after the council member.

("One More Light" album cover, courtesy Warner Brothers)

As the story goes, it was Bennington who thought of naming the band in honor of Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park, which had become mostly known for its homeless encampment and problems with drugs.

The City spent $520,000 and nine months renovating Lincoln Park before its re-opening in 1995. Three years later, it was renamed Christine Emerson Reed Park after the council member.

Before the renovations, Bennington was accustomed to driving by Lincoln Park on his way to rehearsals with the band he had recently landed a spot on, then known as “Xerox.”

The name-change was a go, but the spelling was changed to acquire an internet URl name, linkinpark.com.

Its founders -- Sinoda, Rob Bourdon and Brad Delson -- were buddies from their days at Agoura High School in Agoura Hills. They recruited Bennington from Arizona.

A compelling force on stage, Bennington’s vocals were often explosions of pain, hopelessness and vulnerability. His early life had been scarred by sexual abuse.

Later, it was filled with battles over depression, substance abuse and addiction.

He was open about his struggles. But despite his personal ups and downs Bennington remained a driving force for Linkin Park, which reached its first success with its 2000 debut album, “Hybrid Theory,” a mix of heavy metal and hip-hop.

LinkinPark’s sound, though, was shot through with Bennington’s anguished lyrics in such songs such as “Crawling” and “In the End.”

Linkin Park’s popularity didn’t falter. Its new album, “One More Light,” debuted at the top of the charts when it was released in May.

On Thursday, mourning for Bennington began.

“Chester Bennington was an artist of extraordinary talent and charisma, and a human being with a huge heart and a caring soul,” Warner Bros. Records CEO/ Chairman Cameron Strang said in a statement.

Bennington’s inner turmoil seemed to have calmed, at least in interviews, as the band prepared to release its new album, "One More Light," which was released in May and featured a cover shot in Venice Beach.

“Where I’m at right now in 2017 is as far on the opposite side of the scale to where I was at this time in 2015,” he told Rock Sound. “I literally hated life and I was like, ‘I don’t want to have feelings.’ And now I’m like, ‘Bring it on!’ ”

Bennington is survived by his wife Talinda Bennington and his six children.

 


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