Mike Shinoda Shares First Picture Linkin Park Took With Chester Bennington

July 24, 2017
Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park

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Mike Shinoda just opened his personal photo album for the world to see in honor of his late bandmate, Chester Bennington. The image, which dates back to “1997 or 1998,” shows the young band when they asked Bennington to join—pre-red hair and flame tattoos, as Shinoda points out.


1997 or 1998...I think this was the first photo we ever took together. We had just told Chester that we wanted him to join the band. He said he was ready to move out from Arizona to L.A. We went to a pizza place near UCLA to hang out and talk about what to do next. The band was called Xero at the time, and we probably had less than a half a dozen songs. No flame tattoos yet, no red hair yet, most of us were still in college.

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Interestingly enough, while the nu metal band became synonymous with the fierce vocals of Chester Bennington, he wasn’t the original singer. Joining the band in the late ‘90s, Bennington replaced singer Mark Wakefield. The band also went through several name changes, from Xero to Hybrid Theory—also the name of their debut album—before settling on Linkin Park.

On Monday, Linkin Park released their first statement following Bennington’s death, and you can read it here