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RIP Chester Bennington of Linkin Park

"Crawling in My Skin" -- Inked Feb 2013

By Richard Bienstock. Photos by Chris Hinkle

Chester Bennington of Linkin Park hanged himself. While he couldn't beat his inner demons, he helped us battle our own through his music and lifestyle. We want to remember the rocker the way he was when we last spoke to him in 2013 and the heartbreaking message he sent after Chris Cornell committed suicide two months ago.

Read the article below and then his note on Cornell's death in the jump.

“What’s that shit on your fucking arm?”

Chester Bennington’s dad was pissed. His son had made a promise to wait until at least his 18th birthday before getting a tattoo—and here it was, not long after that day, that the younger Bennington strolled home with his first bit of ink, a Pisces on his left shoulder. For his father, it was not so much the image itself that set him off, but rather what tattoos in general symbolized.

“My dad was a police officer in Arizona and so his experiences with people with tattoos was different,” recalls the now 36-year-old Bennington. “To him, they were something associated with shitty people—convicts and criminals and guys in gangs. And he didn’t want his son to be like that. But I’m from a different time and I see it differently. To me, it’s a way to be free and to not be con ned by what society thinks you should or shouldn’t do. It’s a way to express yourself.”

And so the 18-year-old Bennington expressed himself with a big, colorful fish, which spurred the aforementioned interrogation from his father. “I responded, ‘It’s a tattoo,’” recalls Bennington, stating the obvious. “And he said, ‘You know that will never come off. You wanna be stuck with that for your whole life?’” Bennington laughs. “And I was 18 years old and de ant and so I went, ‘Yeah! You’re fucking right I do!’”

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