LINKIN PARK's CHESTER BENNINGTON: 5 things you didn't know | Revolver

LINKIN PARK's CHESTER BENNINGTON: 5 things you didn't know

Singer's Grey Daze bandmate and lifelong friend reveals the man behind the microphone
chester bennington linkin park GETTY smile portrait, Alexandra Wyman/WireImage
photograph by Alexandra Wyman/WireImage

Grey Daze's classic Nineties albums, Wake Me and No Sun Today, are now available on vinyl for the first time ever. Get these extremely limited pressings exclusively from Revolver's shop!

Listening to Chester Bennington sing — either in Linkin Park or his prior band, Grey Daze — could feel like communing with someone who knows you better than you know yourself. It makes you feel as though you knew him deeply and personally, too. In that cathartic, transcendently sorrowful voice, you hear this man's ultimate essence, everything he's ever felt, everything he's ever been through. It's a voice that helps articulate your most inaccessible emotions, a voice that feels like a confidante for your most intense and essential feelings.

When the needle clicks, it feels as though you've gotten a glimpse of his soul. But, outside of his music, Chester could be whimsical, a jokester, prosaic, lighthearted — everything you didn't get to hear in his recordings with Linkin Park, Dead by Sunrise, Stone Temple Pilots and Grey Daze.

In honor of his late best friend, Bennington's Grey Daze bandmate, Sean Dowdell, revealed five fascinating things about the beloved singer that even most diehard fans might not know.

1. He was incredibly athletic
He was an avid sportsman. We would go to many basketball games and football games, and we would play basketball a lot. Unfortunately, Chester would get hurt a lot, so we had to curtail our basketball escapades as his tours would approach. He slipped on a bottle of water playing basketball once and had to cancel some shows. I was not there for that, otherwise his management would have blamed me — they had fun blaming me for everything bad that happened to him. He was an avid surfer and loved to surf. I believe at one point Kelly Slater, one of the world's best surfers, surfed with him and taught him how to surf quite well. He loved the ocean.

2. He was the opposite of a picky eater
He was one of the most exploratory eaters I had ever met. We could go to a restaurant and he wouldn't look at the menu, he'd just close his eyes, point and say, "Give me that!" It would usually end up being some weird thing and he'd say, "Sure, let's try it." He was very adventurous when it came to food, and when it came to a lot of things. He loved to explore new things.

3. He was a Buffalo Soldier at heart
He was a huge reggae fan. That was one of the reasons he used to have dreads in Grey Daze. He loved Bob Marley. 

4. He was ambidextrous
He was left-handed but did a lot of things right-handed — playing guitar was one of them, which always threw me through a loop. I could never wrap my head around that, it's a very difficult thing to do. That's just a tribute to how creative he really was, to be able to do that.

5. He was a lifelong mischief-maker
He was the biggest prankster. One of the best I can think of that we did to each other: We both lived in the same neighborhood in Arizona for a while, just before he moved back to Los Angeles for the last time in around 2009. That Christmastime, I bought a big statue of Sasquatch and put it in his front yard for all his neighbors to see how atrocious his taste was. We loved to do that kind of crap.

The following year I got this naked chimpanzee statue, who was standing there with a cowboy hat and a beer — he put that on my lawn. I think I then sent him three or four of those when he got back to L.A. I would just ship them to him, the same stupid naked chimpanzee statue. Talinda [Bennington, Chester's wife] would say, "Well, we've got your giant box." I'd send them out in crates. We played a lot of pranks on each other, we were always laughing with and at each other. Something I miss a lot is his laugh.

He laughed at himself a lot, he was really good at laughing at himself. Any time he was in a playful, joking situation with his friends and we could zing each other — not in a hurtful way — that was where he thrived. We loved to tease each other. It was our way of telling you that we loved you. If you were in the group and we were teasing you, you knew you were in. That was something he really liked to do.