Despite his drug problems, however, Bennington never forgot his childhood dream of becoming a rock star -- he was a huge fan of Depeche Mode
and Stone Temple Pilots
-- and in 1993, he joined up as the lead singer of the local band Grey Daze. The band built a sizable following around the Phoenix area, but Bennington ultimately grew unhappy with the group and decided to leave in the late '90s over creative differences. He then moved to Los Angeles and became the final piece of burgeoning rap-metal act Linkin Park
in 1999. (Bennington came up with the name, changing their moniker from Hybrid Theory
After multiple label rejections and gaining a notable local fan base, Linkin Park
signed to Warner Bros.
and released their debut album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000, which went on to attain multi-platinum-selling status. The band's visceral mix of rock, rap, and electronics resulted in a slew of hit singles and turned Linkin Park
into one of the most popular mainstream rock groups in the early part of new millennium. Likewise, Bennington's oft-tortured vocals became one of the most distinctive in the alternative rock scene. Six of the band's seven studio albums hit number one, and each of the first three earned multi-platinum status. Outside of Linkin Park
, Bennington enjoyed working on a side solo project with producers Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck, both of Orgy, entitled Dead by Sunrise
. Originally slated for a 2006 release, his Linkin Park
commitments pushed the release of the album, Out of Ashes, back to 2009.
After the release of Linkin Park
's seventh studio album, One More Light, in May of 2017, and just one week before beginning a major American tour, Bennington was found dead at his home in Southern California; he was 41 years old. ~ Corey Apar, Rovi