Linkin Park’s Bennington performed for Palos Verdes Peninsula school kids

Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington performing at the 2016 From Classic to Rock concert at the Norris Theater. Photo by Cynthia Halverson (

Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington performing at the 2016 From Classic to Rock concert at the Norris Theater. Photo by Cynthia Halverson (

In March 2016, Chester Bennington told Palos Verdes Peninsula parents who filled the Norris Theater, “The schools here are so great because the parents are so involved in their kids’ lives.”

Bennington’s praise came during a break at the From Classic to Rock concert, organized by Marten Andersson, of the band Lizzy Borden. The concert raised over $50,000 for Peninsula school music programs. Bennington and his wife Talinda had several children in Peninsula schools.

Bennington’s band Linkin Park had won multiple Grammys. Their 2001, breakthrough album “Hybrid Theory” sold over 10 million copies. During From Classic to Rock, Bennington and Andersson performed with fellow South Bay music stars Stone Temple Pilots, Gary Wright (“Dream Weaver”) , Chas West (Bonham and Foreigner), Monte Pittman (Madonna), LA Philharmonic violinist Yutong and Long Beach Symphony cellist Stan Sharp

The evening closed with the musicians singing Bob Dylan’s elegiac “Knock Knock Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” They were backed by the Peninsula High School choir.

On Thursday, July 20, while his was family vacationing in Arizona, Bennington was found dead in his Palos Verdes Estates home, of an apparent suicide.

From Classic to Rock performers and organizers (left to right) Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, Stone Temple Pilots’ Dean DeLeo, musician and composer Gary Wright, Schools Superintendent Donald Austin, Ed Foundation Development Director Cheryl Ward, Ed Foundation Board President Roma Mistry, PTSA Council President Beth Myerhoff, School Board member Malcolm Sharp, Stone Temple Pilots’ Robert DeLeo, Lizzy Borden’s Marten Andersson, PYT singer Lauren Mayhew and event co-producer Amy Friedman. Photo by Cynthia Halverson (

Bennington struggled with mental demons throughout his life. He traced them to having been sexually abused in his youth.

“I have been able to tap into all the negative things that can happen to me by numbing myself to the pain, so to speak, and kind of being able to vent it through my music,” he said in a 2009 interview with the website Noisecreep.

That year he declared himself free of drugs. But if his music offers any insight, he was not free of his demons. His last single “Heavy,” released in February, includes the lyrics:

You say that I’m paranoid

But I’m pretty sure the world is out to get me

It’s not like I make the choice

To let my mind stay so f….ing messy

Following his death, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified Superintendent Don Austin told the Daily Breeze, “All day I’ve been receiving calls and texts from people expressing their sadness for the loss of someone who, anyone who knows him would describe as a great guy, and our interactions together were the same. It was very clear that being a dad was more important to him than anything else. Our thoughts are with his family.” ER


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