Chester Bennington is a vampire fighting to keep control of his undead life, by writing about his past.
I’d always had trouble fighting my predatory nature. Keeping the beast within me under control. Thinking of you mere mortals as my playthings, put on god’s green earth for my amusement. That was until I met the man who would change the way I thought forever. He had some strange control over me, over the beast that lives deep within me.
My name is Chester Bennington, and I’m your neighbourhood vampire. I know that sounds cheesy, but I honestly couldn’t think of any other way to break it to you. Many of my kind walk amongst you. But none like me. Why am I so special, you may ask. Well you see, I have friends, a job. And I haven’t killed a single one of you for the past nine years. Aren’t I good? I guess before I get to all that, I better fill you in about myself. And how I became what I am.
I was born in 1941 in Phoenix, Arizona, into a fairly wealthy family. And unlike the biographers today say, I had a very happy childhood. My friends helped me make up a past, to explain the dark persona that comes naturally to me, as a vampire. Anyway, before I lose my train of thought. My mother and father were the most caring, loving parents any kid could ask for. And I was the perfect son until I became a teenager. I was outrageous, rebellious. Not much has changed, as I’m the eternal teenager. My parents always gave me everything I wanted. You could say I was kind of a spoilt brat. So when I begged, sulked, and generally threw a tantrum, they bought me my first guitar. I was fifteen years old. And the second my young fingers touched the smooth wood and came to rest on the strings, I knew I wanted to be a musician.
I practiced every night until I thought I was truly good enough to play in public. That’s when I started my first band with some friends from school. We played a few high school dances. But we were never destined for greatness.
My first big break came in 1962, when I was twenty-one years old and working in a local bar while at university. I was majoring in English literature, but to be honest it bored the hell out of me. All those stuffy old books by long since dead authors and professors who all seemed to have a stick up their asses. It made me ache for humanity, to be out in the world amongst likeminded people. That’s why I took the job at the bar. I didn’t need the money, just the company.
We always had live bands on a Saturday night. I hated them, they always bored the hell out of me. The bands the boss got were never very good. But I guess that’s because he was a cheap arsehole. But it was here I met Dan and Mitch. To cut a long and boring story short. They were up on stage playing some stuffy old shit, I can’t remember what, now. But it’s been forty-five years. God, has it really been that long? Time moves so fast these days. Anyway, nobody was paying them the slightest bit of attention, except me, of course. They were great musicians, but they lacked something. They appeared to have no stage presence. Dan, who was the singer, couldn’t draw in a crowd, couldn’t get them to pay attention at all. But he had my full attention. The way he played the guitar took my breath away. And I longed to be up on the stage with him. We spoke that night for the first time. They were great guys, and they would become good friends, almost brothers, of mine.
I joined the band after only one jam session. I was now lead singer and bass player for Monkeyfish. Strange name, I know, but the person who gave it that name was strange. Can you guess who it was? We were together for three years. We toured and even released two singles. And they were pretty good. I loved the band and the music, but most of all, the guys. Life was peachy. But as we all know, when things are going so well for you, something always has to come along and fuck things up when you least expect it.
We had a gig to do in Austin, Texas, that we were all looking forward to. It was going to be our biggest and, most importantly, our last show of the tour. We’d been on the road for the last twelve months, with only fifteen days off. We were exhausted. But there was still one thing to look forward to. The after show party. The show was amazing. I was up on stage with my two best friends. The crowd was awesome and we really rocked the place. But I’d made a mistake before I got on that stage, one that I wouldn’t live to regret. But it would haunt me for all eternity. For a vampire, that’s a very long time.
I was exhausted before we went on stage. And our manager was going mental. I guess he thought I had been out all night drinking. But the truth was I hadn’t even touched a drop. It was just the tour had taken the last drop of energy I had. That’s why I made the first mistake of the last night of my life. Phil, our tour manager, insisted that I take speed. He told me it would wake me up enough to be able to play the show. I wasn’t naïve about drugs. I knew what they did. And normally I wouldn’t have touched them in a million years. But I needed something to get me through the show.
I couldn’t believe how fantastic I felt. I had all the energy in the world. It had other positive effects that I couldn’t have even imagined. I normally suffered terrible pre show nerves. I was known for throwing up on the way to the stage. But that night I had none. And that was to be the beginning of my downfall.
As we headed to the after show party, I couldn’t stay still. I was so excited. And I guess kind of high. The club was full, with everyone from music executives, to other bands, to some of the fans we had just played to. I was happy about that. I was our fans biggest fan. I loved them all. They were the coolest in the world and I always liked to hang with them. As we walked through the room, all the faces blurred into one. I shook so many hands and greeted so many fans. There was no way I could have remembered anyone out of the crowd, until I saw her. God, she was beautiful. I don’t think I had ever seen beauty in my life. She intoxicated me with her mere presence. From that second I knew I had to have her. And as I walked over to her, I was filled with such confidence.
“Hey,” I said to her. How original, huh.
“Hey there, handsome.”
She wanted me, I knew she did. But I still couldn’t believe what I said to her next.
“So sweetheart, your place or mine?”
I didn’t believe it had come out of my mouth. I normally did ok with women, but I was never that forward. But it worked, I had hardly been in the club more than ten minutes and I was leaving with the most gorgeous woman in the world on my arm.
We only got around the corner when she pounced on me. Her kisses set me on fire. And it didn’t hurt that I thought I was going to get laid right here on the street. But she had other ideas. She traced a small line of kisses down my neck. And it was getting me so hot. Then she bit me. As she sucked my life away through the two small puncture wounds on my neck, I was frozen. There was nothing I could do to help myself. I could feel the life slipping away from me. But it was not frightening. I was in pure ecstasy and then she stopped. I couldn’t understand, I wanted more. I needed more. But she just stood looking at me.
“Do you want to die, sweetie?”
It was a weird question. But I couldn’t answer.
“If you don’t, honey, you gotta drink,” she said as she cut her own wrist and held it out to me.
I wanted to turn and run. But I still couldn’t move. And I didn’t want to die. So I drank her hungrily until I was pushed away.
As she walked away I collapsed to the floor. I could hear my own heartbeat dying away. And then I was no more. Well that’s not entirely true; I’m still here. But the man that I was then has all but disappeared. Only snippets of him remain. They are the only remnants that I didn’t kill when I killed Dan and Mitch.
I wanted them to be with me forever. I gave them my sweet vampire’s kiss. But they never returned it. If I had a heart it would have broken it. But then the monster in me was in control. Only now do I feel the pain and loss. So now you know how I became what I am. What do you think? Do you still love me? Do you even want to know more? Just give me time to wrack my old vampire brain. Then I will let you in on more of my secrets.