Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda remembers Chester Bennington with the first photo they took together

Linkin Park
Mike Shinoda (L) and Chester Bennington (R) of Linkin Park. Rich Fury/Getty

After Linkin Park shared a moving tribute letter on Monday to the band’s late lead singer, Chester Bennington, the group’s rapper-producer Mike Shinoda took to Instagram to share an early photo of Bennington.

The late ’90s picture, taken before Linkin Park had released any music, shows Shinoda and Bennington in the “first photo” they ever took together.

“1997 or 1998 … I think this was the first photo we ever took together,” Shinoda wrote in the caption. “We had just told Chester that we wanted him to join the band. He said he was ready to move out from Arizona to L.A. We went to a pizza place near UCLA to hang out and talk about what to do next.” 

In the band’s emotional tribute letter issued the same day, the group reflected on Bennington’s talents, charisma, and personal demons. Bennington committed suicide last week.

“Your absence leaves a void that can never be filled — a boisterous, funny, ambitious, creative, kind, generous voice in the room is missing,” the band wrote.”We’re trying to remind ourselves that the demons who took you away from us were always part of the deal.”