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LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 09: Musicians Chester Bennington (L) and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park perform onstage during Rock in Rio USA at the MGM Resorts Festival Grounds on May 9, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Shortly after Linkin Park released its touching memorial statement for singer Chester Bennington, the group’s Mike Shinoda added to the emotion by posting online the first band photo with Bennington in the lineup.

In the accompanying statement, Shinoda writes, “1997 or 1998…I think this was the first photo we ever took together. 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. The band was called Zero at the time, and we probably had less than half a dozen songs. No flame tattoos yet, no red hair yet, most of us were still in college.”

 

Linkin Park has canceled all tour plans in the wake of Bennington’s death on July 20 and has not yet addressed any future plans for the band.

 

Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.

Erica Banas is rock/classic rock news blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.