Draven Bennington is excited to carve his own path in life, but he’s definitely been influenced by his late father, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. In the new Paramount+’s new docuseries Family Legacy, the 21-year-old looks back on some of his father’s most iconic moments over the years and touches on his own memories from those days.
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Draven about how there came a point where he wanted to do the complete “opposite” of what made his father so famous. He also admitted that he wants to “change the narrative” about how people remember his father, who tragically passed away in 2017. “I think that we focus too much sometimes on the very end of everything when there was his whole life and he had so many amazing things happen,” he said. Read our Q&A below:
How did you react when you got the call from Paramount+ to do Family Legacy?
Draven Bennington: Honestly, I got a DM. So at first, I wasn’t sure if it was real or not. I was like, okay, I gotta make sure that this isn’t some random person DMing me really quick. But then I started talking with them a little bit more. We did some background checks. I was like, okay, this is really sweet. I had to make sure that they were going to at least have some focus on the kids and what we’re doing and where they’re going with their careers, and not just have it all focused on our lives growing up and stuff like that because I wanted it to be more of an advocate for the kid artists too and everything. They were really supportive of that, and once they were telling me that they wanted that as well, I was really open to it. I was really excited.
As the son of a revered singer, was there a time in your life when you thought about rebelling from that legacy by pursuing a non-artistic path?
Draven Bennington: Yes. Honestly, for the longest time, I wanted to be an engineer or something like that. Very, very, very opposite. But then it took just me realizing that I don’t enjoy that type of work either. I don’t find myself being happy when I’m sitting at a desk all day. So I’m like, okay, what can I do? Funny story is I started with photography and graphic design thinking, okay, that’s somewhere in between art and a serious job and everything like that. I started doing graphic design for Risk Rock, who’s a street artist and everything. He’s amazing. I love him. He took me under his wing, and I interned there for 9 months with him. That’s when I seriously started taking art for myself and doing my own stuff and just expressing my own passions. Ever since then, I’ve just head-dived straight into that.
Fans continue to feel a connection to your dad through his music and will continue to do so for decades to come. Is there a particular piece of your dad’s art that you feel particularly drawn to?
Draven Bennington: Everything he’s made is special to me for just the reason that it’s a part of him that’s still here. I feel really lucky in my situation with having his music and so many videos out there that we have so much footage that I can go back and, when I’m missing him, I can watch that and see him doing what he loved the most and just being happy about it. I’m so grateful for all of that footage because I know that not everybody has that chance to be able to look back on that many hours of somebody that they’ve lost before. I’m very grateful for that. Every piece means so much to me.
You definitely have a lot of the same energy and spirit as your dad. Do people tell you that you remind them of your dad?
Draven Bennington: I do a lot and the one funny thing is that the one thing he couldn’t do is grow a beard, so I’m keeping it.
For many, Chester’s voice was that of a generation going through the trials and tribulations of growing up. How do you want people to remember your dad?
Draven Bennington: I think the best thing is when people are reaching out to me and just letting me know how much he’s changed their life through his music. I don’t know why, but that makes me really happy. What he did and his creative outlet had such an impact on so many different people, and it was able to just save so many people. I think that is the number one thing that I want people to remember him for, and then also just the amount of good times. I kind of want to change the narrative… I think that we focus too much sometimes on the very end of everything when there was his whole life and he had so many amazing things happen. The text messages that I get of people saying, “I was backstage and we had the best conversation with your dad and he was so sweet.” That’s the stuff that I want people to remember. I don’t want people to sit and focus on the end all the time. Although I do think it’s a good conversation to have. I think it’s a necessary conversation to have, but shouldn’t be the thing we remember him as.
You dabble in a lot of different things. You’re an artist, a musician, and an actor. Is there one that you’re particularly focused on at the moment?
Draven Bennington: Definitely the art and music. I’ve tried a little bit of acting here and there, but it was just on some friends’ projects. It was fun. I did this little scene where I got in a prison jumpsuit and got banged against the bars and stuff like that, but nothing super serious down that line yet. So it’s mostly just the art and music right now.