Chester, your music was gut-wrenchingly honest and you will be missed.
When I was in college, the big battles in the music world were Backstreet vs. N’Sync and Britney vs. Christina. The music scene had the usual big money makers, but not much depth until this voice came screaming out of the darkness. Full of angst and honesty, Chester Bennington was an outlet for those of us who had more to express than just “Oops, I did it again.” Hybrid Theory lived in my Discman for months.
I saw Linkin Park when they came to Nashville a decade or so ago and loved it. I was in the crowd on the floor for the concert, maybe eight rows back. When the main concert ended, people started leaving, but my number one concert rule is “You don’t leave until the lights are on.” I kept moving forward in the dark until I was up against the barricade at the front on the stage. All of sudden, from nowhere, the band kicked off the first song in their encore and Mike and Chester were on the barricade! Like three feet from me. So awesome.
When the news broke last week of Chester Bennington’s death, part of me was shocked but part of me wasn’t. Anyone who’s listened to Chester’s words knew there were demons there. Linkin Park knew it too and acknowledged it in the statement they released after Chester’s death:
“We’re trying to remind ourselves that the demons who took you away from us were always part of the deal. After all, it was the way you sang about those demons that made everyone fall in love with you in the first place. You fearlessly put them on display, and in doing so, brought us together and taught us to be more human. You had the biggest heart, and managed to wear it on your sleeve."
I will miss Chester. When I was mad, Linkin Park was one of my go-to bands to scream out the anger. Linkin Park won’t be the same without him.
The library has most of Linkin Park's music online in hoopla if you need to burn off a little excess emotion. His words are even more poignant now.
Rest in Peace
(March 20, 1976 – July 20, 2017)
P.S. Linkin Park set up a suicide prevention website at chester.linkinpark.com for anyone who may struggle in this area. If you are in trouble, please reach out for help.