Hi Guys & Girls,
In 2008 during their Minutes to Midnight tour, I had tickets to go and see a Linkin Park gig. Unfortunately my stomach instead decided I would spend two nights in hospital and miss the gig. Bloody stomach! Grrr!
Sadly, I never got another opportunity to go see them. As usual there are a multitude of reasons, ill health, bills and debts to pay, etc. As I write this it has been just over a week since Chester Bennington (for those who don’t know, Chester was the lead singer) committed suicide at the age of 41.
Linkin Park were always on my list of bands to see simply because they are important to me. Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Unfortunately for me that means I’ll have to re-imagine myself as a younger version.
If you’ve read here before, you may know that I was an extremely angry young man. A guy that didn’t know why he was angry and had no outlet for the anger. So, I kept it bottled up and shut myself off from the world.
Hell it’s a stance I have found very difficult to get away from. In my experience a lot of people have the potential to hurt you in one form or another… but they can’t hurt you of you don’t let them near! Obviously that is a toxic and lonely existence. Nowadays my guard is still up but I allow people closer.
What’s this got to do with Chester Bennington and Linkin Park? Well in my isolation I grew bored. There’s only so many times you can watch a film or play the computer. I turned to music… but my mum’s music was shit. Sorry mum, shouldn’t speak ill of the dead but your music taste was attrocius!
So, during an episode of WWE Raw, the Undertaker came out to a Limp Bizkit song. Whilst it wasn’t quite what I was searching for, it was a type of music wildly different from Belinda Carlisle and T’Pau.
Anyway Limp Bizkit led me to Kerrang and from there, I spotted this band fronted by a dude wearing glasses with a mohawk, tattoos, a black vest and red plaid trousers. His voice was haunting and spoke to me in a way that no other had before.
In case you are wondering, the video was “Papercut”. Soon after I bought their album “Hybrid Theory” and have bought pretty much every one since.
I’m sure that I’m not alone in saying that Chester’s voice and way of laying his demons out there for all to see was inspiring. His vocals could be haunting, angry and melodic all within minutes.
The truly sad thing is that I relate to a lot of his demons. “This is me pretending, this is all I need” from “My December” is eerily reminiscent of my attitude when I was in solitude. “It’s like a whirlwind inside of my head, it’s like I can’t stop what I’m hearing within” from the aforementioned “Papercut” pretty accurately describes my thoughts on my own depression. “I dreamed I was missing, you were so scared, but no one would listen, ’cause no one else cared” from “Leave Out All the Rest” is fairly accurate how I feel about what the world would feel if I disappeared sometimes.
To see that Chester’s demons eventually won is extremely sad to me.
For me Chester himself summed it up best in an interview he done with iHeart Radio…
“I know that for me, when I’m inside myself, when I’m in my own head, it gets… This place right here [points to his head], this skull between my ears, that is a bad neighborhood, and I should not be in there alone, I can’t be in there by myself. It’s insane! It’s crazy in here. This is a bad place for me to be by myself. And so when I’m in that, my whole life gets thrown off. If I’m in there, I don’t say nice things to myself. There’s another Chester in there that wants to take me down. And I find that, it could be… whether it’s substances or whether it’s behavior or whether it’s depressive stuff, or whatever it is, if I’m not actively doing… getting out of myself and being with other people, like being a dad, being a husband, being a bandmate, being a friend, helping someone out… If I’m out of myself, I’m great. If I’m inside all the time, I’m horrible — I’m a mess. And so for me, that was kind of where the ‘I don’t like my mind right now / Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary…’ That was where that came from for me.”
In the aforementioned song “Leave Out All the Rest”, Chester sang “Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed”. If there is such a thing as an after life or heaven, I hope he has found some peace in the outpouring of love and adoration.
As his bandmates said (I’ve taken snippets, if you want to read their full post visit the Linkin Park Facebook page here.) “Dear Chester, Our hearts are broken”…. “You touched so many lives, maybe even more than you realized”…. “Talinda and the family appreciate it, and want the world to know that you were the best husband, son, and father; the family will never be whole without you”…. “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.”
If you are reading this and are feeling suicidal or depressed, please, please seek help. You are not alone, no matter how much your inner demons tell you otherwise. Don’t let your demons win, I know it’s easier said than done. I battle my own.
Below are some links…
I’m not quite sure how to end this blog other than to say RiP Chester.
Carpe Diem Guys