Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington Touched Many Lives
To be completely honest, I don’t know of an accurate and appropriate way to start this piece due to the recent events surrounding Linkin Park’s front man. Chester Bennington (RIP 1976-2017) was a light in my young life, someone who wore his heart proudly on his sleeve and broadcasted to the world, with an open mind, the anguish that follows mental illness.
Chester Bennington may not have realized it but he helped break down the controversy that surrounded this type of pain. Back in a time when it was a subject not really discussed about and the problems it produced were “kept quiet” or “locked away.” This young man brought every mental malady to life with music. He gave victims of these problems a voice that helped us break the stigma of mental illness so we could be a more supportive society instead of fearing those that were stricken with these problems.
When I listened to Linkin Park for the first time in 1999(they went by Hybrid Theory then), I felt like I was no longer alone in my feelings and thoughts, that someone shared them with me and knew how real the struggle was. I found comfort in their music and lyrics. I remember their first hit song “One Step Closer” being a song I would blast on my stereo behind closed doors when my Mom would do something that I would get angry at her for.
The combination of edgy guitars and screaming drums coupled with DJ Hahn’s scratches and Chester & Mike’s lyrical vocals was the perfect mix for a young, rebellious teenager like me. When they were known as Hybrid Theory I got to know the song “Carousel” well. I listened to it and imagined what it was like to have problems that lead you to abuse chemicals. It was a song that opened my eyes to the real struggle and it helped me deal with friends and family who were addicted.
Then came the album Meteora, after that I was hooked and a permanent fan of their music. The song, “Somewhere I Belong” hit close to home for me as I always felt like I never truly belonged anywhere when I was younger. I dare say Linkin Park’s art influenced me so much that it paved the way for me to become involved in the music industry later.
After Meteora, they took to an event called Live in Texas where they sang the song, “Dedicated.” I felt the emotional purse strings pulled when I heard that song for the first time.
“This is dedicated to the kids, dedicated to wherever music lives. Dedicated to those tired of the same old same and dedicated to the people advancing the game. What’s real is the kids who know that something’s wrong, what’s real is the kids who think they don’t belong, what’s real is the kids who have nowhere to run, who are hiding in the shadows waiting for the sun.”
Those words gave me a sense of hope because it reiterated again that I was not alone in how I felt about the world. This can be an amazing resource for those who struggle with mental illness. When you feel isolated by the feelings in your head you tend to not want to bring it around others but that only makes it worse. Another album that really inspired me was Minutes to Midnight with L”eave Out All The Rest” and “What I’ve Done” as the main songs that went viral. Again, those songs pulled on the strings of my spirit and helped me realize some lessons that I had to learn to become more aware of my life and the world. I will never forget the soft tones and guitars mixed in, it was like Linkin Park never wanted to fall back on the same rhythms and tones they previously used.
They were always inventive and came back with different music all the time. This is evident when they came out with their other albums like The Hunting Party, Collision Course with Jay-Z, Living Things and their latest One More Light. One mash up I really enjoyed was the Song “We Made It” featuring rapper, Busta Rhymes.
Chester Bennington and Linkin Park were revolutionaries to me because they were bridging the gap between Rap and Rock when many discouraged such a thing.
I feel it is because of this band that many great alternative genres were produced. I will never forget the memory of Chester Bennington who helped me and millions of others in so many ways. To the remaining members of the band, Linkin Park, I hope you find a way to come out with more music even though a great rift has been driven into the band. Know that in my heart, I feel this loss gravely and because I cherish the memory of Chester, I will write this dedication to a great band that influenced my life and continues to do so.
My heart and prayers are with the very big family and fans of Linkin Park. I also ask as part of this article that people be more understanding of mental illness and what it does to loved ones and people you don’t know who look crazy babbling to themselves in the street. If you know of someone struggling, do not leave them alone in their struggle. Be there for them because when they come out of it, they will see you still there being supportive and it will help them more than you can fathom now. If someone is in danger of hurting themselves or others call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Let Chester Bennigton’s loss shed light and wisdom upon all and let’s not ignore the lesson that comes from this hardship. Keep rockin on Chester, I for one believe you are in a better place.
Heather SnakPak Fennell
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