This is a bit off piste, but I’ve wanted to acknowledge Chester Bennington’s impact on my life. I never met him, I never even saw him live in any of the groups he fronted, yet he was ever present in my life, and saved me many times from feeling so alone, and confused.
I’ve always loved music! And my tastes are wide and varied. One group that, for me, changed everything, in music, and in me, is Linkin Park, my first introduction to the raspy, and undescribably emotional voice of Chester Bennington.
Linkin Park, are true musical pioneers, the likes of which I have not seen again in my lifetime (yet). They are the musical game changers of my generation and all so talented.
Their style has, at many times in my life, reflected what’s in my head: angry and loud, yet beautifully melodic and serene at the same time. A true juxtaposition (previously a “word of the week” for a friend and I, more about that in another post 😉).
There have been times, when this group’s work have saved me! Times when I have felt alone and down and confused. “Crawling” for example, describes an aching to feel better but struggling to do so. It made me feel like someone understood me, I was not alone, and this made my problems feel shared, and you know that old saying “a problem shared, is a problem halved”. So many of their songs carry this theme.
The battle in the songs and the unmistakable voice of Chester Bennington literally spoke to me. It was my comfort, my realisation that other people have things like I had going on in their heads and in their lives.
The pain was always apparent in the songs, even as their style evolved, lightening, darkening, reinventing over the long career they are enjoying and Chester’s vocals really touched my soul, they chilled me and warmed me at the same time. No other vocalist has had this effect on me.
When “Heavy” was released, it reminded me of how it felt when I needed to let go, it reminded me of how far I’ve come in my life, and how much better my head is now. Mostly down to the company I now keep, but I remember the isolation and my inability to let what was sitting like rocks in my heart go, when others seemed to be able to do it so easily.
I have never mourned celebrities who have passed. I never understood how people could feel so upset about people they didn’t know. But when news broke about Chester Bennington taking his own life, it hit me like a train. I didn’t cry, but I felt a massive kick to my stomach, it took days for me to believe it and every time I hear him, not just Linkin Park, but Dead by Sunrise and Stone Temple Pilots, that unique, raspy, amazing voice which articulated such raw and passionate emotion, I feel a deep pang of sadness. His voice, and the words he wrote, co wrote and sang, pulled me up out of my darkest times, he was unknowingly a friend in my life, the one who seemed to be able to genuinely say “I know how you feel, I’ve felt it too”.
His music will always be here, and Linkin Park will evolve, they have such talent. But my sadness is that Chester couldn’t find the solace that he gave me. When I hear “Heavy” now, I hear more pain, more confusion and more desperation than ever.
So, to Chester! For saving me over and over again. Rest in the true peace you struggled to find here.