Linkin Park started at the bottom. Chester Bennington, being a minor then, never let go. He stuck by the band, singing. Their songs soon became popular and that made the band reach its peak. Since then, they have been the best we ever had.
Even the band, Linkin Park, never looked like a rock band. Everybody tried to fit in. They dyed their hair, tried different styles; that was not them, it was just the rock culture. Chester too, must have tried hard to fit in. But he never could. It was as if he was born to stand out. And so he did.
There’s comfort in the panic
And I drive myself crazy
Thinking everything’s about me
Yeah! I drive myself crazy
Cause I can’t escape the gravity.
I’m holding on,
Why is everything so heavy?
I’m holding on,
To so much more than I can carry.
(Heavy, Linkin Park)
The reason you are reading this article today is because Chester Bennington, the frontman of the famous rock band Linkin Park, committed suicide on July 20, 2017. He was found dead in his apartment. He was only 41, had a wife and six children. He wasn’t just a singer, he was, to millions of his fans, a voice they sought in moments of doubt, torment, and agony.
None of us really knows, why the leading voice of Linkin Park decided to end his life this way, leaving his fans astounded. Though his departure could be clearly seen through the recent songs released by the band like Heavy, One More Light, Good Goodbye and Battle Symphony, all of which also speak on so many levels about the psyche of the singer, yet no one could see this coming.
He seemed strong on the surface, maybe he wasn’t all the way through. He had been going through a rough patch ever since the news about Chris Cornell’s death came out. Cornell was a good friend of Chester, maybe that is the reason why Chester committed suicide on Cornell’s birthday, hardly two months after the Sound-Garden singer’s self-inflicted death.
Blood was on the floor
I been searching for the courage
To face my enemies
When they turn down the lights
I hear my battle symphony
All the world in front of me
If my armor breaks
I’ll fuse it back together
(Battle Symphony, Linkin Park)
While the whole world was waiting for another soul-touching album with more heartbreakingly beautiful songs, the demise of their most admired singer has left their souls wrecked. “My whole day seemed to miss its essence, although it was a fine day. Perhaps it was because the voice I had admired ceased to exist.” said one of Linkin Park’s millions of fans.
Many people laughed at Chester committing suicide or called him weak, but we, his fans know that he must have had some issues. We understand his agony. His songs reflected a bitter-sweet reality of the world and were able to inspire people because of the connectivity people had with the lyrics.
There dies another soul of heartache. His voice, through his songs, soothes millions. While mirroring the feeling of so many, it is almost cruel to see that his own songs failed to reach him, soothe him. All over the social media his fans are in remorse how they couldn’t help him with his pain like he helped them with theirs.
He had been going through a lot of trauma since the beginning. He had been molested at the age of seven by a friend a few years older than him. He didn’t say anything about it for the fear that people would think he is gay or he is lying. He was beaten up and forced to do things he did not want for almost six years. If that wasn’t enough to crush the confidence of this little boy, his parents got divorced when he was eleven. He had to live with his father who worked long hours as a police detective. He felt alone and neglected. That assaulted, afraid, neglected child, silenced for the lack of attention and care, had no way to recover his confidence. This was when he turned to drugs and alcohol. Chester revealed all this in 2008 to Kerrang Magazine.
Before long, he was addicted to drugs and developed a drinking problem. This lasted almost all of his adulthood when finally his band mates intervened and tried to bring him out to normalcy. Consequently, the song Breaking the Habit came out.
I don’t know what’s worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream.
I don’t know why I instigate
And say what I don’t mean.
I’m breaking the habit.
(Breaking Habits, Linkin Park)
The song was written for him by Mike Shinoda. As soon as Chester read the lyrics and went to recording, he cried. He cried so hard, because he knew that he was going the wrong way. Because he knew, he had to do better for himself and everybody else.
Maybe the ghost of his childhood never completely let him go, maybe losing a friend upsurged the abandonment issues he had, or maybe his life wasn’t satisfying enough for him, maybe. His death raised so many questions of maybe.
Although nothing can be said as to the reason of his death, his wife’s recent tweet, post his death throw some light on the events. In her tweets, Chester’s wife- Talinda Bennington wrote, “I encouraged him to kill himself, I told him no one cared.” She also confessed that she was cheating on his with Mike Shinoda and was only with Chester for the money. The credibility of these tweets are highly questionable, these can very well be a dirty plot to outrage people.
The death of this great singer has not yet sank in. His fans are shaken to their core, as are his friends and family members.
“His songs symbolise that he was in a lot of misery and pain for so long, for years. But yesterday maybe that pain got beyond worst and he put himself out of that misery. He rests in peace now. I think the only tribute we can give him is by listening to the songs.” Says Vibuthi of MCM, a die-hard fan of Linkin Park.
And I think it is safe to say that this is exactly what he would’ve hoped, to be remembered for all the good he’d done, for the lives he’d changed and all the souls he’d inspired.
When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest
(Leave Out All the Rest, Linkin Park)
His ending was not a happy one, but his songs surely bring a smile on our face. Life is not a fairy-tale, we know it all too well. With him gone, many are raising the question if Linkin Park will ever be the same. But the show must go on. We have to believe in the band that we’ve grown to love, believe that it is still the same, that when one star goes out, the rest flicker still. And believe that all those who could not cut off watching Linkin Park live, off their bucket-list, still have a chance at it.
About the Author:
Ambivert. Alien. Sometimes bold. Sometimes cute. In love with books, coffee and nature. The girly tom-boy, exploring her potential.