We hear about celebrities dying more often than we’d like. Some of them people know by name only. Others by their unique personality, like Robin Williams. Last year was a terrible year for the music and film world, as many great artists left us. Alan Rickman, Prince, David Bowie, Anton Yelchin, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and so many others. While I loved these people, and felt sad. It didn’t hit me as hard as the latest and tragic death of Chester Bennington (March 20, 1976- July 20, 2017).
If you’re not familiar with the name, Chester was one of the lead singers in the band Linkin Park. Their popularity came from the fact that they broke away from the typical rock and simply did what they wanted. Linkin Park mixes elements of rock, hip hop, electronica, alternative metal and even rap rock. Let me tell you, it’s always difficult to answer when someone asks you what genre they are. Lately they’ve been describe as Nu Metal, basically a genre of mostly alternative metal but with elements from any and all other genres. This gained them quick popularity as people could find something they loved in all of their songs. If you don’t like heavy metal, no problem. A lot of their songs are way softer. If you don’t like a pop vibe, not to worry: many other songs are electronica and rap. There’s a song for every style you might like.
My personal favorites come from the album Meteora. Numb, Breaking the Habit and Somewhere I Belong are just a few.
I started listening to them in middle school. I had my Walkman with me at all times, carrying a small disc case with all my best-loved discs: Linkin Park, Evanescence, Nightwish and so on.
I felt that I could relate to Linkin Park‘s songs. It was one of the few bands where, when I sang the lyrics I felt I was venting about my life and it was very therapeutic.
At the time I was already living in Peru, and my dream was to see them. I’d never gone to a concert before, and the thought was both terrifying and exciting. At one time there was even a rumor that they would come to Lima. My best friend and I went crazy when we heard, but in the end nothing came of it. Peru was still getting out from the shadow and fear of 30 years of terrorism, so there wasn’t a lot of movement of famous people going and going.
And then… December 2016 it was announced that Linkin Park was coming. I’d been waiting from than ten years for this! Of course, I bought a ticket right away. I went with a friend from work, and it was one of the best nights in my life!
The power displayed was awesome. The energy of the people jumping and singing. I was amazed at how well they knew the lyrics. Especially in English. Though there was an amusing moment when the music cut off and people kind of started mumbling before Mike and Chester helped them out.
Now, looking back, I can’t help but feel extremely lucky and honored to have seen them live. I wasn’t very close, and thanks to my short height I didn’t get to see much. But I was there, and it was a unique experience.
When I heard the news, I was crushed. I felt like a lost a friend and we wouldn’t get to listen to Chester singing anymore. It was terrible. Even now, I started writing this the day after his death, and only now am I posting because I could never finish.
I’ve read many comments about him, and his bandmates posted a letter to him which was just heart breaking. You can read it here.
Someone wrote: “Sometimes a person can save so many people, but can’t save themselves.” It was a depressing thought, but Chester, Mike and the rest of Linkin Park, have touched many hearts and given people struggling a voice. Thank you Chester for being there when I was going through difficult times. I could always but my headphones on and feel like someone out there understood.
Rest in peace Chester, you were and always will be loved.