A tribute to Chester Bennington!

Rewind to the year 2000. When ‘Hybrid Theory‘ had released, I was ten. That was the time my brother introduced me to the band ‘Linkin Park‘. After listening to them on the walk-man for a few minutes, I shrugged it off as ‘ear-deafening scream & clamor‘. I went back to listening to popular favorites of the times ‘Backstreet Boys‘ and ‘Westlife‘. Around the time ‘Mission Impossible 2‘ had released and turned out to be a blockbuster, the broski had bought a cassette of the official soundtrack of the film (costing Rs. 199/- in those times, while regional (Indian) music cassettes would cost around fifty bucks). While the speakers boomed away at Limp Bizkit‘s ‘I know why you wanna hate me‘, Metallica‘s ‘I Disappear‘, Rob Zombie‘s ‘Scum of the Earth‘ and Chris Cornell‘s ‘Mission 2000‘, I wondered how people could listen to an entire cassette of “thunderous dins” that ran close to sixty three minutes. I discussed this with a few “music-buff” mates in class who also echoed my opinion initially.

I don’t really recall as to what led to repeated listening (especially during shower time) , but in a span of a few weeks I slowly started to resonate with the high-pitched screams, the riffs of the electric guitar and soulfully connecting lyrics. The discussions at school slowly became less about pop and more about rock. ‘Linkin Park‘ again became a subject of interest. Cassette-exchanges, jotting down song-lyrics and drawing band logos on the back of notebooks developed into trends. A few of us would even mimic Chester’s piercing vocals on karaoke and record jams. While the results were less than underwhelming, Chester’s sharp, penetrating voice was unarguably a source of musical inspiration for us teenagers. Head-banging to Linkin Park was indeed more than just a ‘cool thing to do’. The rap-rock combination of Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington was cited as a talent that would eventually go on to revolutionize the rock music scene around the globe. As expected, the band soon rose to super-stardom with the release of their follow-up albums. “I tried so hard, and got so far, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter!” – extract from a song that reverberated musically and emotionally with every single one of us. Listening to the song again today makes me weep for all the right reasons!

When Kazaa and Limewire (peer-to-peer file sharing applications) were ruling the roost, gaining access to music (although involving hefty download periods) got invariably easier. Since audio CDs cost a whopping amount back in those days, we’d buy the originals only after sampling a few on the internet. But Linkin Park CDs (in their entirety) – especially ‘Hybrid Theory‘, ‘Reanimation,’ ‘Meteora‘ & ‘Minutes to Midnight‘ were totally worth the trip to the nearest music-store. Even as the band started to perform collaborations with other acts (like Jay-Z on ‘Collision Course‘ securing the best Rap/Sung collab Grammy in 2006 for Numb/Encore), they still continued to retain their spot as favorites. When the horrible ‘Transformers‘ sequels came out, the primary reason to watch those films was just to listen to the Linkin Park singles that’d be played at the end credits. ‘One More Light‘ may not be my favorite LP album of the lot, but Chester’s death has added a whole new dimension to it.

So say goodbye and hit the road
Pack it up and disappear
You better have some place to go
‘Cause you can’t come back around here
Good goodbye
(Don’t you come back no more) – Lyrics from the song ‘Good Goodbye‘.

As we’ve read on the internet, Chester’s early life had been one riddled with domestic/sexual violence and substance abuse (and alcohol in the latter stages!); his lyrical intensity was a vivid reflection of what he’d undergone as an individual. As with Chris Cornell‘s shocking demise a couple of months earlier, there is indeed quite a bit of ominosity surrounding Chester’s passing (apparently ruled as a ‘suicide by hanging’). Chester also performed Leonard Cohen‘s ‘Hallelujah‘ at good friend Chris Cornell‘s funeral. Another fact to notice here is that the date of Chester’s expiry coincides with what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday. I’m not certain if all this adds up to anything but it’s incredibly dismal to acknowledge the fact that the music world has lost two great talents in their prime to ‘depression‘. We often disregard exchange of views when it comes to matters of mental health (WHY? Because explaining the state of our psyches makes us look inferior in front of the world?) and consider it something trivial.

These cases are clear evidence of the fact that no amount of amassed wealth or acquired fame can offer the inner tranquility man seeks to attain. It could have been this notion which led to the untimely end of these gifted musicians. Maybe, maybe not.

On this doleful occasion, all I wish to say is this:

To the voice that made millions associate with hard rock, to the voice that originally made us scream and head-bang, to the voice that healed our anxieties, to the voice that inspired .. RIP Chester! Gone too soon!”

Chester-Bennington-Wallpapers-HD
Thank you for the music! \m/

27 Comments

  1. That is one amazing and informative tribute given to the man who will be remembered forever. I really liked how you have jotted down both yours and Chester’s journey which makes it a good read. Keep up the good work! RIP Chester Bennington, the guy who worked miracles with his voice and words.🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have beautifully jotted down every detail. It is very relatable – Especially to the 90s kids who are adults now, to those who felt their childhood was ripped away from them, to those who fell in love with his song and took all the effort to download it-probably was their first time. He was such an inspiration.
    RIP Chester Bennington, the man who made our lives less miserable with his gifted voice.

    Liked by 1 person

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