It’s with a heavy heart that we must report the passing of Chester Bennington. The Linkin Park frontman, who dabbled in acting with Saw 3D and Crank: High Voltage, committed suicide at his home in California.
Like most people, my first time hearing Linkin Park came while “In The End” was a popular song. I couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10 at the time. My first copy of Hybrid Theory wasn’t even my own, honestly, but I totally jacked it from my brother and listened to it on repeat. Life was weird back then. My parents had gone through a messy separation, which was difficult for me to cope with, then gotten back together, which was equally difficult and confusing for me. That album understood my headspace unlike anything I’d heard at the time, and it became my constant escapism.
It was after Meteora‘s release, though, that Linkin Park, and specifically Chester Bennington, saved me from myself. When I was 12, my mother left my family without warning, a permanent separation this time, only a few weeks removed from the death of a close school friend. I was reeling from the losses and had no idea whatsoever how to cope with those feelings of pain, anger, and hopelessness for the first time. Meteora was more than escapism for me during this time- it was a companion:
Chester crooning the lyrics, “I will never know myself until I do this on my own/I will never feel anything else until my wounds are healed/I will never be anything ’til I break away from me” during the song “Somewhere I Belong” allowed me to see that I wasn’t the only person in the world dealing with familiar pain. “Breaking the Habit” provided me with an out-of-body look at the person I was becoming and helped me to think before acting upon my anger and confusion. And “Numb” understood the drowning feeling that was associated with my depression and worthlessness. Without this album, I can’t honestly say that I’d have made it through adolescence, and it still means the world to me all these years later.
Chester Bennington would go on to do great things throughout his diverse discography, including the epic A Thousand Suns album in which Linkin Park blatantly ignored the music that was expected of them and made the record they wanted to make. The album is a glorious experiment and is one of the band’s best. Revisit it, trust me. He would also go on to perform with the bands Dead by Sunrise and Stone Temple Pilots, as well as appear in the aforementioned Saw and Crank sequels.
The loss of Bennington is shocking, sad and sudden. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and his millions of fans around the world.
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please reach out to someone: a friend, family member, or even a stranger. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24 hours, every single day. I beg you to give it a call if you face the thought of suicide or self-harm. 1-800-273-8255.