Yesterday (July 20th 2017), the tragic news broke that Chester Bennington, best known for being the frontman for Linkin Park, had been found dead from an apparent suicide from hanging. The news shook across the world, both within and outside of the rock and metal community, with condolences and tributes from all corners flooding in online.
DEAD PRESS! Founder and Editor-in-Chief Zach Redrup has paid tribute to the late vocalist.
“I was completely taken aback when I heard the news of Chester Bennington’s suicide. Linkin Park didn’t only get me into heavy music, but opened my interest and love for music in general.
I remember first hearing that yell of “Shut up when I’m talking to you” from ‘One Step Closer’ when I was about 10 years old. My brother had a copy of ‘Hybrid Theory’. I thought it was so cool. All I knew until then was chart music, and the most edgy thing that ever hit my ears until that point was either Oasis or hearing Gregg Alexander of New Radicals saying he was going to kick asses. I didn’t know quite what has hit me, but I loved it.
I told him to play it again, and again, and again. It wasn’t until then that I had any remote interest in music. It was then that I started to explore other bands and artists in rock and metal, like System Of A Down, Alien Ant Farm, Marilyn Manson, etc. My brother eventually gave me his copy of ‘Hybrid Theory’, which I rinsed regularly, and 17 years on I’d still say that it’s one of the best debut albums ever created. ‘Hybrid Theory’ wasn’t just a record that did pretty well in the charts. On the contrary, it was the best selling debut album of the 21st century. ‘Hybrid Theory’ was much more than that. It’s an album that defined an entire generation of music fans, and there’s not a shed of over-exaggeration in that statement.
Just a few years ago, in 2014, I was fortunate enough to experience Linkin Park perform live at Download Festival. They performed ‘Hybrid Theory’ from front-to-back to a huge field of fans both young and old, and across thousands of faces stood in front of the band performing hit after hit headlining the main stage, there wasn’t a single one without a smile smacked on it from ear-to-ear, and never before and never since have I ever heard such a huge call-to-arms chorus being bellowed back to a band that, again, shaped a generation.
Chester and Linkin Park paved the way for me to what is my biggest passion today, and without that passion, it’s incredibly possible that DEAD PRESS! would never exist. Personally, I didn’t care much for their work after ‘Meteora’, but Chester and the rest of the band lead the 00s nu-metal boom, have influenced thousands of bands and artists since, and to this day no-one has seamlessly blended metal and hip-hop even a sliver as well as they have. Not one.
His struggles weren’t unknown, and you can hear that across many of his work in songs like ‘Numb’, ‘Easier To Run’, and ‘Heavy’, but to know that Chester was at a point so dark in his life that there wasn’t a single better option or an alternative in sight for him than to end it all is just beyond tragic.
It’s okay to not be okay. Mental health shouldn’t be a matter that’s taken lightly. Even if you feel alone and that no-one wants to know, there’s always someone that cares about you. There’s always someone to talk to. Talk, and don’t bottle up and fight those demons alone.
Indeed, there are undoubtedly many stories and tales similar to mine that could and will be told by a wave of other fans both within and outside of my age range, and by extension that wouldn’t make mine a unique one. His presence and legacy created with his fellow bandmates is what’s important to document and discuss, and that was literally a gateway into largely influencing and moulding my life into what it is today.
RIP Chester Bennington. My condolences to your family, friends, band mates, and loved ones. Thank you for everything. Your legend will live on in your records forever.”
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)