A Few Thoughts on Chester Bennington
Featured / August 8, 2017
The loss of a voice that connected with millions
Joseph Keller, Staff Writer
It’s been a couple of weeks since I, along with the rest of the world, found out that an icon from so many of our teen years had taken his own life. I had just landed in Toronto when my phone reconnected to data and displayed the somber New York Times notification.
Since Bennington’s death, people around me seem to have needed to talk about this one more than other, similar celebrity deaths in order to process it. That makes sense. For so many of us between the age of 20 and 25, Linkin Park was a meaningful and important band.
Bennington and Linkin Park stand out from other bands of the era because they created a connection with millions of listeners, many of which were confused kids.
They were in some ways a product of the times. In the 2000s, rap-rock nu-metal was a cultural phenomenon, and a lot of the music that came from that time has not aged well. What separated Linkin Park from some of the other big bands in that genre was that Linkin Park treated their music seriously. Hearing the passion and intensity in Bennington’s voice made it clear that he was tapping into something within himself in his music, not simply playing to a demographic.
That’s not to say that he didn’t resonate with one. I’m certainly not unique among people my age when I say that Linkin Park was the band of my early-to-mid teen years. It’s easy for us to laugh at a lot of the music that we loved during our awkward adolescence, but for so many of us, being 15 sucked. Bands like Linkin Park were there to show us that we were not alone.
That’s what made the circumstances of Bennington’s death so painful. I was the kid sitting in his bedroom in 2006 listening to Linkin Park and wishing he could be Chester Bennington.
Bennington spoke to a generation going through the hardest parts of growing up. It’s not much of a stretch to say that his music likely helped to prevent a few suicides, and that’s what’s so troubling about the fact that he took his own life. It felt like he was right there with us, and the idea that he couldn’t hold on might make others feel like they can’t either. It’s important that people who are in that place remember that they are still not alone.
Depression is a too-common demon. If anything positive can come out of losing a voice like Bennington’s, it’s a reminder to seek out support wherever we can find it. If you feel like you need help, then it’s important to talk to your family, your friends, a stranger on a support line—someone. You are not alone.