My Tribute to Chester Benningtonroshan
Chester Bennington, the frontman of one of the best Rock Bands of the world Linkin Park committed suicide by hanging himself at his private residence. It was not just Chester who hanged, it was a part of my childhood and teenage that hanged along with him. Despite the fact that he is not with us today, he has left behind a legacy of music for us, his fans to remember. He meant a lot more to me than any other celebrity I know of. I am NOT going to talk about how he committed suicide, why he committed suicide or his success story in my post dedicated to him. If you are reading this, I will assume you know all this already, otherwise, you shouldn’t be reading this. I am going to talk about how I got to know him, what he meant to me and how the music changed my perception.
One fine day, back in sixth grade, when I was just 12 years old, my cousin shared his earplug with me and that is where I heard my first English song. It was “In The End” by Linkin Park, which instantly appealed to me. I also saw the video and I was amazed at how these group of six guys jumped and made cool moves while singing. Also, back then I did not know the concept of a band because in India songs belonged to the singer and the musicians in the background were paid to be playing for the singer. So Linkin Park to me ( and a lot of my classmates ) was the guy singing in the group: Chester. I used to say, “Damn, see Linkin Park’s hairstyle man, it is so cool!”, “Look how Linkin Park sings and grooves while singing!”, “I love Linkin Park’s voice man!”. Back in those days, smartphones weren’t so common and Internet access was very limited, so I wrote down the lyrics on my own, listening to it line by line, confusing and mixing words, confidently writing the wrong lyrics. The lyrics didn’t make sense to me, only the music did, but I wanted to sing it!
Somehow, a few months later I managed to get access to the Internet from my father’s phone. That’s where I downloaded the full album Hybrid Theory from a website ( yes, I pirated it and I am glad I did ) and listened to the rest of the tracks. Let me tell you how that my parents were of the view that a phone spoils the child and so I never was given access to his phone. At midnight, I would sneak into my father’s room and take his phone and put it under my pillow ( so that when someone suddenly enters my room, I appear to be sleeping ) and play the classics till late at night! That is where I got exposed to the rock music and started liking it. It was the time when Bollywood had films like “Om Shanti Om”, “Sing is King” and other hits, with their songs, “Jee Karda”, “Ajab Se” and so on. I liked these songs but these were W A Y different from Linkin Park! That is where my interest started shifting to English music as a whole ( today’s Bollywood music doesn’t make sense to me ).
I was passionate about singing back then, I sang every song I liked in my school, I sang them when nobody was at home. I never received any formal vocal training but I did sing, and I didn’t really sing so bad! I sang every Linkin Park song I knew I sang the softer songs of Chester because that is what my voice allowed me to do. I couldn’t scream like Chester did, of course! But I loved it. There was only three album of Linkin Park that I heard till then! And I swear the only music I listened to was of Linkin Park until my eighth grade! Fast forwarding the time to when I was fifteen, Internet became a little more accessible, and what was when I learnt about the concepts of Band, learnt about music genres, other big artists in the industry, who was actually Linkin Park and why were they called Linkin Park and Linkin Park wasn’t Linkin Park but the guy who meant so much to me, Chester Bennington.
When I was sixteen, in my tenth grade, I had this idea to form a band and throw a performance at the school fest. It was the year of 2012 when Linkin Park’s new song “Burn it Down” had just arrived and I had simply lost my mind when I first heard it! So without any knowledge of the requirements to perform that song live on stage, without any electronic DJ consoles, we decided to throw a performance at our school fest with our equipment. I was the lead vocalist and I did my job perfectly. So 5 rookie musicians came up to perform Burn it Down, and we assumed the music we produce would sound just like how Linkin Park did in the music video. We nailed it! By the time we finished the song, we had lost 75% of the crowd and rest 25% were our friends who had to stay with us and tolerate the shit we did on stage. It still hurts my belly when I think of that day.
I do not regret what happened that day. Experience is the best teacher, right? All the mistakes we made helped us do better the next time. Every concert I ever did always had at least one song from Linkin Park. I have performed songs like “Castle of Glass”, “Shadow of the Day”, “What I’ve done” and so on. Chester’s song never stopped amusing me with new songs like “Lost in the Echo”, “In my remains”, “Waiting for the End”, etc. I can guarantee that I am the only person here who has heard almost all songs of Chester and his band, including Underground EP and Singles and collaborations! Not just that I can bet I remember more than half of the lyrics of all his songs. When I had my first heartbreak I realized how his songs helped me get through tough times and that was where my passion for music amplified.
I idolized him, copied his on-stage moves, trying to train through to get close to his vocal ability and hit the range of his vocal tone! Much later I realized I cannot come close to a legend. He was more than a musician, he was a messiah who ( I assumed ) chose me as his successor! My passion for Chester and his band never ended till today. Friends used to gossip about me like, “Hey don’t talk to him much, he would only talk about Linkin Park and bore the hell out of you”. When I entered my classroom, friends be like, “Aa gya Linkin Park ka fan”. I never got along with people who didn’t like Linkin Park. There were people who liked these guys but nobody loved them as much as I did. My phone ringtone was always a Linkin Park’s intro music, alarm clock used to be the loudest song of Linkin Park like, “Given Up”, “Don’t Stay”, “Keys to the Kingdom”, etc. My phone wallpaper used to be Chester with his microphone and the last page of my copy had LP logo drawn everywhere and the names of the band members. I had also decided that if I was ever going to die, my last wish would have been to meet Chester. I wanted to meet him, I wanted Linkin Park to perform in India. Sadly, with a heavy heart, we have to accept that this will never come true.
When I can afford, I will buy all their records and keep them with me. I will keep him alive in my mind always. Chester’s lyrics is like a drug which I am addicted to. He was a singer who could sing like an angel and at the same time scream like a demon. It breaks my heart today to learn that lyrics are no more going to flow out from his pen. He is never going to write and sing again. Chester is irreplaceable in Linkin Park. There is nobody who is can replace Chester in Linkin Park. End of Chester is the end of Linkin Park. All we have are the echoes of his voice in our heart and soul. Depression is serious, do not ignore it. Help those who are in need. We do not want to lose our loved ones due to depression. Why do we need the death of a celebrity to realize the gravity of the situation? I still hope all this turns out to be a joke and that he is alive. I still cannot get over the fact that he is no more and I do not think I will ever get over it. His music doesn’t sound the same to me anymore. Music was his vent to tell what was in his mind. We ignored him. He even talked about it in interviews. We ignored that too. Now that he is dead, we do realize how serious his condition was. It doesn’t matter anymore. Hope he finally found peace in heaven.
Only if we had taken him seriously in this video, he might have been alive today.