I felt I needed to write about some stuff I’ve been thinking about. Maybe you can relate.
Do you have any albums that you listen to where all the tracks are great? Like you never have to skip a track because they are all amazing? I have a few. Morning View by Incubus, By the Way by the RHCP, and a few albums by Linkin Park. For many people my age Linkin Park was our introduction to the world of hard rock. They developed a unique genre of metal/rap fusion with deep lyrics. Hybrid Theory and Meteora were part of the soundtrack of my high school years. I remember when we had just learned to drive and listening to Chester’s screaming vocals with the radio turned up loud enough to nearly deafen us. Linkin Park continued to put out more albums, some good, some not so great. But they kept going all these years, putting out a solid album last May and continuing on tour. Many of the alt rock legends we knew hadn’t made it this far. Many artists I knew back from the 90s and early 2000s had since quit the music business or died. Victims of drugs, depression, or tragic accidents. But Linkin Park was still going strong. It seemed they had made it. They escaped the curse so to speak.
Then I learned of the shocking death of Chris Cornell. No one saw it coming and it sent a shock wave through the music community. Chris was part of two bands I grew up listening to: Soundgarden and Audioslave. He even did the opening song for Casino Royale. I never saw him live but I was deeply saddened to know that I would never hear anything new from him again. And although I never knew him personally I grieved his loss. But time went on as it always does. I was excited to hear new stuff from Incubus and Linkin Park.
Then on Thursday I casually checked Facebook while walking the halls of the hospital only to learn Chester Bennington of Linkin Park had committed suicide. He hung himself just like Cornell had done just a few months before. I was shocked and then once again in a strange state of strange grief for someone I didn’t really know. I thought about the times this happened before with Chris Cornell, Robin Williams, and others. The death of artists for some reason can really affect us. We connect with them through their art. They share part of themselves in their work and when we listen it becomes part of us too.
I don’t really understand what drives someone to suicide and I’m not going to pretend I do even though from time to time I treat people who tried to kill themselves. Perhaps it’s a feeling the world would be better without them. Or maybe they can’t handle the weight of their own issues. I don’t know what drove Chester to make that choice. Some people say that suicide is a person’s choice and they shouldn’t be inhibited from making their own choices. But the truth is when you take your own life you also kill the part of your life you shared with other people. I can’t help but wonder if Cornell hadn’t taken his life would Chester be alive too? I will continue on with my life knowing that another part of my adolescence decided life is not worth living. But Chester had six children now without a father. And that’s far more tragic than not getting to hear a new Linkin Park song on the radio.
Stay strong guys. And if you ever need someone to talk to I’ll be here