Since hearing the news yesterday that Chester Bennington had committed suicide I have read numerous tributes to his memory and it’s very clear how Linkin Park defined my generation. Lots of people are talking about how the band were a gateway into alternative music and culture, which is true for me as well. Hybrid Theory was a complete game changer, something fresh and widely accessible before internet and streaming were a big thing. I remember (and I was talking to her about this yesterday, before I heard the news) dragging my mum to the v. cool ‘alternative clothing shop’ when I was fourteen to get my first pair of baggy jeans and Linkin Park hoodie. The album, described better by so many other people, really helped me to articulate my anger. At the time I was getting over domestic abuse and I was very mixed up and really not okay. HT made me feel safe to express my negative emotions at a time when I was constantly told to be quiet, to behave and to not be emotional.
The reason for this blog post, as I can’t say too much more than what has already been said about Chester, is because I listened to HT for the first time in a long time yesterday and to quote Perkie ‘records are like time machines’. This year has been incredibly hard, every time something like a landmark has happened I find myself angry, sad and alone because I miss Stacey so much, I want to share these landmarks with her. I know that she would have been devastated by Chester’s death, she was a massive Linkin Park fan and she would play their albums over and over. I remember vividly being at her house, watching the video for In the End on MTV and being blown away by the graphics (haha). At the time I never thought about what their lyrics might mean to her, but hearing HT yesterday made me face the idea that she was wrestling with things far beyond my comprehension. Stacey’s terminal illness meant that she had to confront death every day and try to accept it. How can a fourteen year old accept that premature fate? It must’ve been so hard, and I still cannot describe the kind of strength that she had just to keep going each day.
Listening to Linkin Park is obviously very nostalgic, but at the moment that nostalgia is very painful. I am really sad about Chester, but I like to think that he’s hanging out with Stacey now, talking through the pain they’ve felt and the peace that hopefully they’ve both found now.
Rest well, Chester.