Editor’s note: This a weird one. Linkin Park might not be a band you’d anticipate seeing us report on after learning about lead singer Chester Bennington taking his own life today. But Linkin Park is interesting. They are probably the first band that somehow has had a weird impact on every single person and age demographic in What Youth. Maybe because it’s secretly all our guilty pleasures from adolescents. Which leads me to Ben Kwock, who penned this immediately after we got the news. Ben is usually the man behind all the headless chickens that make up our team on a daily basis. He is our rock, our sturdy chair leg, our designated driver. And today we saw a new side of him: The emotional side. Enjoy. And RIP Chester. My favorite song was “A Place For My Head” because it was in a Chris Ward video once. The one he made while on Rusty for that hot minute. —Travis
Pain. One of the first words I can think of describing Linkin Park and Chester Bennington’s lyrics. When Hybrid Theory landed there was so much new going on. Blink was coming onto the scene. Rap was slowly about to change with Eminem. And Pop music was king. And that created every sub-genre imaginable.
Linkin Park became the most legit of these hybrids. Their album Hybrid Theory represented exactly that, a mixed concept. With hip hop influences and edgy beats from Mike Shinoda balanced nicely with Chester’s more familiar heavy metal and hardcore influences. It created a sound never heard before. And it worked.
The angst and chaos that we all experience in life was where Chester thrived. He had such a natural ability expressing his emotion to us. Songs like “In the End”, “Faint”, and “Numb” share the pain we’ve all felt. He captured it perfectly. Because apparently he had felt it, and a childhood full of torment, drugs, alcohol and sexual abuse buried him.
And unfortunately today, at the age of 41, Chester Bennington took his own life. Yet another artist struggling to live. We were so thankful to have an outlet like Linkin Park to share in our frustration, rage, sadness, and ultimately happiness. Chester was the heartbeat and he will be dearly missed. —Ben Kwock