Linkin Park has always been a new band for me. I grew up listening to oldies like Deep Purple, Cream, Mountain and the likes on my dad's audio cassette and vinyl collections. So this bunch of youngsters who released their debut album Hybrid Theory in 2000 have always been a new band for me; although I was only around 14 at the time.
"In the End," "Crawling," "One Step Closer," from the album became massive hits at a time when internet was a luxury for only the elite and MTV actually played music. Linkin Park stormed the music scene with its unconventional sounds and soul searching lyrics which created a new form a music that paved way for many artists to follow. For me they have always been the "new" band I liked listening to if by chance I chose to listen to anything other than classic rock. Linking Park was my guilty pleasure. chester Bennington and his group of "young" men never felt to amaze me every time I put my headphones on. I had never listen to turntables being played along with distorted guitars. (I didn't know Limp Bizkit back then) I'd also never listened to anyone rapping to the layered tracks of overdriven guitars and basses. (Besides "Walk This Way" - Aerosmith Featuring Run DMC)
Hybrid Theory was followed by Meteora album and the "Numb" and "Somewhere I Belong" among others became anthems too. That was 2004, I was 18 and they still were a young band for me.
Only when Linkin Park's effervescent frontman Chester Bennington killed himself on July 20, 2017 at the age of 41 that I realised that I was living a lie all along. These guys from Linkin Park have grown up and so have I. We're not youngsters anymore. We're grown men fighting to create an existence for ourselves in the world, struggling to make a little space for ourselves in the lives of the people we love, trying to find the meaning of our lives and the purpose of our being. I never thought someone so rich and famous would be depressed. Despondency and dejection were only for the poor and the unsuccessful I thought. But little did I know that there is a dark side even to fame and glory. Chester's suicide comes as a shock to me. I am reading and re-reading every lyrics he wrote to find what if i had missed clues of him actually being so chronically depressed. I had also identified myself with his lyrics but I'm really sure I am not depressed. Not clinically at least. Although sad sometimes, or lonely or misunderstood but nothing which would make me hurt myself.
Chester Bennington was 41. I am 31. But until yesterday, I never thought he was a day older than 25 which would make me 15. I was consciously unaware of the power of time. I was ignorant of the fact that the world gets tougher on you as you get older. I was keeping all my "adulthood" problems locked down. But Chester opened my eyes by hanging himself this unfortunate day. Made me realise that there is life that needs to be lived and problems that need to face. Reclusion can only lead to more confusion and frustration. His lyrics have always been an influence for me and now his death teaches me to live; to live in actuality and don't let anything pull me away from reality.