About two months ago, Audioslave's Chris Cornell committed suicide, leaving the world in utter shock. Perhaps none was more affected by his death than his best friend, Chester. The two had shared an amiable bond that formed when they realized that they had fought the same demons for years. Before the world was done grieving for Chris, the news of Chester's demise started creating ripples throughout social media. When I heard it for the first time, I refused to believe it. It could not be. Wasn't it the same Chester Bennington who had promised to come up on top of his depression? “I try not to be alone. It's not a good feeling when there's another me inside my head who constantly tries to pull me down”, he had said in one of his final interview. It was a cry for help, one which was not answered. For quite some time, fans had been complaining about Linkin Park refusing to evolve as a band. When they did evolve, the same fans complained about Linkin Park not being the same anymore. Angry fanboys used social media to complain about how Linkin Park were shit now, and these comments were visible in almost all their new videos that they had published on Facebook and YouTube. They claimed that they were the “true” fans of Linkin Park and took it upon themselves to convince them to go back to their olden ways. Some even personally attacked Chester in an inconsiderate act of online bullying, which probably helped push him towards the edge. Now that we will never have his powerful voice providing melody to Mike Shinoda's bars, they have perhaps realized what we have actually lost.
Artists from all over the world expressed their grievances about Chester's demise, and had unanimously agreed that he was one of the most influential singers in the post-2000 era. Tributes started pouring in from the likes of Imagine Dragons, Limp Bizkit, Kiiara, Machine Gun Kelly, Rise Against and many of the most prominent artists in the world. YouTube overflowed with covers of Numb, In The End, Crawling and more of their hits. Comments like “You sang like an angel, screamed like a devil. RIP Chester” became commonplace. Although we can now see them and reminisce of how great an artist he was, I do not know if Chester himself can see all these tributes. Perhaps he needed this kind of compassion when he was alive.
We can only hope now that he is in a better place. We can hope that he has finally found the peace he had been craving for over the years. Chester Bennington fought the good fight, he did so until he simply couldn't anymore. I am convinced that he certainly did his best. We should appreciate his music being there for us when no one else was, and leave out all the rest.
By Sadi Mohammad Shahnewaz
Painting by Samira Kamil