Last week the music industry was hit hard with the suicide of Linkin Park’s singer, Chester Bennington. Tributes to him poured out left, right and centre and my Facebook feed was filled with friends who were shocked and saddened by his death; many who also suffer daily with their own mental health. It’s had me thinking a lot since the news about how they influenced me and without Linkin Park I might be leading a very different life.
The Paths In Life We Take
Now I know that every choice we make gives a certain result. If we didn’t go in to that bar then we wouldn’t have met our friends/partners, if we had played that lottery ticket we’d have been millionaires and other such choices. I don’t tend to dwell on the “should haves” but I do enjoy looking back at how I’ve grown and what has made me who I am today.
One of the big influences on my life has been music, in particular, Linkin Park.
Before Linkin Park
I’ve not always been a rock chick. In fact, in my early teens right up to leaving school I was the complete opposite. Aaron often jokes that I was a “chav”. I listened to typical 90’s/00’s pop music, dance music and rap. My musical choices ranged from The Spice Girls through to Dr.Dre. These choices in life weren’t really my own, I would follow the crowd in the hope to fit in.
I listened to BoyZone and Westlife because my cousin did. I listened to dance music because that’s what my step-sister was in to, along with her friends and hitting the “teenie bopper” nights at the local pub. I was introduced to rap by my best-friend at the time and while I still enjoy Eminem, the rest of that style is now lost on me.
Discovering Linkin Park
I can remember it as clear as day. I was sat in the car with my dad at 16 (2001) and he was commenting on my choice of music (rap at the time). During this conversation “Crawling” came on the radio and I made the comment of “at least I don’t listen to this crap”. I actually hadn’t listen to it and because all I could hear was screaming I immediately dismissed it. Oh so young and ignorant.
It wasn’t until some months later I actually sat down and watched the video to it on MTV (back when it actually played music videos). Watching the video also allowed me to actually listen to the lyrics and something hit me. I’m not sure what but the lyrics reached out to me and all of a sudden that “screaming” was a powerful part of the song.
Connecting With Other Fans
At this point I’d left high school and moved to live with my mum, leaving behind all the friends and their musical influence. I was now heading towards a new 6th Form with people who didn’t know me, and a new found confidence that I could listen to whatever music I actually enjoyed. Turns out there were others at this point in my life who shared my enjoyment for Linkin Park and they opened up an entire musical world to me.
The first up was Neil. He was in my computing class and he was a HUGE LP fan. He helped nurture me during this transition, playing me other songs and it gave me a way to connect with someone at this new place. Later, when “In The End” came out I was able to connect with an entire group of people at that school.
Steve came along with a few of his friends, we’d sit singing along to “In The End” on a break or free period. These guys then introduced me to other bands such as Green Day, Sum41, Good Charlotte and my alternative music tastes grew. I didn’t need to try and fit in as before. I could listen to what I enjoyed, dress how I wanted to and be myself – it was such a relief.
Who I Am Today
I know I might have found my place in the alternative scene without Linkin Park. I might have just stumbled across another band further down the line and everything could have ended up where I am now; or not. The thing about LP is that they were just the right kind of metal to nudge me through the door. To make me curious and allow me to connect with others who then introduced me to more.
I don’t think I’d have met Aaron if I hadn’t have been into this style of music, our love of Rammstein was a great conversation starter. I would have never entered the Lycos Chat room called The Crypt which is where I met my best friend and many other really good friends.
I find it amazing how listening to just one song opened up my world and broke me out of the holding pattern I was in. Stopped the habit of following the flock and gave me my individuality. There isn’t another band who has had as big an impact on me, and although the more recent material hasn’t been to my taste they will always be my gateway band.
R.I.P Chester Bennington
I hate the fact that this talented, loved and huge influence to many people wasn’t in the right place mentally and that he felt like he couldn’t reach out to anyone enough to save him. If you need someone to help get you out of a bad place then reach out, please. There is always someone who will listen, a friend, a family member or you can drop me an email and I’ll be at the other end. Alternatively, The Samaritans are a phone call away on 116 123.
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