Friday, July 21, 2017

RIP, Chester Bennington



Man, this is getting ridiculous!

All of these talented musicians and artists are dying off, just like last year. This time, it is Chad Bennington, the former lead singer of Linkin Park, and he also filled in for the Stone Temple Pilots for a few years. 

According to reports, Bennington was found dead in his home in Palos Verdes Estates, in California, earlier today. Like Chris Cornell, he died by suicide, and like Cornell, he specifically died by hanging himself. 

Now, I cannot pretend to be as big of a fan of Bennington's work as I was with Cornell. Soundgarden was a main staple for me in the 1990's, and they were one of those very rare bands that came to mean more to me over the course of the years then they did early on. I also liked Cornell's work with Audioslave, and other musical projects that he had, plus all of his solo works.

The only stuff that I specifically knew from Bennington was with Linkin Park. I saw them once or twice, definitely at least once at one of the Ozzfests. They were huge at that time, and seemingly on the rise. They had a unique style that brought together the heavier sounds of metal and hard rock along with hip hop, and they did it quite well. Their first album, "Hybrid Theory," was a smashing success. There were some amazing songs on there that were easy to rock out to. I even liked their remix of that album, "Reanimation."

Yet, that album came when I really still mostly appreciate the hard rocking stuff. Years later, they came out "Minutes to Midnight," which featured some highly successful songs. It featured "What I've Done," a song that really spoke to me, taking a protesting activist perspective on all of the damage that our society is doing in the world. 

Some bands never seem to take a stand on any issues, while others take softball stances, remaining in that safe zone, where you can kind of tell that consideration of their profit is greater than the thought that went into whatever message they are trying to deliver. But somehow, Linkin Park, and perhaps especially Benningfield, seemed to have something more than that. The lyrics and the message seemed to be a bit more heartfelt and sincere, as well as intelligent and insightful.

Still, that was not the song from that album that wound up meaning the most to me. That would be "Shadow of the Day," which features some thought provoking lyrics on a more personal level. At the time, I was going through some things - depressing things - and that particular song just really spoke to me. Whenever I hear it come on, it instantly takes me back to that time period, and the somewhat intense feeling of loneliness (not in a good way) and even betrayal that I felt. That song was one of the very good things that I can remember from then, and almost became, for me, the soundtrack of that era of my life, particularly around either late 2007 and certainly well into 2008. 

Later, Bennington joined the Stone Temple Pilots while Scott Weiland.

It is with bitter irony that Bennington hung himself, as he was the Godfather of Chris Cornell's son. Chris Cornell, of course, also hung himself just months ago. 

I was very saddened to hear about Bennington's death today. May he rest in peace. And let us also wish the very best not just to his family, but also to the Cornell family, who once again have to endure a very bitter loss by suicide.

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