Thursday, July 20, 2017

Minutes To Midnight

I don’t even know where to begin, though I feel like I should. Those who have followed Frequently Interrupted with any regularity are well aware of my passion for music. Those who know me outside of these pages know that this passion borders on obsession, and those who know me well know that singers are the pinnacle of that obsession. I love music, but I get lost in the right voices. If you asked me at any point over the past fifteen years or so, Chester Bennington would have been the owner of one of the voices on the “right voices” list every time, without question. Chester’s voice helped me over some bad times, and I know I am not alone in that. The music of Linkin Park speaks to the lost, the lonely, and the damaged, and Chester’s voice - from soaring melody to devastating scream - was the heart of that music. That heart has stopped, and many more have broken as a result.

It is easy to forget that the most brilliant art often comes from places of pain. We see celebrities, we see glamour, we see thronging crowds of screaming fans, and we forget the months away from home, we forget the distance from love and support, we forget that the people who get into this life don’t usually come from the most secure starting points in the first place. Rock and Roll - especially the loud and passionate variety - calls to the broken, and those who excel in this industry tend to have some of the largest cracks. They are beautifully broken, they show us things that couldn’t be seen without those cracks, but there is so much risk and so little support. We turn to them when we don’t know how to say what we feel, but who helps them? Far too often, the answer is no one. No one helps them, and then we cry because it’s too late.

There is so much stigma attached to mental health, and that does not get better in the metal music scene. You’re supposed to be tough. It’s all growls and screams and anger, but anger comes from somewhere. Anger is almost always pain trying to find an outlet. If we, as a society, could learn to let those outlets happen in productive and healthy manners, maybe we wouldn’t have to keep having this conversation. It’s worth a thought, right? Can we try it?

I am trying to string together some good and helpful words, but I am also trying not to scream, myself. If I’m being perfectly honest, I am typing through blurry vision. That might be hard to understand for some people, but some will get it. I wish someone had known more, sooner. I wish Chester had asked for help, or maybe asked more if he did. I wish we allowed people to feel comfortable asking for help. I don’t know what was involved, what was done, and what was needed - we can’t know, not entirely - but here’s what I do know. I know that Chester Bennington was only 41 years old. I know that he was a husband and a father, he was a friend to many and an inspiration to so many more. I know that he had one of the greatest, most moving voices in the modern rock industry, and I know that voice has been silenced. This matters. It matters in so many ways, big and small, personal and social, but it also matters to me, and I’m not sure I know how to say that correctly.

Chester Bennington, you would never know it, would have no way or reason to know it, but you brought me back from the edge once. You saved my life, and I wish so much that someone could have done that for you. I hate these words. I hate typing them, and I hate feeling them, and still I know that what I’m feeling isn’t a candle to your wife and children, to your loved ones, to your bandmates. I’m so sorry for their loss, and I’m so sorry for your pain that led to that loss.

The minutes tick ever closer to midnight for us all, but sometimes we don’t know just how close. The clock will stop. That is an eventuality we must all face. Make sure you have lived before then. Make sure you have loved before then.

Rest in peace, Chester Bennington. You will be missed.

March 20, 1976 – July 20, 2017

If you need help, if you love someone who needs help, please remember, you can reach out to the Crisis Text Line 741741 and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline '1-800-273-TALK (8255)' 24/7.

(All music and videos copyright Linkin Park.)

“If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In the sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone's time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
Or quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do”
One More Light
Somewhere I Belong


In The End

Bleed It Out

What I’ve Done

Castle Of Glass

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