This morning I woke up to news that lead singer Chester had taken his life, from a friend who was still holidaying in Scotland. And it was disheartening, because it hit home, and the news of his passing mirrored Soundgarden’s lead singer Chris Cornell’s death. Two extremely talented singer, clouded by depression, coupled by suicidal behaviour that should not just be interpreted as normal responders to stress.
I shot Chester at a press conference for hot magazine in 2007.
You see, Linkin Park was the first rock nu-metal hip-hop band I really took a liking to; their lyrics and song-smith cut through my childhood, and helped me come to terms with my own anger growing up then. Their 2003 concert in Kuala Lumpur, was everything but bland: I experienced my first mosh pit, and had passed out a brief moment, only to be awoken by hordes of fans carrying me over (and I like to believe I actually skydived, not fainted), and tossed me over the fence. I gained consciousness as a security guard walked towards me, and I had looked up to see Chester screaming out his lungs over the mic. But of course, I was escorted out to fresh air. That was my briefest, closest moment to Chester.
Then I had started working for hot magazine, an entertainment, lifestyle magazine, and was assigned to covering Chester’s press conference back in 2007, for the band’s listening session to their album ‘Minutes to Midnight’. I couldn’t remember what exactly I asked Chester that evening, but he took my questions graciously, flashed me a smile, and was poignant.
MTV and Channel [V] were my escapism, and ‘Papercut’ blazed through the TV screen that one day, and his voice control just tugged something in me. Followed on, there were ‘Crawling’ and ‘Numb’, strong songs that stood their own ground, that gave me an outlet to understand my anger amidst volatile family times. I’ve never really mentioned this to anyone before, but somehow that numbness melt away, and I was able to run with the times, and pursue what I love most: entertainment writing.
Goodnight Chester, your family, Mike Shinoda, Joe Hahn, Rob Bourbon, Brad Delson, and extended family will miss you dearly. So does your fans.
“I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there
Become so tired, so much more aware
I’m becoming this, all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you”