SINGAPORE: Local fans of the band Linkin Park on Friday (Jul 21) mourned the “shock” passing of its lead singer Chester Bennington as they paid tribute to the deeply personal impact made by the American rock outfit.

Bennington was 41 when he died on Thursday in a suspected suicide. His distinctive vocals fronted a band who rocketed to fame in 2000 with their Grammy-nominated debut album Hybrid Theory. Their follow-up effort, Meteora, shipped nearly 30 million copies and Linkin Park also successfully collaborated with superstar rapper Jay-Z in 2004.

The untimely death of the band’s voice left fan Azny, 30, reeling in disbelief. “I had to check multiple sources… I cried all the way to work. In the office, somebody put on (their) songs and I had to hide my sobbing.”

“I felt an uncontrollable tinge of sadness,” said banking professional Terence Chew. “It was as if an old friend from my childhood had passed on, even if I didn’t know him personally.”

Added Mr Chew, who caught on to the band while in secondary school: “Their music represented an emotional outlet for a teenager like me.

“Their tunes were catchy, the lyrics resonated with my emotions then – it felt like having a friend listen to you during those late nights,” he explained. “In particular I found Chester’s voice carried a unique blend of power and sorrow.”

Mr Darren Tan, 29, spoke of a similarly “cathartic connection” with Linkin Park’s music.

“They captured the angst and frustration of growing up,” he said.

“Chester’s voice is crazy. I used to jam out to Linkin Park’s songs and sang, screamed his parts. So his death is hitting me especially hard,” said Azny.

“Their lyrics from their earlier albums are honest and his vocals are just out of this world,” said Mr Stefanus Ian, co-founder of multimedia production house Run and Gun Media. “For anyone who grew up in the 1990s, Linkin Park has been a part of their pop culture and to see such an icon gone so fast, it is devastating.”


Mr Ian also reflected on how Linkin Park’s music represented a rebellious yet formative time in his youth.

“My parents were not big fans of their songs, understandably … So I had to painstakingly save my own pocket money to buy their albums – and they are still some of my prized possessions now.

“I would listen to them over and over into the night ’til I fell asleep,” he recalled. “Their music came when I just moved to Singapore as a foreign student, and it was a pretty tumultuous period in my life.

“But their songs and lyrics made it feel like they understood my struggles … through their music I found comfort.”
News of Bennington’s death left him with “gut-wrenching regret” at not having watched the band perform live, Mr Ian said.

“Every time they came to Singapore, I simply did not catch them live because of one reason or another. I always thought that they would come back again to Singapore … it seems like I will no longer have that opportunity.”

Azny, who managed to catch the band in the US, recalled feeling then that she would “for sure see them again”.

“I won’t be seeing Chester in concert anymore now,” she said.


In the wake of Bennington’s death, fans told Channel NewsAsia how they spent the morning listening back to Linkin Park, “with some tracks on loop”.

But for others, there was a more profound way to honour the legacy of a man with a troubling history of drugs, alcohol and an abusive childhood.

“Chester had a long history of depression and he has helped by speaking up about it,” said Mr Ian. “Perhaps the media can try and highlight the real dangers of depression, and encourage people to be more aware of the tell-tale signs that they should look out for.”

Said Mr Tan: “I think we can go beyond self-serving things like listening to their albums, and look out for and help those around us. Depression is a real thing.”

“I won’t go on a listening spree of their albums,” Azny declared. “They are part of my everyday staple… It’s not like I’ve stopped listening to them – They just released a new album and have been touring. Which is also why this is so shocking.”

“Chester and the band are known for being good and kind folks; you sense from their interviews and shows that they love their fans and the music,” she continued.

“I know many people who have used their tracks to get them through tough times. It’s sad that his self-expression, which has helped so many, didn’t help him.”

“Chester’s pain will be felt more through his songs now. A lot of us are still rocking out to them and Chester will go down in history as one of the iconic voices of our generation,” Azny concluded.

“I really hope Linkin Park will carry on. It will be different but the music world still needs them.”
Source: CNA/cy


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