Yesterday was the first time I was able to bring myself to listen to Linkin Park since Chester’s suicide. I listened to most of the Reanimation album (a few tracks were missing from my phone) since way back when it was my favourite LP album.
It’s hard to think back and remember how LP were such a massive part of my life when I was a young teenager. I had to have my own copies of the albums, Reanimation came out around one of my birthdays and was an extra treat, then Meteora dropped in 2003 and I swear I listened to that album everyday for about 40 days straight.
In November 2003 Linkin Park did their UK tour with their first ever date in Glasgow. I had already bought a ticket but I ended up winning a radio competition on Beat 106 and not only won 2 more tickets but also won backstage passes for my friends and I. It was the absolute greatest night of my life, the night before I turned 15, and solidified how much I loved LP and Chester.
I have fond memories of those few years, in the vacuum between albums I of course got interested in other bands like My Chemical Romance and Placebo (the latter to an obsessive point) and won countless radio competitions to win tickets for them and merchandise. The point is, despite school and reality, I had music to fall back on, I had my bands I could count on to make me feel better, to protect me in a little bubble world when I didn’t have the answers to the big things myself. The words Chester sang and screamed fit perfectly with my own feelings of angst and confusion and I am so much a better person for having been able to work through it all with his help. My only regret, and one I know everyone is and will be feeling, is that Chester didn’t get this same escape and closure to his angst and demons, or not enough of it, at least.
I’m sorry as the years went by and communications became easier, I’m sorry I didn’t just tweet or message the profound impact he and his band had on me. They made me want to do better, to work harder and more passionately. And they proved that dreams do come true. I’m still struggling to tie this happy part of my teenage-hood with the harsh realities I’ve faced myself and understand as an adult, I don’t know that I ever will, and I don’t know that I need to; the happiest memory I have is what will keep his memory alive.