I’m angry. At myself. At everyone.
Today the internet is awash with pleas for people to speak up if they’re suffering; to break the stigma of depression, to talk about poor mental health. And rightly so.
But Chester Bennington did just that. We just weren’t listening.
On March 30th, Linkin Park held a launch party of sorts, for their record One More Light. This involved them playing a couple of songs, stripped back to just piano and voice, in the foyer of their record label, Warners, in south London. Cards on the table; I merely appreciated Linkin Park. I wasn’t the biggest fan, but I never questioned their importance. I respected them. But the way they performed the songs, skeletal, delicate, chilling; they were beautiful. I came away touched.
But before they performed, they conducted a question and answer session. In that session, Chester explicitly told the audience – an audience that included myself, as well as a host of other music industry people – that he had recently contemplated suicide. Not years ago. Recently.
Chester wasn’t suffering in silence. He told us. He told us directly. He told his bandmates. Fucking hell, he told his employers.
I feel anger. And I feel shame.
I’m asking myself what I could have done. He wasn’t a rockstar I had the phone number of. There are people I could call up and say, ‘hey, I’m here...’ But he wasn’t one of them.
But a man told an audience I was in, that he had been thinking of killing himself, and less than four months later, he killed himself.
Lately, but for too long now, I can’t shake the feeling that the world is broken. It’s moving too fast. Communication is too dissipated. Humanity is off its hinges, the wheel is flapping around off the axis. Caring has become so uncool. A hero of mine, Chris Cornell, died barely two months ago. It might make me sound like a fucking dick, but it feels like a year ago, so much has happened since.
If you're suffering, you must speak up. But if people are speaking, we must listen. We must. Tomorrow we attempt to do justice to the man in the pages of Kerrang!'s forthcoming tribute issue. But I am sick of writing about people I admire in the past tense. RIP Chester.