I remember a buddy at work handing me a CD and said, “You have to listen to this.”  It was Linkin Park’s first album Hybrid Theory.  I had never heard of Linkin Park so I asked what type of music it was.  I was told rap metal.  By the time Hybrid Theory was out I was long out of listening to rap.  Tribe had broke up.  Tupac and Biggie died.  I liked newcomer Eminem and was waiting on De La’s new album.  I kinda dug Limp Bizkit I guess and, to a lesser extent, Korn.  I said thanks, took the CD, worked the rest of my day, then put in Linkin Park on my car ride home.

I was immediately impressed.  There was some great music with a rapper and a singer who could really wail.  I started listening to that album over and over and over and over again.  I thought it was fucking brilliant.  Hell – I still think its fucking brilliant and I still listen to it to this very day.

I really liked how Mike Shinoda rapped and how he would weave in and out of Chester Bennington’s singing.  I thought it was really just a perfect match.  A few years later when Meteora came out I was so damn happy that the sophomore slump didn’t reach Linkin Park.  That album was so damn good – it is just as good as Hybrid Theory if not better.

By the time Linkin Park’s third album came out the music scene had changed.  Rap metal wasn’t really a thing anymore – as quickly as it became a genre it just as quickly dried up.  I bought Minutes to Midnight, gave it a few spins, then I gave the CD away.  I didn’t dig it.  Not at all.

Which is fine.  A band needs to grow.  It’s good to change with the times I guess.  But my love affair with Linkin Park pretty much ended with Meteora.

I still dug Bennington.  When he joined STP for like two minutes I thought their stuff was …well…at least decent. When I found out that Linkin Park had a new album coming out I was planning on buying it until Chester Bennington came out and said, “Why are we still talking about Hybrid Theory?  It was fucking years ago.  It’s a great record, we love it.  Like move the fuck on.”

I was excited for that new Linkin Park album but when I read that I pretty much loss all interest.  Maybe that’s my own damn fault.  I really see it now as something John Lennon would have said while recording The White Album and someone asking him to sing Love Me Do over and over again.

As a casual fan I’m sad that Chester is gone.  Suicide is no joke.  Depression is no joke.  I don’t know if it was depression or whatever but it really sucks when the only way out is to take your own life.  While I might not have enjoyed the music anymore I can still appreciate the actual man.

So I’m going to go buy that new Linkin Park album now.  Hopefully I’ll dig it.

Rest in peace, Chester.