Not long ago I did a Flashback Friday post for Chris Cornell who committed suicide at the too young age of 52. This week Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park who had also sung at Cornell’s funeral, has also committed suicide at the even younger age of 41.
I was never a fan of Linkin Park’s style, so I can’t really do any analysis of it justice. But clearly, both he and Cornell made music that meant a lot to young men struggling to find acceptable forms of emotional expression. Their contributions to popular conceptions of masculinity and vulnerability in American music cannot be easily dismissed.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men are 3.5 times more likely to take their own life than women. White males in particular are more likely to be affected. I’ll defer to an expert to make a thorough analysis of why, but the issue of high rates of male suicide is a feminist issue. In Chester Bennington’s case, he was a survivor of child sexual assault. The stigma of sex abuse for the victim is well known for female victims, but the silence around male victims is deafening.
To honor Chester’s talent and his relationship to others in the music industry, here’s a selection of his covers.
“Interstate Love Song”, Stone Temple Pilots (2013)
Chester collaborated to sing some of Stone Temple Pilots’ most iconic songs before his close friend and frontman Scott Weiland passed away in 2015. I’ve personally always favored STP more than Linkin Park and “Interstate” is well played on my Spotify. Weiland had lost his battle with substance abuse, a different form of suicide. A recent article from Alternative Nation describes how both their lives mirrored each other. Well worth a read for rock historians.
“Rolling In The Deep” (2013)
And finally, here is Chester covering Hallelujah for Chris Cornell (2017)