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21st Century King of Rock 'n' Roll: A Tribute to Chester Bennington Article and Photos by Chad Thomas Carsten Chester Bennington's music will forever remain inside my musical soul. I was sitting on break at Reese and Ray's IGA when my own mother (She knew how much I loved Chester's music.) texted me about Chester's suicide and my eye's immediately flooded with tears and I started sobbing profusely and jetted to the employee bathroom so no one could see me crying. I just had a dreadful feeling it wasn't a crude online hoax. Sure enough, my instincts were sadly correct. My teenage hero was gone and it felt like the Reaper ripped my heart out and I somehow watched my own heart stop beating in front of my own eyes. I closed my eyelids shut and whispered, "Thank you for all the music you created Chester! rest in peace" and I ended up leaving my 9 to 5 early, so I could get home as quickly as possible and blast every single Linkin Park record from start to finish nearly full volume on the Sony home theater system. Dead By Sunrise's "Out of Ashes" was played on full blast soon after, followed by various Grey Daze tracks and Chester's appearance on the Queen of the Damned soundtrack with "System" on continuous repeat. My childhood and early teenage years were pretty intense growing up in Flint, Michigan, but I survived the aftermath of moving out of the city of broken glass, shattered dreams, and burnt buildings thanks to the music of Linkin Park. I was twelve in the Fall of 2000 when I first heard the "Shut Up" bridge and the chorus to One Step Closer on Flints Banana 101.5 when one of my Father's friends drove me to McKinley Middle School around 6:45 a.m. I had no clue it was Linkin Park for over a year, because the Everlast single "What's It Like" directly played right after and I arrived at school rather quickly, being it was only a five-minute drive. But the hook stayed in my head for hours upon hours that week. Something about Chester's voice resonated with me that day on my way to school and I literally instantaneously had goose bumps form across my arms with how astonished I was with Bennington's prodigious vocal range. That very same day I had to do a two mile run in the gym class I constantly was bullied in the final hour of the day. The bridge and hook for One Step Closer was still pounding in my head relentlessly for the better when the two-mile run started. I was the second kid to come back from running the entire two miles without stopping and the track somehow granted me this new breed of confidence inside me to finish the run and prove to my peers that I'm not the skinny weak push over they think I am. I felt so accomplished and I was on the hunt to figure out who the artist was behind this "Shut Up" song (that's what I called it), but no one at school knew what I was even talking about because they were obsessed with Eminem. Fast forward nearly two weeks later and I'm at a friend of the family's house in Burton ( a suburb of Flint) Michigan. I'm looking through this older teenage boy PlayStation video game case. I'm slowly flipping through the pages admiring the CD art on the discs when suddenly I stumbled upon Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory inside the case. I asked him if the CD was any good. not realizing this was the band I heard on the day of the two-mile run. The older teenager replied with "Nah, someone gave it to me because they didn't like it and I decided to keep it". The band name seemed a little bland, but the winged soldier holding the flag was "bad ass", exact words of mine. I asked if we could listen to the disc, but that's when my father decided it was time to go home and eat dinner. So I didn't even get a chance. Not long after that, some crazy shit went down with my Grandfather and someone hired a gang banger to try and kill my father but didn't succeed. We got the hell out of Flint rather hastily after that occurred and only took the bare minimum, left the house vacant, and headed towards the woods of Northern Michigan to start a new life. A year later a family who was close with my family came up to hunt for deer season. I'm flipping through their adopted son's torn up CD case and behold there was Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory and I promptly put the album in my shitty dollar store bought boombox and immediately fell in love with the album. I had a holy shit moment when "One Step Closer played", because at 62 VandalaMagazine.Conri - July/August 2017

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July august 2017 Vandala Magazine  

The kids will be back in school as we reminisce about all the summer fun we had; as you will see we had a lot of it!   On the cover an inter...

July august 2017 Vandala Magazine  

The kids will be back in school as we reminisce about all the summer fun we had; as you will see we had a lot of it!   On the cover an inter...

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