2016 was a bad year. So many of us lost icons that had meant so much to us. I still haven't got over some of them. But 2017 isn't shaping up all that well either. On Thursday, just as we began the long school summer holiday, I saw a tweet about Linkin Park, and my heart sank. Then shattered. Chester Bennington had been found dead, probably suicide. He was five years younger than me.
I only became a fan recently, and quite by accident. One of my many internet friends came over to meet me for real and suggested a trip to the cinema. We went to see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I'm not a huge fan, but it was action packed and entertaining if not particularly challenging mentally. It had something else though. A song called New Divide by Linkin Park.
Chester's voice and music inspired and transform two of my books. Thanks to the album Living Things, the chaotic, scattered mess that became When Dark Falls gained an identity and a darkly industrial feel, as well as turning into a superhero romance with a coherent story.
Chester's lesser known band Dead by Sunrise became the sound track to the hardest book I've written so far - my Louisiana zombie story, Restless In Peaceville - along with an LP track called The Little Things Give You Away.
I haven't loved everything they've done. I'm sorry to say it but I couldn't even sit through the entirety of their two latest singles. They'd gone in a direction I didn't like, but their ever evolving sound and willingness to experiment might well have brought me back to the next album. But that will never happen now. I'm just glad that I found them when I did and at least got to see them play live once. I will treasure that.
RIP Chester Bennington. I hope you've finally found peace.