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“Sometimes We Need to Allow Artists to Simply Be Sick” – A Fan Reacts to the Death of Chester Bennington

As Linkin Park fans continue to come to grips with the death of Chester Bennington, they’re reaching out with messages of despair, hope and everything in between. An example would be this email that I got from Brad.

Just some random thoughts.

I think we are all surprised/shocked and saddened about Chester Bennington’s suicide. I can only hope that it helps bring forward the discussion about depression, social stigma, and suicide (BTW, the token link here is from a metal-oriented site and talks about the way to deal with suicide. Everyone should read it.)

I was a bit surprised by the reaction of my 19-year-old son, though. Last night we were talking and he said that this is the first time that a celebrity’s death has affected him. Prince, Robin Williams, even Chris Cornell really didn’t affect him. But he said that “This was my childhood.”

My kids and I were/are all fans of Linkin Park’s first three albums, and they played a fair part in many of our  road trips (I also have a number of LP songs on my phone right now). So once he pointed this out I guess I could see it.

I won’t say that this is my son’s generation’s Kurt Cobain. There are bigger names out there that would affect that age group more. But this sort of thing affects many people, including ones that you would not expect. And that is important.

Another thought I had was that we, as fans, need to allow artists to simply be sick. The challenges involved in touring–even for the most successful bands–can only increase exponentially for artists with mental health challenges. Yes, I want to see my favorite artists in concert, but more than that I want to see them create more art. And even more, I just want them to be happy, to share in the joy they have brought to my life.

What’s the solution? I dunno. Yes, conversation. Yes, openness But what else? Has the decrease of recorded music incomes placed inordinate pressure on artists to tour, even when sick? Should artists with challenges bring psychologists with them on tour?

Like I said, I dunno. But I am tired of seeing troubled people (in all walks of life) take their lives.

Sorry – that got kinda maudlin, and I don’t want to lay depressing stuff on you (after all, you’ve met many of these people and so it has to affect you). But maybe with your voice can help public acceptance of mental health issues, and maybe private conversations can help move solutions forward in the industry.

Have a great weekend. Apologies if I brought you down.  My son’s reaction just got me reflective.

Here: Have a sleeping kitten to help lift the mood.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38403 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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