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Everybody dies young. There is no single person who deserved “it was their time” as an epitaph. Fuck that. People deserve their lives and deserve to live. They deserve to be healthy and mindful and not feel alone. For whatever his reason, Chester Bennington is no longer with us and it sucks. 

I only met Chester a handful of times, mostly with other members of Linkin Park but once with his musical group Dead By Sunrise. He was always kind, congenial, and had a lovely sense of humor. Chester had one of those voices. It was incomparable what he could do with just his vocal chords. You felt it. Much like his friend Chris Cornell, he was a vocal power supply, heightening any song he was part of into cosmic proportions. Chester made music soar while connecting soulfully with the listeners. He radiated angst and passion, rage and joy, but could still break glass with a whisper. 

The first time I ever spoke with him was on one of Fuse’s live shows and fans were lining the blocks for hours. The band went outside to meet every single one, Chester among them. There was one fan in particular who had each member’s autograph tattooed on their back. I think of this fan now hoping they are okay. And if they aren’t, I want them to reach out for help. No one is alone, there is always someone. I’m sure Chester had help. We know he struggled and fought his addictions.

I remember being backstage at Projekt Revolution one year. We were talking to all of the bands plus listening to tales of a supposed Halo battle between Projekt Revolution and the Warped Tour. This is the kind of atmosphere behind that tour, music taken seriously, but the world behind it full of fun and friendship. These are the feelings I felt each time I had the opportunity to talk with Chester. And they are good memories to have. I know you have yours too.

-- by Steven Smith

Watch a collection of Linkin Park's appearances on Fuse over the years, including an interview with Steven: