I woke up on 21st July to some shocking news - Chester Bennington's death. In my formative teen years, Linkin Park was the band I listened to most of the time. In fact, the very first rock concert I ever watched was Linkin Park when they came to Singapore in 2004. I still remember it was held at Padang, and my friends and I were in the queue for what felt like the longest time. We would listen to Linkin Park all day long, and even formed a band in school because of them, writing music and recording them in GarageBand!

At that time (around 2002 or so), GarageBand was just released and we had lots of fun recording and writing our own somgs! My family had a MIDI keyboard (I have no idea why though - my parents aren't musicians and there was no reason to own one) and I managed to persuade my parents to buy me an electric guitar. So with those 2 in hand we would write our music, taking our inspiration from Linkin Park. I did most of the music and chords while my dear friend wrote lyrics and then we will patch them together to see if it works. We even used their (now) old school form of writing - singing, rapping, and having a mix of both! We would track the guitars, and then use the MIDI keyboard to add the bass lines and other parts, like an electric piano. No one owned a drumset so we resorted to using the drum patches from GarageBand. Although, we did use one of our friend's drumset to track the drums for one of our songs, but we couldn't possibly keep imposing ourselves there.

A funny story though - we were set to perform for a school event and I got myself injured the night before. Had about 5 or 6 stitches on the back of my head, got bandaged up, went back to school the following day and performed with the band! I think that was one of my highlights in secondary school. That and performing and competing in the SYF competition with the same bandage on, a week later. 

Although my musical tastes have changed over the years, I'm glad my close friend still listens to them and avidly follows them! He truly is a hardcore Linkin Park fan, despite them changing their sound and direction multiple times. And while I do appreciate their musical taste over the years, I wasn't especially drawn to it like I was with Hybrid Theory and Meteora. 

While I am not particularly devastated about his death (life still goes on), it does feel weird to hear about the death of one of your childhood musicians. Kind of makes me wonder about those who grew up listening to people like David Bowie and Prince. Reports say that he committed suicide from depression and mental illness. If you are reading this and you feel that your life is bleak, I implore you, speak to someone and open up! Things will not change overnight, but I guarantee it will help, bit by bit at the very least. The worst thing about mental illness is that outwardly and physically, we all look fine. And the ones that usually come out most hurt are the people around those afflicted.

Sorry for sounding morbid but mental illness really is concerning around the world. I can't say or speak from experience (about having depression of sorts), but we will always need someone to confide in. I can definitively say that my wife has helped me in so many ways that changed and shaped me to want to be a better human every day. The thing about it is that it only happened because I allowed myself to love and be loved in return, and to trust in this broad term of "humanity". 

This really is a personal post from my other more neutral and thought-provoking writings, but I hope that we learn from instances like these, that no matter how bleak it may seem, there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. Now I know there are articles and opinions out there about how people suffering from depression is not able to view the world as non-sufferers do, and with my statement about the light at the end, they see suicide as the only way out. I get that! I accept that thinking and that reasoning. I just pray that for sufferers, that light is something powerful and warm and involves the support and encouragement from family and friends. 

I hope each and everyone of you continue to be safe and well, both physically and mentally. Thank you for taking the time to read as well. I know I'll be putting some Linkin Park songs on repeat for the next few days.

Joachim

P.S. Part II from last week's post will come the following week!

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