Linkin Park’s Hong Kong fans mourn band’s lead singer, Chester Bennington, after he dies aged 41
‘Heartbreaking’. ‘A terrible loss’. Hong Kong musicians who took their inspiration from Chester Bennington and his bandmates, frequent visitors to the city, pay tribute to the singer following his death in Los Angeles
In a city famed for its syrupy Canto-pop, the heavy nu-metal outfit built up a massive fan base. They performed in Hong Kong four times – in 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2013. The band members held a meet and greet with fans before their last live show in the city and they were rumoured to be returning for a fifth concert next year.
Bennington had struggled with drug and alcohol addictions at various times during his life and was homeless for months before Linkin Park became famous.
Yoyo Yiu Lin-tung, the singer for local band Rain In Time, attended the band’s 2013 concert in Hong Kong and said Bennington and Linkin Park had a huge impact on bands in the city during the Noughties.
“Chester was a big influence on Hong Kong bands in my generation,” she said. “I want to thank Chester for encouraging me to stay strong through his songs and his lyrics. It’s really sad to hear this news, but Chester’s positive side will continue to influence me all the time.”
Watch: Linkin Park in concert in Hong Kong in 2013
Another Hong Kong musician inspired by Bennington was Kenta Mitsuhashi, a member of the bands Seasons for Change and Soul of Ears.
“I was inspired by Chester’s voice and the lyrical content of Linkin Park’s songs. He was my first rock idol. I spent years singing his songs, almost on a daily basis, training my voice to be as powerful and emotive as Chester’s,” he said.
“Most of this generation of Hong Kong bands probably started listening and playing music thanks to Linkin Park. It’s absolutely heartbreaking and tragic to have lost him so soon.”
Briton Ciaran Love caught two of the band’s Hong Kong performances, in 2004 and 2007, and provided hospitality for the band in 2004 while he worked in the entertainment industry.
“It’s a terrible loss – particularly as he left half a dozen kids behind. Addiction is a real mother******. It doesn’t care whether you are rich or poor, or black or white,” Love said.
Linkin Park sold more than 10 million copies of their 2000 debut album Hybrid Theory, and won Grammy awards in 2001 and 2005, but alienated many fans with the pop and electronica on their latest album, One More Light, released in May.
Local rock music stalwart Chris B, who organises The Underground series of live shows, attended the band’s first show in Hong Kong, but had been spreading the word about the band locally since Hybrid Theory came out.
“There were only about 300 people there in 2004, but I hear that the last time they played there were about 8,000 people there,” she says.
“They really knew how to build up a solid fan base through their fan club, providing fans with exclusive tracks and so on. Plus they deserve respect for being one of the first big foreign bands to regularly tour mainland China.”