Linkin Park Just Up Ahead

When I was coming up, I remember all the blasé blasé around Linkin Park. I remember hearing that they were just a bastard child of the music world, in a time when Rock and Hip Hop could not be married in a band like this, surely the product of a corporate agenda, thriving and striving to wrestle a few dollars from the youth's pockets.

But I still remembered their songs. A lot of them.

Fans were good to the band, and still are. 67 awards, 2 Grammys, and millions upon millions of record sales, listens, streams, etc.

Now as a California kid, and very much a product of the MTV Generation, I knew as we all did that pigeonholing yourself musically was not real. That music, especially music videos made no one a monolith in taste. But I digress. I had my artists. Hesher kids had theirs. And we just all acted like everyone didn’t know all Boyz II Men’s hits. For example.

And then Jay-Z & Linkin Park’s "Collision Course" came out. Great name in hindsight.

And a couple people, myself included, had to shut that up. And enjoy.

And I did. Enough to see them in concert. Twice.

I mean, I was really there for Hov. (Eyes fully rolled.)

I’m writing this because in 20/20 hindsight, I never appreciated what that was all about. I mean, the lyrics I got. The heavy rock vibe I got. The hits and the collabs I got. But a group of Asian and White kids doing some type of rock fusion out of Agoura Hills? Either I missed that, or I didn’t.

Would it have been different if Mike Shinoda didn’t, well, look like Mike Shinoda? Would it have been different if Chester Benningtondidn’t look like the poster child for the frustrated young white youth, or not?

Or was it perfect the way it was?

I know two things from where I am now, and frankly where I got once I accepted Linkin Park into my heart.

One is that some of their music got me through a coming of age I couldn’t explain if I tried. Like a lot of fans.

And two is this random fact that probably ties this all together for me:

Chester came back to the band with the name Linkin Park, after driving home from band practice in Santa Monica, by Lincoln Park. They all liked how it sounded.

Westside Wisemen will be playing the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills Friday, July 19.

I will be driving up from Venice through Santa Monica, the Black dude in the Asian band when you “do the math” as it were. Racists got that joke, but we’re mixed in case you didn't. And all the while I’ll be flirting with the whispers of the past and the ghosts of the present to play songs that might help someone else get through something in the future.

We will have lost Chester Bennington two years ago on Saturday, July 20. #makechesterproud