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Some Thoughts on Chester Bennington

When I was 14, I had a Yahoo Geocities website. It was terrible. It was everything you expected from a 14-year-old’s personal webpage—autoplaying music, self-congratulatory inside jokes, and a whole lot of pop-culture (Invader Zim!) references. One of the sections of the site was a “shrines” page, which contained collages of whatever male celebrities I was crushing on at the time. One of these men was Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington.

No more were the posters of *NSync and Aaron Carter. What used to be 100.3 Z-100 hit music radio was now 92.3 K-rock. And crooning love songs were now replaced with angsty ballads of bitterness and betrayal.

I bought blue flame shoelaces from Hot Topic to mirror Chester’s blue flame wrist tattoos. I claimed to have a “thing” for men with lip rings. I made my middle school agenda book cover a meta-collage from my “shrines” page, Chester Bennington taking a prominent position near the top.

14 Years Later – 7/20/17

I was getting ready to go to therapy with my psychologist when I refreshed my Facebook page and found out Chester was dead.

The news broke via TMZ less than 30 minutes before my Facebook friends got to it.

I was supposed to see Linkin Park live for the first time in my life the next week Friday, July 28th – at Citi Field in Flushing, NY.

I didn’t have much time to process before I headed out the door to therapy. The shock was still fresh. “How did this happen?” “I was just listening to Linkin Park.” “What is going to happen to my tickets?”

The last time a suicide of a celebrity affected me was in 2008 when David Foster Wallace hung himself.

DFW understood depression:

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.

While DFW’s literary musings on depression and suicide gave some insight into his mind in the final days, Chester Bennington leaves only a few interviews, regarding childhood abuse and the dissolution of his first marriage, and the lyrics to his songs.

“Breaking the Habit” seems oddly prescient.

The fact that it was Chris Cornell’s birthday was probably not a coincidence.

Drugs and alcohol probably didn’t help.

But we’ll probably never know what Chester was thinking as he was preparing to hang himself in the early morning hours less than a week before his tour with Machine Gun Kelly was about to start.

Suicide is an awfully complicated subject to wrap when your head around. When it hits this hard and this close, the emotional fallout is hard to predict.

“I don’t think this will affect me too hard,” I told my therapist. “There’s just so many celebrity suicides these days; I think I’m kinda numb to them.”

That was just the shock talking.

I felt it later that night.

David Foster Wallace once said that the purpose of good literature was to make readers feel less alone. I think I can say the same about good music.

Thank you, Chester Bennington, for helping me and many others feel less alone.

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Song About David Foster Wallace

BLAMMOS: Living with David Foster Wallace


“And. And but so. And but so then. We all fell in love with living again.”

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Moon Hooch at Music Hall of Williamsburg Review

September 1, 2016 Leave a comment

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Who knew you could make such good dance music with saxophones? Brookyln’s own Moon Hooch came home Thursday, August 25 with an energizing show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. With a style Moon Hooch refers to as “Cave Music. Organic House Music. More wild, more jagged, more free, more natural to live in and dance in,” Moon Hooch rocked out with Billyburg attendees with a satisfying two-hour set.

Getting their start by performing in Williamburg’s Bedford L station, Moon Hooch hit local notoriety by getting kicked out by the MTA for “starting too many dance parties.” They have since gained popularity nationwide by touring with indie powerhouse They Might Be Giants.

The Music Hall of Williamsburg is a mid-size venue with reasonable ticket prices hovering around $25. Moon Hooch tickets were $20–a great deal for, including the opening band, three hours of entertainment. The music hall has three floors and two bars; it had a lounge, a floor, and a mezzanine with bars on the lounge and mezzanine. The mezzanine had tables with chairs around the periphery and stadium seating. The venue was clean and convenient, only a 15-minute walk from neighboring Greenpoint.

The opening band was Bears. Not to be confused with 80s group The Bears, Bears is a self-described “doom pop” band. They opened with an hour-long set reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins or The Verve. It was good ol’ alternative rock time, but the floor really started heating up around 10PM, as the main attraction was set to take stage.

No introduction needed, Moon Hooch jumped out. Wenzl McGowe and Mike Wilbur grabbed their saxes off the stands. The drummer, James Muschler, rocked no shirt. They began their set with the trippy “Psychotubes.”

Here is footage I got of their opening song from my mezzanine seat:

The guy positioned right in front of center stage really stole the show. He kept up his mad moves all night!

Moon Hooch then transitioned into some “ambient improv,” before launching into a bunch of new tracks from their new album, Red Sky. Notable tracks were “Low 5,” “Alien Invasion,” and “Rough Sex.” There were little to no breaks for the band as they flowed seamlessly from one track into the other, including some techno improv and a sax solo by McGowe. The energy from the crowd never died down, as everyone saved no energy for an afterparty.

One thing that was different from some of their previous shows is that one of the members tried his hand at vocals in “St. Louis.” There were no male vocals three years ago at their show at Brooklyn Bowl. While they weren’t my favorite part of the set, it was nice to see the band expand their skill set and try new things.

About three-quarters of the way through their set, Moon Hooch busted out with “Number 9” The crowd went wild. This was the song they sampled the iconic “Ladies and gentleman, the next L train is now arriving on the Manhattan bound tracks.” Brooklyn knew and appreciated their home song.

They ended with “Contra Dubstep,” which is a markedly different song from the ever-catchy “Contra.” Notably absent from this set was “Contra” (Dictionary: Contra – preposition – “against.”), perhaps due to to a desire to focus on the new album or the lack of availability of the female vocalist. Whatever the reason, “Contra Dubstep,” is still a great example of the band’s self-described “Cave Music,” bold and with bass drops.

Moon Hooch thanked the crowd and exited the stage, but no one budged. There had to be an encore. Sure enough, they stepped right back out with their encore song, “Number 1.” I do have a video of the encore too, but you’ll have to go see them in person to see it. Moon Hooch deserves it.

The show was a fantastic reminder that fresh music is alive and well in Brooklyn. Moon Hooch put on their signature energetic performance with a new album that not only will resonate with saxophone connoisseurs, but with anyone looking for something to dance to.

Moon Hooch is touring now! Check out http://www.moonhooch.com/tour/ for dates and tickets.
Check out their new album, Red Sky, at http://www.moonhooch.com/red-sky/