Earlier this week, LAMB OF GOD guitarist Mark Morton unveiled the second single, which features late LINKIN PARK singer Chester Bennington. Track is taken from from Morton‘s debut solo album Anesthetic, which is due out March 1.
During a recent conversation with Kerrang, Morton talked about the song featuring Bennington, as well as TRIVIUM‘s Paolo Gregoletto and Alex Bent on bass and drums.
“I didn’t even know if I was on his [Chester’s] radar at all but you know, through the channels, I reached out and it turned out he was very respectful of my work with Lamb.
“He loved the song. We kind of went back and forth about doing it, and then we got in the same room and did it.
“But the great part of the experience is – a lot of it was great, but one of the great parts of the experience is that the template, the outline I had for the song when I presented it to Chester is different than what it became because we really sat together over a table and just really hashed stuff out and kind of tore it apart and built it back up together.
“And that was, to me, one of the more memorable parts of that experience. I’d say we very quickly got into kind of a creative mode and very quickly were just two guys working on a song that we both really dug.
“So that felt very natural. In terms of what he was excited – I think he just genuinely really liked the song, I think that’s why he was there, cuz he really liked that song. And I happen to know he was very, very excited about the idea of screaming and doing something heavier than what he’s been doing lately.
“That meant a lot to him and he was very vocal about being excited about that. Chester’s ability was undeniable. Like, just sitting in the control room and watching him do takes – I’m not gonna say it was effortless because I’m sure it’s not – but it seemed that way.
“And you could just ask him to do something, change the little pitch thing or something like that and he just drilled it every time. It was pretty, pretty remarkable to watch.”
Focusing on the song’s lyrics, Morton added:
“The lyrics to ‘Cross Off’ are very personal to me. I didn’t write all of them. As I said, when I brought it in, I had an outline for the song and then Chester and I kind of went through it.
“It’s sort of about codependency. It’s about – you know, parts of it reference directly a relationship ending in my life. But parts of it are just about self-destruction and sort of codependency and just the ways we beat ourselves up. And regret, I guess, that’s a theme in there too.”
Discussing Chester‘s suicide, which took place just about three months after the recording, Mark said:
“When I found out Chester had passed, I was playing a show in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was, I think, in the afternoon when I found out. I got a text and I was devastated, like everyone else in the world.
“The thing that I kind of took away from him personally was that he was just a really genuine, honest, fun guy – really passionate about music, really devoted father and husband, and a good listener too.
“He had a lot of questions for me about the lyrics and about where it was coming from and that kind of spurred conversations that we had about just – real-life stuff. He was just a good dude, I was happy to get to know him a little bit.”
LINKIN PARK singer Mike Shinoda briefly commented on the song, writing via Twitter:
“I remember when Chester played this song for me in his car, almost finished. He was really happy with it. Good stuff, Mark.”