LAMB OF GOD's MARK MORTON Says It Was 'Special' To Have 'Creative Trust' With CHESTER BENNINGTON On 'Cross Off' Song
January 27, 2019
Cutter and Kaytie of Green Bay, Wisconsin radio station Razor 94.7/104.7 recently conducted an interview with LAMB OF GOD guitarist Mark Morton. You can listen to the entire chat via the Spreaker widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the success of lead single "Cross Off", which features a guest vocal contribution from deceased LINKIN PARK vocalist Chester Bennington:
Mark: "I'm thrilled that people are digging it. It's a pretty special song to me and I'm glad it's reaching everyone and getting that kind of feedback."
On whether he expected "Cross Off" to translate so well with both rock and metal fans:
Mark: "I honestly didn't know what to expect at all. We went into this project just feeling good about doing something different, myself, and my producer Josh Wilbur, kind of laying down some songs that had a different feel from what people are used to hearing me do. That was sort of the goal. As it started coming together and as we started asking people to participate in and getting involved, some of the names and some of the level of talent we got involved, it felt like it was becoming a much bigger thing than we anticipated. Of course, 'Cross Off' is a prime example of that. I still didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how it would be received by the LINKIN PARK audience and necessarily how it would be received by the LAMB OF GOD audience. It's been a thrill to watch all of this happen."
On whether it was a difficult decision to make "Cross Off" the lead single from his forthcoming debut solo album, "Anesthetic":
Mark: "I don't know that it was difficult because I know how much Chester really loved the song. So, that was always at the forefront and we knew even when we were recording that it felt special, so, I never really wavered from that. So, no, it definitely has taken on a different context now because he's no longer with us. In terms of my belief in the song or knowing how he felt about it, that really never changed."
On how much input Bennington had on "Cross Off":
Mark: "It was very collaborative. We had the music pretty well laid out and put down. We had the chorus outlined before it got to Chester, but when Chester came in, he really came very prepared. He had a lot of ideas for the lyrics and a different verse and a bridge, that kind of rappy section in the middle, he was really excited about it. Chester came in with a whole lot of lyrics and a whole lot of ideas. The thing I remember the most about it, it was a little bit surreal because I was sitting across the table from Chester Bennington and we were basically passing a lyric sheet back and forth, talking about which part about each other's idea we like and which parts we don't. It was a real honest collaboration and it was pretty special to have that sort of rhythm and that creative trust with someone that I had basically just met. But it seems to me that's the kind of dude he was. He was really honest, super-creative and really excited about making music. I got that vibe from him right away."
On whether he decided early on that "Anesthetic" was going to be a Mark Morton project instead of LAMB OF GOD:
Mark: "Yeah, I think that was what really got this thing kind of started, was I had this collection of songs that fit into the framework of LAMB OF GOD. When people get the ability to listen to the whole album, that will make sense. There's so much of this album that you will never hear LAMB doing — it's not really a thrash metal record. That was really the genesis for it, these songs that I had were in a rock vein or more commercial sounding or a little bluesier, that kind of thing. That was the point of it, was to do something outside of the lane of LAMB OF GOD."
On which vocalists he was surprised were willing to guest on "Anesthetic":
Mark: "Chester Bennington. [Laughs] When [producer] Josh [Wilbur] and I sat and listened to the demo of 'Cross Off', we said 'Who would we want to sing this song?' And Chester's name came up. I was a little negative, like, 'There's no way we can get him.' Josh was, like, 'Let's try.' We tried and we got him. Mark Lanegan [SCREAMING TREES] is another one. He's one of my favorite singers. I really didn't know him; I was just a fan. That was kind of a cold-call. Again, I'm glad I made the call."
On what he learned the most by doing his first solo album:
Mark: "That, to me, was the biggest takeaway from this — the opportunity to work with so many incredibly talented people. That was one of the biggest joys about this project — being able to collaborate at that level with people and I'm kind of humbled by their generosity and their willingness to be a part of this. I learned so much. I don't know how to pinpoint it to just a quick answer. There's so much I learned about the process. I've done a lot of albums with LAMB OF GOD, but I've always been a part of a band. Before doing this, I felt like I took on a lot of responsibility in that band. Now I realized, I'm doing my part, but having done a project under my name as a solo project, there's so much more to pay attention to. I learned a lot about the magnitude of a project and how many resources to get something like this off the ground. I got a new appreciation for making albums for sure."
"Anesthetic" is due out on March 1. Other guests on the LP include singer Jacoby Shaddix of PAPA ROACH, ALTER BRIDGE's Myles Kennedy, STONE SOUR drummer Roy Mayorga, KORN drummer Ray Luzier and ALICE IN CHAINS bassist Mike Inez.
"Cross Off" was recorded in April 2017 and written by Morton, Bennington, Jake Oni and Wilbur. Morton recorded all guitars with Paolo Gregoletto and Alex Bent (TRIVIUM) handling bass and drums.