According to Billboard, LAMB OF GOD guitarist Mark Morton's solo song "Cross Off", which features a guest appearance by late LINKIN PARK singer Chester Bennington, has debuted No. 18 on the Hard Rock Digital Song Sales chart. The cut sold 2,000 downloads, according to Nielsen Music. It also drew 209,000 U.S. streams in the tracking week.
"Cross Off" can be found on Morton's full-length solo effort, "Anesthetic", which 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, ALICE IN CHAINS bassist Mike Inez and others.
"Cross Off" was recorded in April 2017 and written by Morton, Bennington, Jake Oni and producer Josh Wilbur. Morton recorded all guitars with Paolo Gregoletto and Alex Bent (TRIVIUM) handling bass and drums. The composition of the song began between Morton, Wilbur and Oni before the three approached Bennington about singing vocals. Bennington loved the song and came to the studio with additional ideas and lyrics that, together with his unique and incredible vocal style, shaped the song to be what it is today.
LINKIN PARK vocalist Mike Shinoda tweeted his reaction to hearing "Cross Off", writing: "I remember when Chester played this song for me in his car, almost finished. He was really happy with it. Good stuff, Mark." Bennington recorded his vocals for the song just three months before taking his own life at his California home.
Morton told Metal Hammer magazine about his experience working on "Cross Off" with Bennington: "[Chester] just had a lot of creative input at the ready when he came into the studio," Mark said. "That was my initial, like, wow. He had told me he really liked the song, and we had communicated, but I'd never really hung out with Chester until when we started tracking. I was really impressed for a guy at his level, at the place in the career he was at, someone of his stature and celebrity, to have that level of humility and commitment to come in there and treat this like it would be a LINKIN PARK song, or his own song, or whatever. I was pretty blown away by that. And it was immediate. Fifteen minutes after we met, we were standing over a table, one on either side, each with scraps of paper and pencil, crossing off words and trying different rhyme schemes and stuff. And then after the track was laid out, then we took a breath and started talking about more personal stuff — real-life shit. And yeah… he surprised me the most."
Asked how they connected in the first place, Mark said: "I had my people call his people. It was one of those things where we were listening to the song, like, who in our world would we have singing this? And Chester was the name that came out. So we almost didn't try, because it's Chester Bennington; he's such a superstar. We were kind of, like, come on, we can't get him. But if we hadn't tried, we wouldn't have got him, so we tried, we got his ear, I was surprised to find I was on his radar and all, but through LAMB I was. He heard the song and he was in. It is a really good song. I'm sorry; I don't know if I'm allowed to say that, but it's a good goddamn song, right? We had to iron out a couple of things legally and all that kind of stuff, but on the creative side, he was in from the jump. And I didn't realize how in he really was, but when he showed up, I did, and that was humbling for me."