|Single by Mark Morton|
|from the album Anesthetic|
|Released||January 8, 2019|
|Format||Digital, CD, Vinyl|
|Writer(s)||Mark Morton, Chester Bennington, Josh Wilbur, Jake Oni|
|Label||WPP Records, Spinefarm Records|
"Cross Off" is the first track on Mark Morton's debut studio album, Anesthetic. It features posthumous vocals and lyrics by Chester Bennington, bass guitar by Paolo Gregoletto and drums by Alex Bent (both from Trivium). The song was scheduled for a January 8, 2019 release as the second single from the album, but it was mistakenly released on December 18, 2018 through digital stores and streaming services, being removed the following day. The song was premiered by Zane Lowe on Beats 1 on the scheduled date.
The single debuted at No. 18 on the Hard Rock Digital Song Sales chart dated January 19th, with 2,000 downloads and 209,000 U.S. streams over the tracking week. It was nominated for the best hard rock song of the year on SiriusXM Octane. Morton said of the song's response, "Chester was just a really genuine, loving, compassionate, creative, brilliant dude, and I'm just really fortunate to have had the opportunity to write and record a song with him. So when it came out, it was just mind-blowing, man. It was a hit at radio stations, and more important than that, it impacted a lot of people and they let me know it. So I was super proud of it and super grateful to have had that chance."
On April 11, 2017, Chester Bennington posted a couple of clips on his Instagram story showing himself at Energy Studios with Lamb Of God guitarist Mark Morton and long time Lamb Of God producer Josh Wilbur. Later on his Twitter, Chester confirmed he recorded a song with screams with Mark Morton, saying it was "sick" and he couldn't wait for fans to hear it. It has been confirmed by Mike Shinoda that the song was recorded for Morton's solo album.
Amidst Randy Blythe's (Lamb Of God's frontman) trial for manslaughter in 2012, Mark Morton started working on solo music with some friends. That year, he released the instrumental "Make Sure" for free download, which was followed by two more tracks in 2016 titled "SnowBound" and "Love Heals". The songs differ a lot from Lamb Of God's metal sound, having influences that range from hard rock and blues to jazz fusion and progressive rock. The first studio sessions for Anesthetic would start later that year, in September of 2016, after Morton and Jake Oni conceptualized the idea of an album where they would start recording these songs in the studio and bringing people in to play and perform on them.
Following Chester's death, Josh Wilbur posted a picture from their sessions together saying, "This pic was taken after an absolutely great session. I left that day raving about what an amazing talent and person Chester was. We talked about music, family, life, struggles, and our musical journeys (oddly that had crossed paths back in NYC when hybrid theory was being made). He was just an incredibly nice person. He personally picked up the phone and called me just a few weeks ago to share his excitement about some music. If you're from my hometown you remember the tragic loss of Mark Meattey. I guess this is part of why this hits so hard. Chester reminded me a lot of Mark. The loss of people so young leaves us with so much hurt, ironically as we are reminiscing about wonderful times. But this..... why.... why like this? Chester, I barely knew you, but you left a lasting impression. My heart aches for those who were truly close to you. If I have any friends who have ever contemplated suicide. Please, pick up the phone. Call me, or anyone. I promise, you are loved."
In September, Mark Morton took part on Ryan J. Downey's Speak N' Destroy podcast where he talked about their time together: "I didn't know Chester very well but I have worked with him and I did know him a little bit through that. And I had the opportunity to work on some music with him, you know. And, in that experience, it was interesting because we didn't really know each other really well, we had mutual respect. And to have the opportunity to work a creative project with him, it takes a certain amount of like trust. You have to sort of have with somebody to actually get creative and to really, if you're really doing it and you're really putting yourself into it, you gotta trust. That that other person's not gonna turn on you and that they're not gonna, you know what I mean, you have to feel safe, I guess. And I found for me it was very easy to feel that way with him and to really just give in to the process of trying to make something cool happen creatively, because he was just so open and so honest and so clearly clearly excited about music. And just a really good dude, man. Just an easy person to be around... And I feel really fortunate to have had the chance to spend some time with him, and to talk about music and to talk about parenthood, to talk about, you know, so many other things that surround the music industry. And it was a real special moment for me. I'm glad I got to have it."
Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed revealed during his podcast, The Jasta Show, the track was originally meant for him, but he took too long to work on his version and Mark Morton eventually gave the track to Chester. Jasta said Chester's version ended up a lot better than his own and the line "Turn the hate I breed into what I need" could be a reference to Hatebreed. However, Mark Morton said "This is not an accurate account of that chain of events." He explained, "There was an early demo of a song called “Cross Off” that was presented to Jamey to consider for one of his solo projects. The basic chord progression of the chorus was the same, but it was a rough, undeveloped, instrumental demo. Jamey passed on the song after that it sat on my laptop for a while. I pulled it back out & re-wrote the music…the presented the re-written version which now also included some of the lyrics & vocal melodies to Chester…he LOVED it…we got in the studio & finished it together. So that’s the story. I just didn’t want it to sound like Jamey was supposed to do the song but he dragged his feet & Chester took it. There was a lot more to the journey than that."
During a Q&A on Twitter in October 2018, Mark Morton confirmed the track with Chester Bennington was still going to be released and updates on his solo album would be coming soon. On December 12, he posted, "Hey y’all. So... I’ve been quietly working on a solo album for the last couple of years and I am stoked to announce that it will be released in 2019! I’m beyond proud of this project and so grateful at having had the opportunity to work with so many amazingly talented friends, new and old. The album is called “Anesthetic”, and we’ll be debuting the first song all day tomorrow on @SXMLiquidMetal... stay tuned!" The debut single, "The Truth Is Dead", was officially released on December 14th and features vocals by both Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God and Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy, bass by David Ellefson from Megadeth and drums by Roy Mayorga from Stone Sour. Pre-orders for the album started on the same day, revealing its artwork and tracklist.
On an interview to Kerrang!, Mark Morton explained how "Cross Off", his collaboration with Chester Bennington, came together, "Like many songs on this album, this came from pieces and parts just sat around collecting dust in my files of ideas. As I’d go through, I’d evaluate them and see if they were usable for Lamb Of God – obviously that’s my main band. A lot of the music was the stuff I compiled out of things I liked but in no way could ever end up in my band. Cross Off started kinda on the fence, there are parts I could have fed through the LOG machine and it would have worked. When me and Josh Wilbur, my producer, initially started working on this project, this was one song we both gravitated to right away. It felt pretty hot, had a good groove, was both heavy and melodic… but it went through a lot of changes. That’s how him and I write, we’d sit on things for a few days and move things around a bit like Lego, seeing what we could build together. There’s a couple of party tracks on this album, this is definitely one of them. I was heavily involved with the lyrics, it was when I was coming out of a pretty heavy time in my life. I was thinking about rebirth and a fresh start… so the lyric references all of that, with a bit of ‘Fuck you!’ in there too, which mainly came from Chester!"
Trivium members Paolo Gregoletto and Alex Bent recorded bass guitar and drums, respectively, for the track. Alex wrote, "Was in the studio recording The Sin and the Sentence (Trivium) when Paolo and I got asked to be on this track (I also did "Sworn Apart"). We learned it later that night and recorded it the next morning with Josh Wilbur at Hybrid Studios."
When questioned if he had plans in making more music with Chester, Mark Morton said, "We did actually discuss it. When we started, When we got together to write “Cross Off,” we were there just to work on that. We were gonna finish writing, I had the music done and chorus idea for it, but Chester and I finished up the bridge and the verses together. That was our objective and that’s what we did and then that’s “Cross Off” that you hear. We were both pretty jazzed on that song, we were pretty excited about how it turned and so, just corresponding with him after the fact and texting back and forth, he was like, “Let’s do another one, man.” And I was like, you tell me when you’re ready and I’ll be there, you know. That was actually the last time I corresponded with Chester. It wasn’t long after that he wasn’t with us anymore. I don’t know if that was just excited banter, but I meant my part of it. I’ll tell you this, I know he really loved that song. He was excited about it when he heard the demos. He was excited about doing it, you can really hear it in his performance. He was having a blast with that song."
|1||Cross Off (feat. Chester Bennington)||Mark Morton, Chester Bennington, Josh Wilbur, Jake Oni||4:13|
Radio Single 1
|1||Cross Off - Rock Edit (Clean)||Mark Morton, Chester Bennington, Josh Wilbur, Jake Oni||3:38|
|2||Cross Off - Album Version (Clean)||Mark Morton, Chester Bennington, Josh Wilbur, Jake Oni||4:13|
Radio Single 2
|1||Cross Off - Rock Edit (Clean)||Mark Morton, Chester Bennington, Josh Wilbur, Jake Oni||3:38|
|2||Cross Off - Alternate Edit (Clean)||Mark Morton, Chester Bennington, Josh Wilbur, Jake Oni||3:38|
A lyric video for "Cross Off" was released on January 8, 2019 on Mark Morton's official YouTube channel.
On March 5, a music video directed by Robert Schober (credited as Roboshobo) was unveiled. Following the same concept of the lyrics, about dealing with turmoil and mental illness, the video tells a story of a man in a parking garage being tormented by an invisible force, which turns out to be his own demons. The scenes are coupled with footage of Mark, Paolo and Alex performing the song beside an empty microphone stand — with no singer.
Note: Only the date of the very first release of each version is listed.
|Cross Off (feat. Chester Bennington)||Cross Off (feat. Chester Bennington)
|4:13||2017||January 8, 2019|
|Cross Off - Album Version (Clean)||Cross Off (feat. Chester Bennington)||4:13||2017||January 8, 2019||
|Cross Off - Rock Edit (Clean)||Cross Off (feat. Chester Bennington)||3:38||2017||January 8, 2019||
|Cross Off - Alternate Edit (Clean)||Cross Off (feat. Chester Bennington)||3:38||2017||March 2019||
In support of Anesthetic, Mark Morton announced a co-headlining tour with Light The Torch that kicked off March 13th, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia, and run through March 26th in Phoenix, Arizona. Moon Tooth opened the shows. Morton's touring band consisted of Mark Morales (Sons Of Texas) on lead vocals, Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves) on guitar, Nick Villarreal (Sons Of Texas) on bass and Art Cruz (Prong, Winds Of Plague) on the drums. The setlist consisted of the album in its entirety with "Cross Off" closing the shows. The song was dedicated to Chester Bennington. Paolo Gregoletto (Trivium), who recorded bass on the studio track, came out at the Chicago concert on March 21st to perform the song.
- Mark Morton - Guitar
- Chester Bennington - Vocals
- Paolo Gregoletto - Bass Guitar
- Alex Bent - Drums
- Executive Produced by Jake Oni
- Produced by Josh Wilbur
- Mixed by Josh Wilbur. Engineered by Josh Wilbur
- Additional Engineering by Paul Suarez, Jay Robbins & Roy Mayorga
- Mastered by Brad Blackwood
- Recorded at The Mill Studio in Grand Cayman and Hybrid Studios in Santa Ana, CA
- "Cross Off" also recorded at NRG Studios, Los Angeles, CA
- Chester Bennington appears courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
- Paolo Gregoletto appears courtesy of Roadrunner Records
- Art Direction & Illustrations by Daniel Danger
- Morton illustration based on photo by Chad Lee
- Management: 5B Artist Management
- Agent: Tim Borror
- Legal: Jeff Cohen and Adam Mandell for Millen, White, Zelano & Branigan
Cross off the days gone
Cross off the days gone
Mark Morton and Chester Bennington
- Cross Off (Lyric Video): YouTube
- Cross Off (Music Video): YouTube
- Cross Off (Track Commentary): YouTube
- Alex Bent - Tracking "Cross Off": YouTube
- Mark Morton's Song Featuring Chester Bennington Is Coming Tomorrow — Kerrang!, January 7, 2019
- Chester Bennington Returns to Billboard Charts on Mark Morton's 'Cross Off' | Billboard, January 16, 2019
- Mark Morton on Twitter: ""Cross Off" has been nominated for the best hard rock song of the year on @SXMOctane. Vote now: https://t.co/zE59Ip6Ea8… https://t.co/DmicfEPLNW" ., November 12, 2019
- Lamb of God's Mark Morton Talks How Linkin Park Fans Reacted to His Chester Bennington Solo Collaboration | Music News @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com, June 22, 2020
- Chester in the studio with Mark Morton - Newswire - Linkin Park Live, April 12, 2017
- Chester Bennington on Twitter: "I can't wait for you all to hear what Mark, Josh and I did in the studio the other night🤘🤘🤘" ., April 13, 2017
- Chester Bennington on Twitter: "Who wants to hear me scream???" ., April 13, 2017
- Chester Bennington on Twitter: "The track I did with Mark Morton is SICK🤘" ., April 13, 2017
- Linkin Park Live on Twitter: "Mike has confirmed that Chester's collaboration with Lamb Of God's @MarkDuaneMorton is for Mark's next solo record." ., April 13, 2017
- "MAKE SURE" YOU LISTEN TO THE NEW MARK MORTON SONG | MetalSucks, July 19, 2012
- LAMB OF GOD's Mark Morton Posts A Shreddy New Blues Track - Metal Injection, January 25, 2016
- Here's Some Music by Mark Morton's New Instrumental Project | MetalSucks, January 25, 2016
- Mark Morton on ‘Anesthetic,’ working with Chester Bennington, Lamb of God update | Metal Insider, April 22, 2019
- Josh Wilbur (@joshwilburmusic) on Instagram: “This pic was taken after an absolutely great session. I left that day raving about what an amazing…”, July 21, 2017
- Mark Morton - Speak N' Destroy (podcast), September 06, 2017
- Episode 316 - Andy Copping (Download Festival) by The Jasta Show | Free Listening on SoundCloud, December 22, 2017
- Mark Morton 🇺🇸 on Twitter: "@linkinpedia @hatebreed @ChesterBe This is not an accurate account of that chain of events." / Twitter, May 18, 2022
- Mark Morton on Twitter: "Chester and I made some really cool music together that we were both SUPER stoked about. And you will hear it!… " ., October 28, 2018
- Mark Morton on Twitter: "Updates SOON!… " ., October 27, 2018
- Mark Morton on Twitter: "Hey y’all. So... I’ve been quietly working on a solo album for the last couple of years and I am stoked to announce that it will be released in 2019! I’m beyond proud of this project and so grateful at having had the opportunity to work with (cont.)" ., December 12, 2018
- Mark Morton on Twitter: "I’m excited to announce the world premiere of my new song “The Truth Is Dead” feat Randy Blythe & @AWhiteGluz from my upcoming solo album Anesthetic! The song is out tomorrow but you can hear it all day today on @SXMLiquidMetal. I’m super stoked for everyone to check it out!… https://t.co/9DfaHDxcPc" ., December 13, 2018
- Mark Morton on Twitter: "Thank you to @ellefsondavid and @StonesourRoy Mayorga for handling bass and drums on "The Truth Is Dead"! They also played on "The Never" too." ., December 14, 2018
- Mark Morton on Twitter: "Josh Wilbur and @ellefsondavid dialing in the low end for ‘The Truth Is Dead’ at Hybrid Studios in Santa Ana, CA. David SLAYED the bass lines on a couple of the heavier tracks on #Anesthetic, ‘The Truth Is Dead’ and ‘The Never’.… https://t.co/CE3ODIgclz" ., December 18, 2018
- Mark Morton on Twitter: "I’m stoked to announce my solo album, #Anesthetic is coming out March 1st on WPP Records/ @Spinefarm! I’m beyond grateful that I got to team up with so many amazingly talented friends for this project. Pre-order the album now at https://t.co/x5gjlsKDNM.… https://t.co/anHDkaLPkL" ., December 14, 2018
- Lamb Of God's Mark Morton Talks Us Through Every Track On His Debut Solo Album — Kerrang!, December 14, 2018
- Alex Bent - Tracking "Cross Off" by Mark Morton ft. Chester Bennington (2017) - YouTube, March 13, 2019
- Mark Morton And Chester Bennington's Cross Off Video Is Eerily Haunted — Kerrang!, March 05, 2019
- Lamb of God’s Mark Morton and Light the Torch Announce Tour | Music News | Consequence of Sound, January 25, 2019
- Mark Morton on Twitter: "I’m thrilled to announce my band for my upcoming tour, in support of #Anesthetic: Mark Morales (@sonsoftexas) on lead vocals, @DocCoyle (@badwolves) on guitar, @Riggidyrat (Sons Of Texas) on bass and @theartcruz (Prong, @windsofplague) on the drums!… https://t.co/xVK90ObgjQ" ., February 11, 2019
- Lamb Of God's Mark Morton: Video Of Entire Solo Tour Kickoff - Blabbermouth.net, March 15, 2019
- Mark Morton on Twitter: "Thanks @TriviumPaolo for coming out to Chicago and jamming "Cross Off" with us!… " ., March 22, 2019
- Mark Morton on Twitter: "Sounds KILLER too! 😉… " ., April 11, 2017