The first track from the upcoming ROADRUNNER UNITED "The All-Star Sessions" CD, entitled "The Dagger", has been made available for download at Roadrun.com.
This full-length release, in stores on October 11, 2005, is a "master class" in hard rock/metal. Boasting 57 artists from 45 of Roadrunner's past and present bands, the album will contain original tracks that are collaborations between numerous Roadrunner stars.
Four central musicians were originally chosen to produce and write the songs. Joey Jordison (SLIPKNOT), Dino Cazares (ex-FEAR FACTORY/BRUJERIA), Robert Flynn (MACHINE HEAD) and Matthew Heafy (TRIVIUM). These four musicians play on the songs they have written and have also assembled a unique team of artists to appear on each track. In order to cover as wide a spectrum as possible, no musician has played for more than one writer/producer and each song features a different vocalist.
Written and produced by Flynn, "The Dagger" features Howard Jones (KILLSWITCH ENGAGE) on vocals, Christian Olde Wolbers (FEAR FACTORY) on bass, Flynn and Jordan Whelan (STILL REMAINS) on rhythm guitar, Andols Herrick (ex-CHIMAIRA) on drums, and Jeff Waters (ANNIHILATOR) on lead guitar.
Commented Flynn: "Just got back from doing a bit of press for the ROADRUNNER UNITED album. Roadrunner flew me down to L.A. for a couple of days, and then to London, England to do some international press. As I'm sure most of you have read or heard by now, Roadrunner have decided to take on the seemingly ridiculous challenge of gathering, organizing and managing 60 musicians for a giant collaborative metal all-star effort.
"Brainchild of Senior VP of A&R (and longtime MACHINE HEAD champion) Monte Conner, these all-star sessions would follow a few basic 'rules'. Roadrunner would choose four 'captains', each captain would write four songs, then assemble a 'band' for each song comprised of other Roadrunner artists, past and/or present, currently on or off the label. Each captain would record the four songs they had written with their chosen group, and then choose four different singers, one for each song.
"When Monte originally left me a voicemail about this, I thought to myself, 'Oooo-kaay... Monte's back on the crack again.' I figured if I simply didn't return the call, it would all just disappear into the ridiculously complex crack-pipe haze that it had emerged from. But lo and behold, that guy managed to pester and prompt nearly 60 of us self-absorbed fuckers to be a part of this, and god damn if he didn't make shit happen. Hails and salutations to Monte Conner!
"Team Flynn was comprised of five main musicians: Andols Herrick (ex-CHIMAIRA) on drums, Christian Olde Wolbers (FEAR FACTORY) on bass, Jordan Wheland (STILL REMAINS) aka 'The Pick Slide King' on rhythm guitar, Jeff Waters (ANNIHILATOR) on face-peeling shredder solos, and myself on rhythm guitar, keyboard and vocals. I wrote the music for two songs myself, 'The Dagger' and 'Rich Man', Dave McClain co-wrote the song 'Army of the Sun' with me, and Phil Demmel contributed a riff for 'Independent'. I produced and arranged all of the tracks at the same location used for the recording of 'Through the Ashes of Empires' (Sharkbite Studios) along with the honorable Sir Markus O'Keatonus on lead ProTools. We rehearsed and recorded the songs in a week and a half, and I want to give a special shout-out to Andols for being the burger-worshipping, drum-part-writing-out, saving the day super-slayer! He WROTE all of his drum parts out in drum-ese (drum-erican, drum-ish, drum-adian) and ate burgers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day for 3 days...FUCK YEAH!!
"When it came to the songs, I began writing them based around who I would like to sing them and then catering it to the singer. There was no guarantee that I would get the singers I wanted, as they could obviously go with any of the other captains, for whatever reason. But, being the humble fella that I am, I figured I'd go for the biggest and best singers on the label... why not, huh? All that they could do was say no. I started envisioning Max from SOULFLY/SEPULTURA on an old-school 'Chaos A.D.'-style thrash track, I imagined Corey from SLIPKNOT on a long, slow, eerie, SABBATH-heavy track, I imagined Howard from KILLSWITCH on a 'More Things Change'-style track, and I imagined Tim Williams of V.O.D./BLOODSIMPLE fame (and one of my favorite singers of all time) on a melodic but heavy, MUSE-style track. Well, lo and behold, I got all four singers I wanted, and I haven't the slightest fuckin' clue how I managed to pull that off.
"Max, Corey and Tim recorded their parts near their hometowns of Phoenix, Des Moines, and New York respectively, while Howard asked me to produce his vocals here in Oakland. Mr. Jones flew out to Sharkbite for a couple of days, and we bounced ideas around while grubbing on bomb-ass vegetarian-chicken fried rice from Golden Lotus and ass-kickin' pollo adobado burritos from Cancun Taqueria. I had written a vocal melody and some lyrics for a melodic part that he loved, and as we were banging ideas back and forth, he asked if I'd sing on the track with him. At first I was like, 'Nah, this is all you dude!' and he was like, 'No man, I really want you to sing on this with me,' but I was still like, 'I don't know man,' then he was like, 'Dude, I really want you to sing on this with me,' and ya know... Howard is a very large man, who just happens to be built like a brick fucking shithouse...so, I enthusiastically said 'OK!' and we rocked the fuck out. I ended up singing some of his lyrics on the pre-chorus, we both sang the melodic hook, did some screech trade-offs, and basically kicked that fucker's ass! So much so, that at one point, we joked that this duet was the frickin' 'Ebony and Ivory' of metal. For me, it was probably the toughest song to part with musically, since it could have easily been a MACHINE HEAD song, but Mr. Jones fucking KILLED IT, so if it had to go, at least it went in supreme style. Amazing singer, really good dude, killer vibe.
"I gotta say, all of their contributions were phenomenal. Max's voice sounds hard as fuck, Tim's vocals are incredible and so damned original, and Corey Taylor just sounds fucking PISSED — very politically charged, and his voice has that mesmerizing quality that takes me back to something like 'Bother' from STONE SOUR, before kicking into that satanic vocal heaviness, like something off of the first SLIPKNOT album. I LOVE this song!
"The coolest thing about this is that, as amazing as everything had turned out going into the music stage of it all, I think it's the singers who really brought the final touch to the table and made these songs come alive. I feel like I gave them some good songs, and these guys made them great songs. Even though it felt like I was cheating on my band the whole time, I'm really stoked with the results, and want to thank my guys for patiently allowing me to take part in this very unique project. Having heard many of the other tracks from the other captains, this record is going to be fuckin' awesome for a metal fan."