After Snot singer James Lynn Strait died in an auto accident on Dec. 11, 1998, his bandmates quickly decided that "a tombstone in a cemetery is not enough for us," according to guitarist Mikey Doling.
So they made Strait Up, a 15-song tribute to the late frontman built from tracks written for what was to be Snot's second album. The project features vocals and lyrics provided by a who's who of hard rock, all friends of the band, including Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, Korn's Jonathan Davis, Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath, Slipknot's Corey (No. 8), System of a Down's Serj Tankian, Coal Chamber's Dez Farara, Soufly's Max Cavalera, and others. There's also a spoken testimonial from Ozzy Osbourne, whose Ozzfest '98 was arguably the high point of Snot's short run.
"We kinda of went off who we toured with the most and who Lynn listened to the most and who he admired the most as vocalists," says Doling, who's now a member of Soulfly. Doling co-produced Strait Up with Snot bassist John "Tumor" Fahnestock, who's now in Amen. "Every one of them was just great; every single singer came in there and really laid it out and poured out their hearts and was really true to their emotions. It was extremely emotional, of course; there were a lot of goosebumps, a lot of tears, a lot of high fives."
Farara — who once dated one of Strait's ex-girlfriends — says there was no question he felt Strait's spirit while he was recording his contribution, the pummeling "Funeral Flights." "The track came on and came through me, really flowed through me," he remembers. "I went into the studio, took off my shoes and let Lynn talk through me and me talk to him. It came naturally."
A particularly raw moment for all of the Strait Up participants was the video shoot for the song "Angel's Son," which is sung by Sevendust's Lajon Witherspoon. Set at a beach bonfire, it depicts a spirit incarnation of Strait weaving its way through the party, touching each of the musicians.
"As he touched you, you'd light up a little bit," Farara says. "It was intense to see when the [actor] touched Lynn's mom; she just broke down. Perhaps there was a conduit to him in there somewhere."
Proceeds from Strait Up will go to Strait's mother and possibly to other charities to be named later.