The Crosswalk (formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1997) were an American rock band. The group released the independent 1535 EP in 1997, signed with Hollywood Records in 1998, and recorded their debut album, Venus Loves a Melody, in 1999. Months after the album’s completion, the Crosswalk were dropped by the label and the group disbanded shortly after. The album remains unreleased.
Curtesy of: ShawnPeters.Com
One of the best rock albums I’ve ever heard, has never been released to the public. Back in late 1996 Cody ChesnuTT met a young bass player named John Maggio and a drummer named Jamie O’Connell in Westlake Studios in Los Angeles. Cody had been working in that studio as a writer and producer for various Death Row Records recording artists. He told one of the engineers in the studio that he wanted to start a band of his own and the engineer set up a meeting with Jamie and John. It seems they hit it off because from then the trio formed the band The Crosswalk and began writing and arranging songs together. Cody is a huge Beatles fan and the name of the band was an allusion to the Abbey Road album cover image. After about a year and a half of writing together and performing in LA; along with their manager at the time Cody’s cousin Donray the band acquired a record deal from Hollywood Records. According to Cody they had been rejected by many labels, one even boldly said that the reason for the rejection was that they didn’t think they would be able to market a rock band with a black lead singer.
In late 1998 to early 1999 the Crosswalk, now a four piece with the addition of guitarist Jay Gordon and with a 200,000 to 250,000 dollar recording budget from Hollywood Records, recorded “Venus Loves a Melody.” The mixing of the album was done by famed rock producer and engineer Bob Clearmountain and cost about $80,000. I am divulging these budgets to reveal that this was not a small undertaking by the band or the label. After delivering what I consider a 13 song masterpiece with a hidden track, Hollywood records gave the band and its manager the cold shoulder, not committing to a release date and spending little time with the band discussing art direction or marketing plans. Cody and crew got the message. After forcing the card of the contract Hollywood informed Donray that they were dropping the project. It was right around the time that boy bands like NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys started really taking off, Hollywood had signed a boy band of their own and it is believed that they wanted to put their efforts there. Cody being a black front man of a classic brit style rock band didn’t help either; the label was finding a hard time knowing how to market the band and it is believed that they decided to cut their losses. Cody and the band were devastated, they couldn’t believe how cold Hollywood records was towards the album that they just spent so much money on producing. The band eventually disbanded and Cody used the pain and disappointment that he received to begin the self produced, low budget, independent project that eventually took him around the world called “The Headphone Masterpiece.” One of my favorite song on “Venus Loves a Melody” is “The Show” which is a revelation of the pain that he felt when he heard from his manager that labels were rejecting the band because he was black. One of my other favorites is “Give In” which can mean so many things but on the surface it is about hypocrisy and temptation. In the end a contract loop hole allowed Cody, the band, and Donray to take ownership of the masters of “Venus Loves a Melody,” I’ve always hoped that they would all come to a consensus to release the album independently so that the world could have it. It’s really that much of a rare gem with Cody at the top of his pure writing genius. Take a listen to “All is All,” “The Show,” and “Give In” below and let me know what you think.
All is All