killswitch engage jesse leach machine head robb flynn
[Photos via Robb Flynn/YouTube, Jesse Leach/YouTube]

A few weeks ago, protests broke out worldwide over the wrongful killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Since then, musicians have been using their platforms to spread awareness, encourage donations to Black Lives Matter and fight for change. Now, Machine Head and Killswitch Engage‘s Jesse Leach are honoring Floyd and other police brutality victims in a new song.

On June 17, Machine Head and Leach released “Stop The Bleeding,” a powerful track about the deaths of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and other police brutality victims.

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“Stop The Bleeding” is the A-side of the two-song digital release Civil Unrest. Its B-side is “Bulletproof.” A significant portion of the proceeds from the streams of “Stop The Bleeding” are going to Grass Law Project. The organization represents Floyd, Arbery and Breonna Taylor and their families.

“Stop The Bleeding” is written by Machine Head’s Robb Flynn. After seeing large protests already happening over Floyd’s death, Flynn put everything he was feeling into “Stop The Bleeding.”

“I drove into Oakland past large demonstrations already happening,” he continues. “And in a fury, wrote down everything I was feeling after watching the horrific footage. Within hours what I wanted to say, what I needed to say, had been recorded in the song.”

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The collaboration on the song with Leach was a long time coming. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic ultimately delayed their plans to release the song earlier.

“Unfortunately (or fortunately), our schedules hadn’t lined up,” Flynn says. “After what happened to George Floyd, I sent him the lyrics I’d written. He replied saying he was ‘100% on board.'”

For Leach, getting to work on the song with Flynn and Machine Head is a huge honor. Ultimately, it was Flynn’s lyrics that led to his decision to be part of “Stop The Bleeding.”

“Being asked to be part of this song is an honor,” Leach says. “Yes, because it’s Machine Head, but more importantly, this is a message that needs to be heard and spread. These issues concerning abuses of power and racism are timeless. I have written about these previously and I’ll write about them again. I think Robb really nailed this one, both lyrically and sonically. My hope is this song helps awaken those who hear it.”

For Leach, he hopes that “Stop The Bleeding” will help others in the metal community speak out more about social issues. As musicians, it is important that they use their platforms to spread awareness and keep the discussion of real-life events going.

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“Robb has been a frequent voice of the voiceless in these times, so teaming up with him is a no brainer,” Leach continues. “We need more of our metal community to speak out on social issues and help raise awareness, especially during these crucial times. Music is the soundtrack to our lives, it transcends language and culture. This is the reason we as musicians need to do our part to spark thought and discussion on these types of issues. We can make a difference through music and we can help stop the bleeding.”

As for the Civil Unrest B-side “Bulletproof,” Flynn says that the lyrics were finished following the aftermath of Arbery’s murder at the hands of white supremacists. As well, the ongoing pandemic and issues occurring in the world also inspired the song.

“The isolation and craziness of the pandemic, the lockdown protesters storming government buildings with AR-15s,” Flynn says. “As well as the blatant lies and conspiracies pouring out of our political leader’s mouths, hour by hour, day after day.”

The “Stop The Bleeding” video is available to watch below.

To show support through donations, connect with grassroots campaigns and obtain resources for allies, please refer to the links below.

Help the family of George Floyd here.
Fight for Breonna Taylor here.
Help the family of Ahmaud Arbery here.
To sign petitions for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and more, click here.
Donate to one or more community bail funds for protesters here.
Click here for more resources for protestors, including pro-bono lawyers.
Visit Movement For Black Lives for additional ways you can help the cause.
Click here to connect with leaders building grassroots campaigns.
Here are some anti-racism resources for allies who want to learn more.For other ways to donate, please head here.