Just two weeks after he conceived the idea of No Boundaries --
the upcoming album benefiting refugees from the crisis in Kosovo --
producer David Massey said he had gotten commitments from Pearl Jam,
Oasis, the Wallflowers and Korn to participate in the effort.
"This is an idea I came up with a little over two weeks ago, and the
speed with which we've been able to assemble it has been just astounding,"
said Massey, the album's executive producer.
The quick response from such superstar acts has allowed him to expedite
the album's release. Massey, who also serves as executive vice president
of A&R (artists and repertoire) at Epic Records, said he and his team
have been toiling nearly nonstop for the past two weeks to make the
album's June 15 street date.
The 16-song album will feature previously unreleased material from
pop-rock artists Ben Folds Five, the Wallflowers and Tori Amos, as well
as live tracks from singer/songwriters Neil Young, Alanis Morissette,
Sarah McLachlan and the Indigo Girls. Heavy-metal icons Black Sabbath,
rockers Oasis and Bush, neo-soul group Jamiroquai and singer/songwriter
Peter Gabriel will contribute B-sides and remixes.
"There's been so much going on in the press and on TV about these refugees
that I started to feel like we were reliving the Holocaust," Massey said.
"I thought, as an industry, we could ... help, and I reacted quickly so
that we could do something that is both timely and could benefit the
The album will benefit three humanitarian groups -- Doctors Without
Borders, OXFAM (formerly known as Oxford Famine Relief) and CARE
(Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere). The three agencies
will receive an initial donation of $1 million from Epic Records,
according to Massey, with future revenues from the album to be split
among the organizations.
Massey credited Seattle rockers Pearl Jam with getting the ball rolling
on the project. Once the band agreed to let its cover of J. Frank Wilson
and the Cavaliers' 1964 hit, "Last Kiss"
(RealAudio excerpt), be the first single from the album, getting the
rest of the artists to participate was easier than expected, Massey said.
The Pearl Jam track was issued as a 7-inch single to the band's fan-club
members in December and was officially released to radio May 3. It will
be available in stores by June 8, according to representatives for the
band. The single's B-side, which also will be featured on No Boundaries,
is a cover of a 1962 Arthur Alexander B-side, "Soldier of Love."
"Pearl Jam is proud to offer this small contribution to help improve the
appalling conditions of the refugees suffering from this human rights
tragedy in Kosovo," Pearl Jam manager Kelly Curtis said in a prepared
An intensive bombing campaign was initiated two months ago by NATO to
try to stem what is believed to be a program of ethnic cleansing against
Albanians by Serbian forces under the direction of Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic. NATO and U.S. leaders have expressed fear that
unrest in the former Yugoslavia could lead to a political crisis that
would affect such neighboring countries as Greece, Albania and Macedonia.
It has been reported that thousands of Albanians have been killed by
Serbian forces. A flood of refugees has been streaming out of Kosovo
since the beginning of the air campaign, creating a massive humanitarian
crisis and a virtual nation of displaced people.
The speed with which Massey was able to collect the tracks was dubbed
"pretty stunning" by JoAnne Klabin, managing director of Sweet Relief
Musicians Fund, a nonprofit that gives money to musicians in need. The
Fund, which was founded by musician Victoria Williams, has released two
star-studded albums of songs written by Williams and fellow singer/songwriter
Vic Chesnutt, as performed by such artists as Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Garbage,
Soul Asylum and Cracker.
"Two weeks? I mean, does this guy [Massey] sleep?" Klabin said. "I'm
really impressed. It took almost a year for us to do the Vic Chesnutt
album. We did fresh material, but still, by the time all the publishing
and recording rights were all figured out, it was a long time. I assume
the artists just told their attorneys to find a way to make it work."
The pace of compiling the album has been so frantic, Massey said, that
while he was mastering it Tuesday, two of the tracks arrived by rush
delivery to just barely make it in.
"I've never seen anything done like this before," Massey said. "I was
just so moved by the crisis because, in our generation, I don't think
we've ever witnessed anything on this scale.
"It's not a political cause," he continued. "It has nothing to do with
that. It's about the refugees getting food, water and health care. It
just goes to show you that when you really want something to happen and
people take obstacles out of your way, miracles do happen."
The full track listing for No Boundaries is: Pearl Jam, "Last
Kiss" (1998 fan-club Christmas single); Alanis Morissette, "Baba" (1999
live track); Rage Against the Machine, "Ghost of Tom Joad" (CD single of
Bruce Springsteen composition); Neil Young, "War of Man" (live); Korn,
"Freak on a Leash" (Butch Vig remix); Black Sabbath, "Psychoman" (Danny
Saber remix); Bush, "Come Down" (acoustic); Ben Folds Five, "Leather
Jacket" (previously unreleased song); Oasis, "Take Me Away" (British
B-side); Sarah McLachlan, "Mary" (1998 live track); Indigo Girls, "Go"
(1998 live track); the Wallflowers, "Used to Be Lucky" (previously
unreleased song); Jamiroquai, "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" (British B-side);
Tori Amos, "Merman" (previously unreleased song); Peter Gabriel,
"Fourteen Black Paintings" (track from Us); and Pearl Jam,
"Soldier of Love" (1998 fan-club Christmas single).