For the past 12 years, the name Mike Gitter has been synonymous with Roadrunner Records and metal. As one of their main A&R people, some of the bands that he’s brought to the label include Cradle of Filth, Opeth and the band with this week’s #7 album in the country, Killswitch Engage. Yesterday, the metal community was shocked by the news that he was leaving the label. Gitter tells Metal Insider that it’s an amicable split, however.
“I’ve gotten some amazing stuff done at Roadrunner,” he says. “Hell, I signed and developed what’s probably the biggest band to come out of the metal scene as of late with Killswitch Engage. The new Megadeth record I just finished is the best thing Dave’s done since Countdown. I’ve made fantastic records with the likes of Opeth, Cradle, Dragonforce, 3 Inches of Blood, Glassjaw, and yes, even Ill Nino! Hey, got no complaints getting let go the day after I have a record bust into the top ten with the new Killswitch Engage!”
“And keep in mind, Roadrunner’s taken care of me and I still love the people I worked with there from Cees all the way down to the mailroom guys,” he continues. “This was really a very simple case of two parties moving in different directions. Roadrunner is a big part of my history and vice versa. Music has the power to change people’s lives and I’ve been fortunate to have my name on quite a few records that mean something now and will continue to be the soundtrack to people’s lives for a long time to come.”
Still, Mike’s departure raises some questions about the future of metal at Roadrunner. With offshoot label Loud and Proud having signed the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Colletive Soul and RATT, will the label still be seeking out true metal bands? Will their current crop of heavy bands like Soulfly, DevilDriver and Cavalera Conspiracy still have a home at the label once their current album cycles are through? And what happens to the new pickups that Gitter was working with, like Mutiny Within? Roadrunner’s still a strong label with a great roster, with the top ten debuts of Killswitch and Dream Theater in the past two weeks proving that. But for any metalhead in the New York area, Gitter has been the face of the label, and while we’re sure he’ll wind up spreading his passion in developing artists elsewhere, it’s a big loss for Roadrunner on the metal front.