Interview Part 1:
This interview with Mark Shelton will
be soon the biggest and most complete Manilla Road-Interview you´ve ever seen!
It will be updated here part by part, so check this site often!
1: From the Beginning to "Invasion"
When did you start playing guitar and which
guitar-players influenced your
play back then?
Actually I started on drums. I played in jazz
bands, country rock bands, rock bands and the first band that I ever put
together was called Embryo. This was all back in the late 60's and early 70's.
I started messing around with bass guitar in 1972. I bought my first six
string guitar in 1973. In 1974 I put together a three piece band call
Apocolypse which was the first band that I ever played guitar in. We did all
original music and it sounded a lot like Motorhead but this was before
Motorhead. At the time I think Lemmy was playing with Hawkwind. My big guitar
influences back then were Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Brian May, Michael
Schenker, Toni Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Galliger, Alvin Lee, the two
guys from Wishbone Ash and of course David Gilmore. There are probably more
for anything you listen to influences you one way or another. Even if you hate
what you hear from some band or composer it influences you to never write a
screwed up song like the one you hate.
How did you meet Scott Park and Rick Fisher?
I went to school with them. Rick and I are the
same age and we both were in the same classes in High School. Scott was a
couple of years behind us but he was at the same school and hung out with the
same party crowd that we did.
Was there a demo-tape before "Invasion"?
Yes. It had three songs on it. The first
version of Far Side Of The Sun, Herman Hill and Manilla Road.
Extremely primative recordings.
Independent-Labels were something special back
then. You started to run your
own company Roadster Records. How came this idea? You heared about the New
Wave Of British Heavy Metal and the Punk Scene from Great Britain with all
Actually we started Roadster Records because we
realized that we were not going to get a label deal in the states so we
decided to be our own label and sell and distribute the albums ourselves. We
did not even have any idea what was going on in Europe at the time. I knew
that Judas Priest was kicking my ass.
There are only six tracks on the album but two
are very long. "The Empire"
on the B-Side reminds me of songs like "Run of the Mill" by Judas
"The Necromancer" from Rush. Were you inspired by bands like this
wrote that long song(s)?
That's funny that you mentioned those two songs.
Jeff Wagner of Metal Maniacs magazine here in the states just asked me the
same question a few days ago. I was very inspired by Alex Lifeson. Rush put
out at least 4 totally classic albums as far as I am concerned. Fly By Night,
Carress Of Steel, 2112 and A Farewell To Kings. Songs like Bytor And The Snow
Dog, The Necromancer and the concept of 2112 were very influencial in my
style. Judas Priest from day one was at the top of my best band list. I still
have great respect for Rob Hallford and the other band members as well.
How did you sell the LP - you had a distributor in
the USA and overseas?
We started out just selling it locally. We did
not get hooked up with a distributor untill we did Crystal Logic. We serviced
all the record stores in a 3 state area from 1980 to 1983. When we put out
Crystal Logic we worked out deals with several different distributors in the
states and a distributor in Sweden.
Did you play live in the studio?
Yes. The whole band played live in the studio.
We did add the vocals later and also the second guitar part in The Empire but
other than that the whole thing was basically jammed live.
There are two versions of "Invasion".
How came that?
Two different presses. We had sold out of the
first pressing and one of the distributors here in the states insisted that we
press more. We were using a different pressing plant at that point. So we had
to do a diferent version of the cover.
What did you do after the release of
"Invasion"? Was there some touring or
We played here locally in Kansas and the
University radio station picked up on it but things were rather un-eventful
around the first two albums. Now in 1982 we did start becoming a local
favorite and the promoters were putting us with bands like Ted Nugent and
End of Part 1 - (Part 2 "Metal
to Crystal Logic" can be found here soon!)