💣 Hi, it’s a pleasure for us to have on Hardrockheavymetal MARK SHELTON of MANILLA ROAD, a milestone in HEAVY METAL history! Shark: Thanks you so much. It’s an honor to do this interview with you. It’s a very exciting time for Manilla Road since 2017 is the year of the band’s 40th anniversary. The new Hellwell album just came out awhile back and Manilla Road just returned to the USA after doing a lengthy tour in Europe. It’s been very busy but really fantastic also. 💣 We’re all in waitin’ for the new platter TO KILL A KING out worldwide on JUNE 30th. Can you tell us somethin’about this new album and its composition process? Shark: I started writing the songs for To Kill A King in August of 2015. We recorded all of Neudi’s drum parts in October or November that same year. From that time on we worked on recording all the other keeper tracks as often as we could in between touring. When I found out Josh was leaving the band I grabbed our new bassist Phil Ross and recorded all the bass parts with him to finally finish up on the project. He had a lot on his plate with doing the album and learning more than three hours worth of other Manilla Road songs also for our live shows. He’s a real trooper. The album came out great and Phil is killing it with us live. So I am really excited myself for this album to come out. As for the songs the title cut is loosely based on Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. It’s not a concept album for all the others songs each have individual concepts. Some are historical and ancient in nature. Others are more modern themed and some are just for entertainment. The music is much less acoustic oriented than The Blessed Curse was. Some peers have told me it sounds like we went back towards out roots a little on this new one. Sometimes it’s hard for me to judge my own material. I always think that what I’m working on now is the best thing I’ve ever done. 💣 It’s over the 40TH anniversary world tour and your gig at KEEP IT TRUE Festival. Can you tell us about these experiences? Are you satisfied about fans reaction? Shark: Yes the European part of our 40th anniversary tour is done now but we still have a whole US tour coming up for us before the festivities are through. As for the Keep It True festival and the other 5 weeks of shows we did in Europe it was fantastic and incredible. I’m totally shocked and amazed at how great all the audiences were all over Europe. And it’s really cool to see so many young metal heads at these shows. Metal is definitely alive and well in Europe. We played 18 shows in 11 different countries and they all were quite fun. Some shows were in areas we had been before but there were several places we had never been and those shows tend to really surprise us. For example our last show on this run was in Warsaw, Poland. After years of trying to find a promoter in Poland we finally found a good one and the show sold out fast and the night was total crazy killer cool. They rocked our world just like so many others did on this tour. It seems we have some seriously dedicated fans in Europe. It appears to be a good time to be in Manilla Road. 💣 What do you think about the renewed interest for Traditional Heavy Metal? It seems a new golden age for this kind of music.. Shark: I agree with you. I’ve seen this coming during the last year’s and I even remember saying in interviews years back that the classic metal approach was gaining momentum again. It’s so cool to see it still growing. It proves that true metal is never going to phase out completely. In fact it is on the rise again and that is totally fine with me. It’s a resurgence that I endorse. I think we are seeing some affects of a truly curious young breed of Heavy music fans that are discovering how utterly cool the traditional root bands of metal are or were. Bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and so on. Metal is now like Blues, Jazz or even Classical because it is a genre of music that will forever live on. It’s a great time for someone that loves music to be alive. 💣 The real “news” in music business is vinyl. What’ s your feeling with this classic format? Shark: Well I started in the days before Internet or digital anything…you know right after they figured out the wheel. Vinyl and tape were all we had. I still love vinyl because the packaging can be so much cooler than CD or download and there is something about the warmth of analog that is very hard to replicate with digital equipment. So I’m very respectful and glad to see LPS becoming popular again. 💣 Can you tell us about your next live projects to promote the new album? Shark: Sure. We are playing at the Psychological Vegas festival in Las Vegas, Nevada in August along with King Diamond and a huge assortment of great bands. We will also be at the Frost and Fire festival in California and the Days of Darkness festival in Maryland. These are in October during our US tour. All of these festivals are not to be missed. Great bands and killers times. We will be doing a few songs from the new To Kill A King album in support of its release. 💣 Thank you so much for your time! See you soon on HARDROCKHEAVYMETAL! Shark: Thanks so much for paying attention to us at HARDROCKHEAVYMETAL. And thanks to all our fans for their undying support for the music. Up The Hammers.