Obituary – Mark Shelton – By PERRY GRAYSON
July 27, 2018 was a sad day for metal. We lost a real hero, Mark Shelton of Wichita, Kansas-based Manilla Road. One of my biggest regrets is not seeing The Road live. (I was meant to in 2000, but that’s another story.) Next to cohorts Cirith Ungol, I crown Mark “The Shark” Shelton and Manilla Road as the kings of epic metal.
My pal Rob Preston (Doomed Planet Records) turned me on to both bands around 1994, a bad time for true metal. Still, they left indelible impressions on my brain and ears! I started with Crystal Logic, moving back to Invasion and Metal. Then came the amazing previously unreleased Mark of the Beast, which utterly blew me away, despite Mark’s disdain for that recording. I had the pleasure of talking to the talented axeman/vocalist on the phone, but alas never met him. Still, from those conversations and the video clips I’ve watched, I gleaned Mark was a very down-to-earth dude, despite his stature as an epic metal pioneer. Many find the Shark’s voice to be very idiosyncratic and are put off by it. Not me! Like Geddy Lee, from one of Mark’s fave bands, Rush, Mark was singular and unique, a true innovator. Through his music, Mark showed me that you can succeed as a musician without selling out and staying true to your beliefs!
-Perry M. Grayson