View Full Version : RIP Mark "The Shark" Shelton

08-05-2018, 01:29 AM
Mark "The Shark" Shelton, of the mighty Manilla Road, has died at age 60 of a heart attack. What can I say about the Shark that would do him justice? He was one of the most talented and underappreciated musicians in Heavy Metal. His guitar style was highly original and technically astonishing at the same time. His songwriting was always top notch and interesting; during Manilla Road's output Mark managed to dabble with just about every single genre and subgenre of metal imaginable: Power Metal and traditional metal with Crystal Logic, Open the Gates and The Deluge, speed and thrash metal with Mystification and Out of the Abyss, synthesizer tinged and ethereal metal with The Courts of Chaos, doom metal with Spiral Castle, progressive metal with Gates of Fire and death metal with Voyager. Manilla Road was one of the few bands that while staying true to their signature sound, also manages to expand and evolve their music without sacrificing the songwriting, and a lot of that was down to Shelton's highly distinctive musical style.

One time, I was in Germany I got the chance to see Manilla Road live and afterwards I got to speak to Mark for a bit, and he was such a humble and down to earth guy despite having every right to be an arrogant bastard. Things then sort of came to full circle when I saw an interview with Mark, which was probably the last interview he ever did, where he talked about the history of the band and their entire album catalogue and the stories behind each album. At the end he closed it with a rather poignant, but at the same time rather uplifting speech.

I always had the faith that it [[Manilla Road]] could turn into this, I mean there's a lot of times where you're just like, yeah it's useless, I'm just spinning my wheels. Many times I thought about quitting and hanging it up. And even now the older I get, you know it's not easy to tour at my age and especially now that we tour more and more every year. But I love it on the road, I love hanging out with our fans and our friends, because, my goodness, they're the most gracious and respectful people that I've ever met in my life. And if end up just dying someplace on the road with my fans and friends, then that's fine. You know, I'm doing what I love and I'm just so fortunate and grateful that I've got a fanbase of supporters that makes it so that I'm allowed to continue to do this, because I don't have another job, I just play music and I love it and I don't know what else I would do with my life right now. That would be the doom of Shark, if I couldn't do this anymore

That at least makes me feel content with his passing, I mean to know that he felt that way and that he actually went out in just that manner really makes it better somehow. Amazing guy, and he left a great legacy of inspiring music.

For everyone who wants to know what I'm on about, here's three songs from Manilla Road that I find myself coming back to the most