There is no need for presentations when it comes to Manilla Road, nonetheless it’s a great opportunity for us to interview Mark "The Shark" Shelton & Co. in occasion of their first live show of 2012, part of this mini-tour touching in three dates Finland, Sweden, and England.
With the band we had a really nice in-depth chat about these live shows, the entrance of Neudi as a full-time drummer, as well as the new record, with interesting anticipations, and other very intriguing stuff on the present, past and future of the band. So keep reading if you want to know what this is all about!
Marco: So, this is the first live show for you in 2012. How much are you looking forward to engage in this "Roadkill tour" in front of your fans?
Mark "The Shark": We are totally pumped about it! Because for one thing we haven’t travelled abroad since the last October, so being out and play live gigs is always totally exhilarating for all of us, we love it.
In 2009 we were in Kuovola, and it was just horrendously cool, all packed, oversold club, and we had so much fun! The audience was just rampaging, I don’t think I have seen such a crazy audience before. They definitely rivaled the likes of the Greeks, that are always going insane, you know. So we are really excited about being back here again! I mean, the whole tour too. Because we have never played in Sweden before, we have never played in England, so they are also two new places where we have never been. We haven’t actually played in Helsinki, so it’s another first for us as well, even though we have been in Finland before.
We are just totally excited about this, I can’t wait to get on stage and just let it rip!
M: And I would say that the level of engagement of the Finnish audience is usually proportional to their level of alcohol!
MS: Yeah! I mean, the last time was 2009, and they just went bizarre cause they were having so much fun! If they are anything like they were the last time, this is going to be a blast of a night man! [laughs]
M: Alright! And how come that you have never played for example in London, which is usually a "must" when it comes to European tours?
MS: Part of it is just a matter of connections. Over the years, as I think everybody knows, we have been really "embedded" into the underground-type of band, and it’s just in the last several years that we have become popular enough that we started getting connections in just about every country where the promoters are capable of bringing us over to play. So that’s probably the main reason. We just didn’t have the contacts to make it happen till more recently. And next year we are planning on doing more shows, and in more different places that we have never been to before. Because of all the contacts that we are getting now, so…
M: Ok, that’s really good for your fans!
MS: Absolutely! Good for us too, because it gets us out to play for our fans, because they are the most important thing of this whole deal. It’s all about the people that love the music, because probably we wouldn’t even still be together, in any shape or form, except for the fans keeping us alive! We can’t do it without them, so that’s why we always take time, like you saw earlier, to take care of our fans, and talk to them, greet them with a smile, and sign whatever it is they want us to sign.
M: And as a side note you also get to see new places!
MS: Yeah! [laughs]
M: You will also headline this "Up The Hammer" festival in Greece in October, so it will be a really good opportunity for the Greek fans to have fun and enjoy themselves after all they are going through right now.
MS: Yeah, absolutely. I know it’s really bad out there right now, and some of our friends that we have in Greece have been letting us know about it. But we are still bound and determined to go there, do what we can to play, and hopefully we will raise their spirits a little bit. Because the Greeks have been really important in our career, in keeping us alive in Europe… as all of our fans have been, but they were one of the first countries to really put a thing together so that we could go and headline stuff. They have helped, a lot of other fans have helped, but Greece is a lot special to us also, and so being able to go back there and do the "Up The Hammers" again is really killer!
M: And you know that also in Italy you are always welcome to come and play!
MS: Oh well, yeah! Actually Italy is one of the first places where we started touring overseas, because Germany, Italy and Greece are the three places that we actually went to first in our career in our first time in Europe. We have been to Ascoli, to the port of Ascoli already twice, we just love it there and we got lots of friends down there, as you know! [laughs]
M: So when can we expect to see you there?
MS: Next year! We are planning to do a lot of touring in 2013. And I think we are in a position where we can do it, because we are all in a situation with our personal lives where we can get out and really hit the road for a while.
Like I said, we now have enough promoters, management people and everything working wit us, that I think we can spread it out a lot more than we had before, so hopefully we will be back in Italy next year.
M: That’s very good to know! Instead it’s been at the end of 2011 that you announced the addition of this guy [pointing at Andreas "Neudi" Neudarth] to the band, following the separation from Cory "Hardcore" Christner. So what do we have to expect from his contribution to the band now?
MS: [To Neudi] Have you contributed to anything?
Neudi: Maybe more beer.
MS: [laughs] More beer! Yeah, Cory was a great drummer. I think basically the change needed to happen, and Neudi is probably the best change that we could make, because he is the closest thing to Randy Foxe that I have ever seen on drums! Of course he studied Randy quite a bit I think, isn’t it right?
N: I’ve stolen so much of Randy Foxe in the band I have played before, because I’m a huge fan of his drumming, and I guess he is a fan of Russian stuff, with all the tiny little stuff, and… so, I stole the Manilla Road style anyway! [laughs]
MS: And see, now he’s playing with us! We have been friends Neudi for what, 20 years maybe?
N: Oh yeah, I think so.
MS: Maybe more. We met a long long time ago. He actually put together our very first website for us, way back then. The things that he brings to the Road that we haven’t had since Randy was with the band, is that totally bombastic, head-on style of drumming. And I think the proof was when we did the "Hammer of Doom" show last October in Germany, we sounded more like the classic Manilla Road than we had in years.
So, you know, the whole thing just has me totally excited about it: going out on the road again, playing live, doing albums… because he is coming back with us to the States on the next month, or actually this month, it’s now June already! At the end of this month we are taking him back to Midgard Sounds Lab studio in Wichita, and we are going to spend a week/a week and a half just recording the drum tracks. And getting really drunk. [laughs] We’ll turn him on the chicken fried steak! [laughs]
No but I can’t imagine a better line-up than what we have right now: there’s Josh [Joshua Castillo] on bass, he has such a classic approach to the style and he really understands what has happened with the bass players that have been in the band before, in the parts that he plays from previous albums. He’s doing great in working on the new material, and I guarantee the new album that we are working on right now is going to be the most Manilla Road-sounding album we’ve put out in a long long time I think. It really adds a sort of sense of classic Manilla Road-style!
I mean, there is always still a little bit of experimentation and new stuff going on but this one sounds more like what a lot of people call the heyday of Manilla Road, the eighties version of the Road. I think it’s gonna be so exciting the whole time! Everything’s really cool right now. I’ll probably jinx on myself now! [laughs]
M: So is there anything you can tell us specifically on the new songs, teasing the fans without maybe spoiling them too much?
MS: Yeah, we don’t want to spoil it too much, because we are still on the middle of working on it, and recording it. I can say this: all the songs are written at this point, and we have sketch tracks down on guitars, bass and vocals, and stuff like that. Neudi has been already listening to them and I think we all agree that we like the material.
N: Except for the Britney Spears cover that we have done.
MS: Yeah! [laughs] I was going to put this Britney Spears cover song, but Neudi put an "x" on that, so…
M: Yeah… it’s been already done by Children of Bodom anyway!
MS: [laughs] And there is nine songs on the album, I can say that. There is definitely some majestic, anthem-like majesty to the album. There’s a lot of anthemic approach to it, and it’s got a lot of great Manilla Road topics. The titles I think are all pretty catchy, and it’s a very epic-oriented album, all the way through. Even though it’s not a complete concept, but there are several songs that are interwoven together, based on… well I guess I can tell that some of them are based on things close to me: the longest epic song on the album is gonna be about my great-great-uncle! He was the German Ludwig Leichhardt. He went to Australia and became one of those famous explorers in Australia. And then during his last patrol, that went out when he was going to circumnavigate the continent from East to West, and chart out all the land in between, the expedition mysteriously disappeared, and nobody saw them again. There has been a couple of clues that they found, but nobody really knows what happened to him or the expedition.
Josh: They got eaten by aborigines!
MS: Aborigines cannibals, maybe! [laughs]
So there is a very epic approach to it. There is a lot of things that are personal to me as far as topics, because some of the stuff is based on my Scottish and Irish heritage… and of course we have our traditional viking heritage song, as usual. We always have to throw one in, in our releases because, you know, half of my family is from Scandinavia anyway. And the other half is either from the British Islands or from Germany.
It’s gonna be a great album, I’m just really, really pleased with the direction we are going right now! It’s not nearly as "off the road" as "Playground of the Damned" was. It’s more centered in the traditional Manilla Road style. It’s gonna be really cool!
I don’t wanna tell album names, song names and so on because we are still several months away from production as far as the date of release. But we do hope to have it released by the end of the year or the first of next year.
M: Ok. Yeah, that’s quite enough teasing, thank you! I’m really looking forward to it then. Another thing I wanted to know is how do you manage with the recordings, between the tour, then you’re going back to the States, then back to tour again…
MS: Well, basically we are just traveling a lot! [laughs]
That’s what we are doing now! I think Neudi has got it worse than any of us because we have to carry him over to the US to record, then send him on a slow canoe back! [laughs]
M: You can always put him in the cargo!
MS: Yeah! [laughs]
We are just making it work, you know, we are having to do a lot more traveling, a lot more sharing music over the internet, and stuff like that, work things out. But it’s working out really cool. And it’s probably good for him too, cause [to Neudi] you’ve never been in the States, yeah?
MS: So he’s got an opportunity to come, visit Kansas, and have fun with us.
M: Yeah! And instead I’ve heard many times some contrasting critics on the production of your albums. Sometimes they have been bashing how they sound, sometimes they’ve been praising it… Do you have any comments about this?
MS: Well, I think a lot of that is just…
Bryan: New sound, that people just don’t understand. You know, they get locked in the modern sound, what’s going on in the market now, and they just don’t understand. They hear that and "Oh wow, I hear something new!". And I don’t like it, it’s typical nowadays.
MS: It may just be that, but you know, for one thing: first the drum sound, we don’t use trigger drums, we don’t use samples, we never will! And so we are not gonna sound like the trigger drums sounds that you can hear on Lamb Of God, and other bands like that, you know. We are just never gonna sound like that. If that’s what people are into, then they’re gonna miss that from us, because we are just not gonna go there.
The other thing is, I noticed that some people say that "Crystal Logic" has the best sound the band ever made, and then you got other people that like, think that "Open The Gates" it’s the best, or "The Deluge". Then there is a whole new breed of fans that we have also, younger fans, that are really into everything that we have done since "Atlantis Rising" on. And they are not as familiar with the old stuff. So a lot of it it’s just a matter of personal taste, and the band has been here for over three decades, so it depends on which decade you found the band in! [laughs]
If you found the band this decade, then you’re probably more likely to be into our newer stuff. You know, sort of like me: the first Judas Priest albums I’ve heard were "Sad Wings Of Destiny", "Rocka Rolla", "Stained Class", you know, "Sin After Sin"… and to me nothing compares to those. Everything they did ever since was great stuff! But I still consider those first few albums that I was introduced to, that I got so enthralled about the band, that to me still is just the favorite part of Judas Priest’s career.
And I think that’s what happens with bands like us too, it’s that when you live in the days and you grew up with these, like the "Open The Gates"-era, the "Crystal Logic"-era, whatever… then you sort of become locked into that "Oh yeah, that’s the best!", and when the band changes a little bit over time then you’re not quite sure about the changes, something like that. There could be all sorts of different reasons, but ultimately it all comes down to personal taste and personal opinion.
And we experiment so much with fusing so many styles and music together, and going so major in trying not to stay stagnant, that I think it makes us different from bands like, let’s say AC/DC. It’s always the same type of sound and production every album. And so we change enough, and all the time basically. So it’s hard then to decide wether or not we are still in the right "thing" that you like or not!
But if you are chocked of the new stuff, check out the new album when it comes out, because there’s gonna be a lot more of classic Manilla Road I think that anything we’ve done for a while!
N: It chocked me, as a fan, when "Out of the Abyss" came out, and you played this thrash stuff, but I loved it too. So take, "Invasion", and "Out of the Abyss", both eighties records I think. And it’s totally different.
MS: Oh yeah, totally different style, totally different approaches… So we are just gonna keep on doing what we do. Of course when we are working on our studio, we do try to get the best sound we can, we still experiment with everything, but sometimes we hit the mark really good and sometimes we don’t. We are not gonna quit experimenting just because we found something that worked!
It’s not about the money, it’s about the adventure and the music.
M: And I think the evolution of your sound is essential to keep going rather than just get stuck on the same stuff all over. But you mentioned before that next year you will do a lot more touring, and do you have any other plans beside that or you’re just focusing on the promotion of the new record?
MS: How should I put this, we are trying to take it step by step right now. Because we feel we are in the best position we have ever been in as a band. We seem to be more popular than we have ever been before, and you know, that’s thanks to the internet of course. But at the same time the internet’s been a sort of double-edged sword for us, because digital downloading and free bootlegging are really hurting our sales, you know.
M: Yes, of course.
MS: But that’s the whole point on why we are trying to get out and tour more too. It’s because that’s really where we can make more money now, out on the road. Sell merchandise and stuff like that.
We are just going to take things a step at a time, and just keep on trying to make it something that’s more viable than it’s ever been before. We don’t wanna stop! We are far from stopping. This thing isn’t over by a long shot! I expect this band to be around at least another decade, if not two more! [laughs]
M: Ok, that sounds great! And will we ever see a DVD?
MS: Yeah. As a matter of fact I think there will be a DVD release of the Hammer of Doom show. We got really professional footage for a DVD there. I haven’t seen the whole thing yet, but I’ve seen like three songs from it, and it looks really good! Sounds really good, and I guess there’s a lot of examples on Youtube. There’s a tour date ad that has this footage from "Divine Victim", so on Youtube if you look up "Manilla Road tour dates" I think you can find that video [and I think I found it: "Divine Victim" live at HoD 2011]. That gives everybody an overall idea of what they might expect from the DVD. And I expect there will be more to come too, because I think we are going to start videotaping more of our shows.
N: I will bring a camera too!
MS: Yeah, yeah!
N: My aim is to make documentation of the band also, in the studio, meeting the ex-members… I can’t bring a camera here in this tour because of all the flying, having a case with a camera in addition would be too much for these flights, but it could work for the USA.
MS: Yeah, our schedules are too tight, to really trying to do anything as far as video taping…
M: But there’s going to be time later on!
MS: There’s gonna be plenty more shows man, I guarantee it! And the longer we play with Neudi, the longer we have this group together, the better we are gonna get!
M: I hope so! And you’ve been recently working also on this Hellwell project, and the resulting album, "Beyond the Boundaries of Sin" will be out in the end of the summer…
MS: Yes, it’ll be out on August 17th I believe, on High Roller Records here in Europe, and then Shadow Kingdom in America.
M: So what can you tell us about that project?
MS: It’s like Manilla Road’s evil twin! It has a tinge of Manilla Road to it, but it’s just, it’s hard to say… it’s more progressive. It’s a little more modern sounding, maybe than what the Road is, but more than anything it’s just darker. It’s really evil-sounding stuff, and it’s stuff that we really started to try, we were feeling like going in that direction on the last Manilla Road album. "Playground of the Damned" is sort of a cross-over point, and when we were working on it we realized "Oh man, some of this is not really Manilla Road’s type of stuff". So those really evil, dark ideas that I have been working on outside of the Road, are trying to get into the Hellwell project, along with E.C. and Jonny Benson.
M: So it’s this kind of "dark side" that you wanted to let out.
MS: Yeah! It really is like an evil twin of Manilla Road, I mean, you can hear Manilla Road every once in a while in it. But the drumming stuff are different, it’s more double-kickery and not as frenzy as Neudi is, or it was with Randy.
N: Yeah, it’s a totally different drumming style.
B: It’s heavy!
MS: Just lots of double kicks everywhere! [laughs]
B: But it’s very controlled, it’s very controlled. I mean, the guy is like…
MS: Oh he’s a human tank. Jonny Benson’s his name but we named him "Thumper"! Because his feet are just [thumping on his knees] like that all the time!
And of course there is a lot of keyboards and synthesizers in it too, so it has a lot of a different sounds in different directions. Sort of, for outsiders who hasn’t heard of Manilla Road, I’d say it’s like a cross between Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, and I don’t know, maybe Grip Incorporated! some of the early Metallica and definitely some Manilla here and there every once in a while.
M: Well I didn’t hear any bad names here, so…
MS: [laughs] It’s gonna be really interesting to see how it comes out. The artwork is great, Alexander von Wieding did the artwork for it, and it’s really cool. You can already see the front cover on High Roller Records, they got it up on their website, and I’m really looking forward to that coming out too. It’s been an exciting project to work on, and I’m looking forward to it coming out!
We’ll see when it does, you know. We are already working on a new Hellwell album at this point, with three new songs deep into another Hellwell album, so we expect it to continue on too.
But my main focus always is gonna be Manilla Road, because that’s my baby! [laughs]
M: Yeah, I can understand! While apart from mythology and history, you’ve always taken inspiration from many horror and narrative authors, but which one of them is your absolute favorite?
MS: Oh, I’d say my favorite has to be Robert E. Howard. It seems no matter how hard we try and get away from doing something Howard-oriented, there’s always some of Howard. We did even say for the new album that we are working on right now that "Ok, no Howard stuff on this album! We are not gonna do any Howard". And then Richard [points at their photographer] came to me with this story that I never read of Robert E. Howard. It’s called "The Grey God Passes"… Oh shit I just came with one of our titles! [laughs]
Ok, there you have one title, that we are up for. We are doing a song called "The Grey God Passes", which is based on the short story of the same name, but it’s a very very obscure Howard story. It wasn’t in print very often, nor very well publicized out there. It was a story that just sort of sits in the background. But it’s really cool, and it definitely has the pagan roots, and viking roots to the story, and it goes once again back to my ancestors and stuff. It just seemed like a proper topic to me, so we got Howard in there.
So to go back to your question it would be Robert E. Howard. He’s probably my biggest influence as far as creating writing is.
M: Yeah, I guessed as much, but I needed to ask!
MS: [laughs] Yeah!
M: And I also remember, changing topic, that a few years ago you borrowed your voice to the "Age of Chaos" record of this Greek band, Battleroar, and to repay you for that they also had one Manilla Road cover in the album after that. Are you still in contact with the guys?
MS: Yes, yes. I’m still in contact with them, and many other Greek musicians as well. You know, the Battleroar band especially is going through a lot of changes themselves in the last few years.
M: Yes I know they change the singer…
MS: But, strangely enough, what is really cool about it is that they are all still friends with each other even though they have sort of separated. And at the same time we are still friends with all of them as well. There seems to be a deep respect between all of us. I don’t think that they are gonna disappear.
Same way with a lot of Italian friends, we have a lot of Italian bands that we are just really really fond of, like Rosae Crucis, Gianluca [Silvi] and all the bands he’s played with, like the old Jotenheim, Battle Ram… and of course with Doomsword. I don’t know now if you can still consider them an Italian band or not!
M: Oh yeah, it’s kind of difficult with that now…
MS: Of course Gio moved to England, so…
M: Last time I saw them was already maybe, 10 years ago.
MS: Oh wow that’s a long time. We played with them in Germany last year. And Gianluca [Battle Ram] actually played with them on stage at the Hammer of Doom. They were really good. Of course we are really good friends with all those guys, and so we are extremely supportive. They can go out and suck and still I can say they are great! [laughs]
N: And you got a cd from this Finnish band, Lord Vicar. They were joining him in the backstage and say "listen to our new cd!".
MS: Yeah. And actually I think I ran into them before too. There is one thing that we really like about this, is that we really like to associate with all the other bands. We feel it more like a common run than a competition. I’ve never understood competition between rock’n’roll bands, or heavy metal bands. It doesn’t make sense to me at all, because nobody has just one ultimate favorite band, everybody has several that they like. Everybody I know has more than one favorite band. I mean, Black Sabbath was really one of my big favorite, but at the same time I like Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep… all these other bands. And I don’t go out and just buy one band’s product, I go out and buy everybody I like!
So there is no competition, I never got in discussion with anybody like that "Oh yea, Deep Purple is better than Black Sabbath brother!". What’s the point in even talking about that? it’s two totally different creative ideas and styles.
M: Yes exactly. And then for example here in Finland almost everyone that has a band is also playing in other bands, sometimes even three or four!
MS: Yeah, no doubt. So the competition thing, I don’t even buy it at all. I just think it’s only a matter of being friends with everybody, and helping the industry grow. That’s what’s so cool about the underground. It’s that there’s always been a common "artery" between the bands, and the members of the bands.
Back in the early eighties when we were just starting, I bought Angel Witch’s first album. In the next few years we started touring with them, we have shared the stage a couple of times with them. And it was incredible because I never thought that I could ever been playing with them. Let alone them opening up for us! That was just totally insane, it’s like "No Kevin, we should be opening up for you!".
So it’s really sort of weird and strange, it’s a cool thing, but at the same time when we got together with the guys, with Angel Witch and Kevin, we became very close friends really quick. So there is no animosity between us and other bands, we wanna meet them all, we wanna hear them all, we wanna hang out and help everybody to make the underground as big and heavy as it can be! We are a lot stronger together than we are facing off with each other. So I see no reason for competition at all.
M: Of course! While I think I can safely say that Manilla Road is considered one of the "godfathers" of this kind of music…
MS: We have been around for a long time, that’s for sure!
M: And at least to me your career represents really well what happened to Metal music from the beginning till now, when it was a big, successful thing in the eighties, then a bit of a crisis in the nineties, and then the comeback in the new millennium. What do you think about this, and where do you see this is going in the next decade?
MS: Well, as far as where we’ve been, I think there is a lot of people who think there was this really long time that we had off, like nine years… But it really wasn’t that long, it was more like two or three years that we weren’t really playing as Manilla Road, because there were a few years, between 1993 until about ’96-’97, that we were still playing. And we had the band together as a three-piece with me and Harvey Patrick, Bryan’s brother on bass, and Randy Foxe still playing with us.
We played locally in Kansas for many years, we started writing material for a new album, but at the time we were really struggling financially, we didn’t have any label support… disco was big, and heavy metal was not!
N: [whispers] Grunge!
MS: Yeah, grunge rock was starting to come in, nobody played guitar solos anymore, and we actually thought for a long period of time that it was over, that it was done.
M: I’d like to quote Tenacious D here: "Grunge tried to destroy the Metal, but they failed!"
MS: Yeah! [laughs] Here you go, exactly!
And at one point we did sort of hang it up for a little bit, but… I was playing golf with Bryan one day, and I was being a really bitchy Shark, like I got to be after two years of not being playing live music, and not recording anything… He finally hit me with his golf club saying "Shark, you just need to fucking go back and start playing music again! I’m tired of your shit boy!" [laughs]
And so at that moment I looked down and said "you know something? You’re right! I need to start again.", and so we started putting together a solo project that we were gonna call Shark.
B: At that time he was also writing stuff with Randy.
MS: Actually it was already written at that point. We were waiting for him to do the drum tracks, but that never happened. We continued working on the Shark project, and then we got invited to play at the Bang Your Head! festival in 2001. And that’s the first time that I met Neudi.
N: Yeah. With a red shirt between all that Greek people! [laughs]
MS: We had talked a lot before, we have been in contact before that, but it was actually the first time we met face to face. At that point Randy didn’t think he could come, and he didn’t think we should go either, because he couldn’t go. That’s where we separated the company, because I wasn’t about to pass it up. So we got another drummer… we had another bass player, Mark Anderson, who was working with us on the Shark stuff… and we took demos of that stuff with us to Balingen, I think you had a copy [to Neudi]
N: I have it.
MS: And of course we got to meet record label people and stuff like that. It ended up being something that they wanted, we signed with Iron Glory, and of course nobody wanted to call it the Shark project, they thought it sounded a lot like Manilla Road, it should have been a Manilla Road album.
And that wasn’t a hard decision for us, because the album concept was like the part two of the Deluge. So it was like "Oh yeah, there’s no problem. We’ll call it Manilla Road". Which is really cool, because it just shows you that the fans are supportive, you know, our friends, everybody, didn’t want it to die!
And as long as they are still there, helping to keep it alive, we’ll be here playing it. We’ll be trying to do new music, new albums, and we’ll be touring. It’s really up to our fans, you know…
M: You better stay in a good shape then!
M: I’m doing my best! [laughs]
It’s getting hard though, the older I get the harder it is to get up and down those fucking stairs! To me it’s always running from airplane to airplane, airplane! It seems like we never get in an airport where you get out one gate, and the next gate is just right behind the corner, it’s always all the way across the airport!
N: You need to say "we are Manilla Road, open the gates!" [laughs]
MS: Or else the gates will be on fire! [laughs]
As far as the future, man that’s an open book there. We are out to slay the world. That’s all we are out to do right now. As long as our supporters want us to keep doing it, we are gonna keep doing it.
M: And I think it will be for a long time then!
MS: I think so! I’ve been telling people that even if I die I’m gonna figure out a way to do it from the grave!
M: Oh yeah they have all those holograms now!
MS: [laughs] Yeah!
And the other thing is my son is 17, he’s learning to play guitar, and he’s pretty good. Eventually he’ll probably be good enough that we might even invite him to play into the band as a rhythm guitar player. And then by the time I get old enough that I can’t do it anymore he can take over for me. That way Manilla Road will still last for another four or five decades after I’m gone!
M: It would be like Lynyrd Skynyrd, there’s always a new one stepping in!
MS: Exactly! Well we come from the same country as Lynyrd did! Let’s hope that doesn’t mean we are going doing in flames on an airplane! [laughs]
MS: Oh no he’s scared now, poor Neudi! [laughs]
M: Yeah! But ok, let’s conclude this by asking what does the Shark do when he’s not dividing himself between music, work and family… and playing golf!
MS: Actually I haven’t swung a golf club in a golf course for almost two years now. Because I’ve just been too busy with the music. Whenever I got free time I’m in the studio, working on music. There is no vacation from vacation. Vacation is touring for me. And unfortunately my kids don’t get to go on vacation with me, unless I take them on tour! Which I’ve done before, and I’ll do it again, I’m sure. But what I do in my spare time is, I just praise the Gods that I’m still able to do this, because this is a dream come true for me. And I owe it to the people that helped us to keep it alive as far as Manilla Road is concerned.
It’s been good to me, it’s been a hard road, but it’s been exciting, it’s been adventurous… We are not having it the same as everyone who is trying to make it nowadays. Just remain dedicated, stick with it. It will pay off if you hang in there. Eventually longevity makes the difference. I guess we are proof of that.
M: Oh yeah, just believe in what you’re doing and stick to your beliefs!
MS: If you believe in what you’re doing I think it will happen eventually, you know. It depends on how you measure success. Some people measure success by money, I don’t really do that, I measure it by the deeds and the accomplishments of the band.
M: Of course, those are the real gratification in the end. But thanks for having this interview with us, do you want to add one last thing for your fans?
MS: Thank you. Thanks for being all out there, without them we are nothing. So we are just really really happy to know we are still appreciated, because that allows us to continue on playing. That’s what life’s all about for me, is playing music!
Siamo alla ricerca di un nuovo addetto per la sezione DEMO, gli interessati possono contattare lo staff di Holy Metal, nel frattempo la sezione demo rimane temporaneamente chiusa.