Mark "The Shark" Shelton, a founding member of the legendary epic metal band MANILLA ROAD, has died at the age of 60. He passed away Friday morning after performing at the Headbangers Open Air festival in Brande-Hörnerkirchen, Germany. The band confirmed in a live Facebook video that Shelton died of a heart attack.

"Last night I was able to hold Mark in my arms until the paramedics got there," vocalist Bryan Patrick said. "I comforted him. He felt no pain, folks. He went quick. He suffered a heart attack. The stage was very hot last night — a lot of smoke. I was even struggling for a moment. And there were a couple of moments where I checked on him to make sure he was okay, and he gave me the nod. 'Keep poundin', brother.' He went out on top."

MANILLA ROAD was scheduled to play in Retorbido, Italy on July 28. The band was also confirmed to appear at this year's edition of the Wacken Open Air festival in early August.

Shelton was the only remaining original member of MANILLA ROAD, which was launched more than four decades ago in the most un-metal of places: Wichita, Kansas.

"MANILLA ROAD formed in 1977 and we did our first show in Wichita Kansas that year," Shelton said. "The very first gig that we played was at a house for a private party. Then we started playing the club scene around Wichita and before we knew it, MANILLA ROAD was creating a bit of a stir in the local music scene. We were just about the only hard rock or metal band around that was writing and performing all original material. Actually, back then we did a couple of Jimi Hendrix songs (our own way, of course), but other than those songs, we never really did cover tunes."

Asked how important Kansas has been to his music, Shelton told Decibel magazine: "Well, I think it is pretty important to me as far as being isolated from the rest of the music market. I sort of tread my own path out here in the middle of nowhere, especially back in the days before the Internet — trends and fads in the music industry were really slow to get to us out here. The only outside source we had for knowing what was popular in the States or in Europe was the radio. It seemed we only found out what was trending a year or so later; I swear, when I was growing up here in Kansas the hippie movement held on forever here while everyone else in the world had moved on."

MANILLA ROAD's 18th full-length studio album, "To Kill A King", was released in June 2017 through Golden Core Records.

"I never felt like I was too old to metal," Shelton told The Portland Mercury in a 2015 interview. "I'll be doing this till I die."

Image courtesy of Pyrenean Metal

July 27th 2018
I'm very sorry to announce today that my long time brother and Best Friend since 1981 has passed through...

Posted by Bryan Patrick on Thursday, July 26, 2018


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