Manilla Road Special (7): Mark Anderson

Part 7 of our Manilla Road Special is quite special (haha…): Today we present to you an interview with Mark Anderson – not the former bass player of Wichita’s finest, but one of the most passionate Manilla Road fans out there. And a nice guy, too! Fortunately, he sent us some wonderful pics that we’d like to share with you on this occasion. Most of them were taken during rehearsals at Mark Shelton’s studio – really rare stuff that you’ll appreciate, for sure. Thanks a lot, Mark!

Mark Anderson & The Shark himself.

I will start off by saying hello! I’m Mark Anderson – the fan not the former bass player. Now with that said, I know Mark the former bass player and he is one of the most upstanding guys I know. We hang out a few times a year and talk metal. We live, eat, sleep and breathe metal. It was a running joke in the Manilla camp, my name. The first time I met Mark Shelton at his studio I was so nervous I said: «Hi, I’m Mark Anderson not your former bass player». He said in his gruff voice: «Yeah, I know who you are, now sit down.» I met Mark Anderson at Mark’s memorial service and we hit it off. When we would go to shows downtown people would say: «Hey, the two Mark Andersons, can we get your picture?»

Mark Anderson & Mark Anderson (and a guy in a very nice shirt, too).

There was definitely magic at Mark Shelton’s studio. There was this aura in the air. It was my heavy metal heaven. I would sit like a fly on the wall and listen to the most epic metal band of all time – like I was getting my own personal show. Then you would hang out and talk metal and listen to Mark telling stories. Some of the best times in my life where in that basement studio. All the people I met because of Shark and the friendships I have made. Shout out to my brother Jeff Mohr. He was always there when I was. The first time I met him we had a great discussion about Jag Panzer

How many times did you attend a Manilla Road concert?  

I went to five concerts. But I attended a lot of rehearsals, so I got like 10-15 private shows.

At Mark Shelton’s studio.

Can you point out a special moment that you experienced with Manilla Road?

I hung with the band at Midgard Studios a lot. So they were my brothers. The most special thing that happened is when Mark Shelton showed up at my house for my 40th birthday party. When he saw my Manilla Road vinyl collection he said: «Damn, that’s almost as big as my collection.» I have 70 different pressings of their albums.

What makes Manilla Road special in your opinion?

They were all so down-to-earth and humble. Mark and Bryan always asked about my family and my health. They treated you like family. And they meant it. The brotherhood that was forged at Mark’s place was amazing.

What are your three favourite Manilla Road albums?

  • Metal
  • Crystal Logic 
  • Open The Gates

What’s the most underrated Manilla Road album in your opinion?

Atlantis Rising – I don’t think it gets the credit it deserves. That intro and then straight into «Megladon», it’s a metalhead‘s wet dream. 

What are your five favourite Manilla Road tracks?

  • «Far Side of the Sun»
  • «Queen of the Black Coast»
  • «Necropolis» 
  • «The Ninth Wave»
  • «Death by the Hammer»

What’s the most underrated Manilla Road track in your opinion?

«Street Jammer». You can hear so many metal influences on that track. Like it was the influence for thrash metal.

Which Manilla Road track moves you the most emotionally?

«Flaming Metal Systems». It’s patriotic to me and it was a song before its time. When it came out no one was playing riffs like that. It was jaw dropping and it still is. That song gives me chills every time I play it. Now with Shark gone it brings tears to my eyes.

What’s your favourite solo/lead played by Mark Shelton?

«Witches Brew» – the first time I watched him playing that solo I said to myself: «Holy fuck!»

How would you define the term epic metal?

A brotherhood of metal fans that are true to themselves and each other. 

Are there any young bands inspired by Manilla Road that you appreciate?

Midnight Dice, Throne of Iron, Dexter Ward, NightStryke, Ironsword, DoomSword, Legendry, Visigoth, Lady Beast to name a few

What do you generally think of Manilla Road’s legacy and the current epic metal scene?

It’s all around, they laid the ground work. You can see all these festivals named after Manilla Road tracks. 

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