Hail to all ye Brethren of the Hammer,
I am sitting in my hotel in Copenhagen right now still reveling in the memory of what has taken place over the last several weeks. I am so proud of my band mates and our tour manager for making this leg of our first official world tour such a great time and success. We just came from France where we played at the Hellfest festival just two nights back. Just before that we did a crazy cool show in Itzehoe Germany that was fantastic also. You know it just does not matter to me if we play in front of 200, 2,000 or 20,000 people. If the audience is there ready to rock with Manilla Road then I am happy. And so far everywhere we have been it has been like that. Great audiences and fans and great times playing shows of the likes that were just dreams for me back in the day. I just have to keep thanking all of you for making this all possible.
First the show in Itzehoe Germany. A small venue but totally packed to the hilt with metal heads and man they were ready to ride the thunder. So that is what we did. We provided them all with the thunder of Manilla Road. It may have been only 200 or 250 people at the show but they were mighty and very excited to be rocking out with the Road. These smaller shows are still as important to me as the big ones and I just love the fact that they are on a bit more personal scale. Really easy to feel the energy of the audience when they are right there in your face. It was a really fun night and the opening bands were way cool also. I can still hear the high screams of Agrim Doom Hammer’s singing. Man he can hit those high notes. They came out with the peddle to the metal and gave a great show. Also Die Void, who played next, came out and kicked some serious ass with their super cool style of spacy hippie metal. I really don’t know how else to explain them except this way haha. The night before Josh and I went to a club show of a band that was headed up by one of the techs that worked our show in Itzehoe. His name is Ollie…I most likely have spelled his name wrong so sorry mate. The name of the band was Fire Up I believe and they were really cool. Not really a metal band but a cover band doing a full range of different styles of music. But man they meant business and were really professional and put on a great entertaining show that I really enjoyed. The highlight of that show for me was when they finished one of their sets with Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. And they did it perfectly with all the correct speaking parts in it. And since they had a really cool female vocalist with them as well it made it perfect. Never heard anyone do that song live before and do it justice but Fire Up did. So our time in Germany was great because the audience there just really blew us away and I felt like we delivered a really good show there. The local newspaper thought so also because the headline in the paper the next day was Manilla Road raises the roof. Good times.
Then it was on to France and the mighty Hellfest festival. I never got an official headcount for the festival but I know for sure that we played on Saturday and it was definitely the largest crowd that day. I heard that the count was around 110,000 in attendance. There were so many great bands playing at this festival that it was amazing. The artists area was really cool and it made it easy to hang out with other bands and meet up with old touring friends and meet some new ones also. We had the opportunity to hang out for a bit with the likes of Wolf Hoffmann and all the Accept guys. I talked to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top for a while and was amazed that after all these years he sort of remembered me from when I first met him in 1980. Maybe he was just being nice also but hell I don’t care because he is still totally cool and I still idolize him. I got to meet Biff Byford of Saxon in Sweden but managed to catch their whole show at Hellfest and man I have to tell you they still have what it takes. Bryan and Josh got to hang out with the lead singer of Krokus who came to our dressing room evidently remembering Manilla Road and the fact that we opened for them back in 1982. We all met up with the guys from Down and Phil was so cool to us telling me that he was so proud that Manilla Road was still around kicking ass and keeping it old school. Doing breakfast with Accept, lunch with Billy Gibbons (in his pajamas haha) and then joking around that evening with Phil Anselmo…well all I can say to that is Wow! Then it came time to put on the magik axe (the Warlock of course) and hit the stage at Hellfest. Man the crew was a dream to work with but I must say that all the show crews that we have worked with on this tour have been really good, cool and helpful to work with. A really great bunch of professionals out there behind the scenes making this happen for everyone. My hat is off to all of you guys and gals. You know they say that everything gets better with time and that seems to be the truth when it comes to Manilla Road. Every show we have done seems to just get better and better and the one we just did at Hellfest, I think, is the best show that Manilla Road has ever done. It was a great stage and the sound was perfect. The audience was huge and I actually could not see where the audience ended that night because there were so many out there. The light show was cool and by the gods the audience was fantastic. And believe it or not I don’t think I screwed up any of my French when talking to the audience. It was an amazing night and an utterly magnificent show for Manilla Road. So all in all it has been a fantastic tour so far and I can’t wait to get back on the road when we go to Canada and back to Europe again to finish what we have started.
Let it be known that we have new Mysterium shirts for sale on the website (manillaroad.net) and they look really cool front and back both in full color. We leave tomorrow to head back home to the states and I am eager to get back to the studio and keep working on the new Hellwell and Manilla Road projects that are brewing in Midgard Sound Labs. Also really looking forward to seeing my children again. That is the thing that does suck about being on tour is being away from your loved ones but then again it also makes coming home that much better because when you are out here doing this sort of thing sometimes you just don’t want it to stop. Once again thanks to all of you Manilla Roadsters for making this possible for us. We can’t do it without you.
Up The Hammers & Down The Nails
Mark The Shark Shelton
Manilla Road / Hellwell