MANILLA ROAD - Invasion  LP
MANILLA ROAD - Invasion  LP
MANILLA ROAD - Invasion  LP
MANILLA ROAD - Invasion  LP
MANILLA ROAD - Invasion LP


HRR 623, ltd 500, restored original cover artork, 200 x black + 300 x transparent electric blue vinyl, 425gsm heavy cardboard cover, insert

Mark Shelton - Guitars, Vocals
Scott Park - Bass
Rick Fisher - Drums

-The Dream Goes On
-Cat and Mouse
-Far Side of the Sun
-Street Jammer
-Centurian War Games
-The Empire


AVAILABLE


mastered for Vinyl by Patrick W. Engel at Temple of Disharmony

The first steps of a new band are always something special … the first gig … the first record. “Invasion“ is an extraordinary album by an extraordinary band. It's Manilla Road's debut platter. Originally released on Roadster Records in 1980. “Manilla Road formed in 1977 and we did our first show in Wichita Kansas that year“, begins Mark Shelton. “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.“ So Manilla Road had roughly three years to gather the songs for their debut album. “The material that was on the 'Invasion' album“, says Mark, “was just a few of the songs that we had to choose from for the project. We had several other songs that we thought about putting on the album that did not make it to the final list. Several of the songs that did not make it on the album later appeared on the 'After Midnight Live' release of a live radio studio recording. It was a radio show called 'After Midnight' in Wichita, Kansas, that we appeared on playing at the same time as it was going out over the airwaves. It was really a pretty special thing for back in those days. An unusual event that helped us gain much popularity in the local music scene. After almost 30 years we found and resurrected one of the tapes from that radio session and released it as 'After Midnight Live'. All the songs that appear on that album were possibilities for the 'Invasion' album and were never released at any other time. Strangely enough the tapes from that radio show that we have not found are the tapes with the songs that did make it onto the 'Invasion' release.“
Before Manilla Road, Mark “The Shark“ Shelton played in a band called Embryo but he shudders when I try to make the connection between Embryo and Manilla Road: “Oh no. Embryo was together in the early 1970's. We only did a few original songs and I did not write any of them. At that time I did not even know how to play guitar. I was the drummer for the band. Embryo was my first rock band that I ever played in during High School. We broke up in 1974. The others in the band either went on to college or moved away from Wichita. I myself joined the United States Marine Corps for a short term. There were several years in between the break up of Embryo and the creation of Manilla Road.“
Okay, so Manilla Road's “Invasion“ was the beginning of Space Metal then and not Embryo. “Yeah, that is the way I would categorize 'Invasion'“, says Mark. “It is sort of right in between Metal and Space Rock or Psychedelic Rock. We really did not know what we were back then. Or at least we did not have a true solid direction just yet. 'Invasion' was the birthplace of the Road. We were like an infant child that just appeared in the world and still had to learn how to walk and run. It was not too long before I was wanting to write heavier and faster music. Back then I would write the lyrics first and then come up with the music to match it. I soon learned after that album that it worked better for me to write the music first and then the lyrics to match the feel of the songs. Nowadays I most usually have a concept in mind before I even start writing anything, whether it be music or lyrics, but I generally still write the music first. Our later material became more polished and my writing style became more directed at myths and legends and history and all that stuff that we write about now days. Like I said, we really did not have a solid direction with Manilla Road when we did 'Invasion'. We actually did not know what the hell we were doing. We just wanted to be rock stars.“
A number like "The Empire" off “Invasion“ was by some compared to "Run of the Mill" by Judas Priest (from "Rocka Rolla"). “That is quite a compliment“, finds Shark. “I love that song. I was very influenced by Judas Priest so I guess I should not be surprised that we had a bit of that quality to us but I don't think 'The Empire' (while it is one of my favorite songs off of the album) was as high a caliber of song as 'Run of the Mill'. But it is really nice to be compared to one of my favorite bands. Makes me feel like I did something right somewhere along the way.“
As already pointed out, “Invasion“ was originally released in 1980, with the material being composed between 1977 and 1979. During this period, there were only a handful of heavy bands active in America: Anvil, Riot and The Rods as probably the heaviest of the lot. But Mark Shelton's influences lay elsewhere: “Yeah, I did not even know of those bands when we were doing 'Invasion'. Anvil is actually from Canada I think and I did not hear of Riot or The Rods until around 1982. At the time it was bands like UFO, Judas Priest, early Iron Maiden, The Scorpions, Hawkwind and Rush that I was listening to the most. Oh, I can't leave out the almighty Black Sabbath. That band alone influenced me more than any other I think.“
"Invasion" was pressed in two slightly different versions, one from 1980 and one from 1982. The original issue is quite rare nowadays and sells for up to 250 US $. Mark Shelton: “Well, I think we only did 1,000 copies of the first pressing and that is why it is hard to find. The second pressing was more copies but I'm not really sure how many we sold all together. I doubt if it was over 3,000 copies though. We did not have any real distribution going on for us at that time and it was not until 1982 that we started to get our stuff sold by other distributors like Important Records or Dutch East India.“
When "Invasion" was released in 1980, I can imagine that there were next to no reactions from the mainstream press. Mark Shelton: “No, not really. We were not known by anyone yet and our distribution was really limited to just around the state of Kansas when we released 'Invasion'. It did make a bit of a stir in our hometown of Wichita because nobody else had ever just gotten up and done their own album and started a record label. It was like everyone around us that had a band was thinking, wow, why didn't I think of that? So we got a bunch of attention at home but that was about it.“
Europe had probably not heard of Manilla Road at all in 1980. “Nope, not at all when we put this album out“, knows Mark Shelton. “We were the babies of the metal industry and hell, most people in our home town did not even know what metal was, let alone realize that there was more than one genre of metal music out there. Come to think of it, I'm not sure that we knew that there was more than just Heavy Metal out there. I knew we were not a Heavy Metal band like any other and we just started calling it Metal instead of Heavy Metal. I remember being asked early on in some interviews how I classified our music and that is when I started calling it Epic Metal. Mainly because of the epic nature of our lyrics. I don't think Europe really heard about Manilla Road until around 1982 when 'Flaming Metal Systems' came out on 'US Metal Volume III'. Radio stations in the Kansas area got some promotion copies and we were always sending stuff to the major labels but I think I only got one reply from any of them and it was a nice letter saying that we sucked, ha, ha. I believe that was Warner Bros.“
According to Mark, Manilla Road records were sold in local record stores and at gigs: “Yep. We did have really solid distribution in Kansas. We actually went from town to town looking for record stores that would stock our stuff on consignment. We played all over the state of Kansas so we were selling the albums at the shows and promoting the stuff to the local radio stations. It was pretty easy to make a big noise in Kansas at that time because very few bands toured the state and we were always having to talk clubs into letting us play because heavy rock music just was not the norm in a cowboy and country music state like 'Bloody Kansas'. That is what they called Kansas during the Civil War and the name stuck. I remember being paid off early on a few shows and told to pack up and go home because we were too heavy.“
Did Manilla Road consider "Invasion" a success back then at all? This does not seem to be the case: “No, I did not consider it a success. It was a good start for a band like us but I would never say that it was a successful release. 'Crystal Logic' was the first album that we did that I felt was successful. It was not until our music made it to Europe that we had any type of success at all. That might have something to do with why I am so in love with the European metal scene. Europe gave Manilla Road a life that we never had in the States and a glorious life it has been so far and I hope to continue to write, record and play music live as long as the public still wants to hear more. My only true worry is that I have been doing this for over three decades now and I keep wondering if I will ever run out of ideas. By the gods, I hope not because I sure love doing this. And I just never can show enough appreciation to my friends, family and fans for keeping Manilla Road alive all these years. Blessed be to all of thee. Up The Hammers & Down The Nails.“
Matthias Mader