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Music Releases (more headlines) 12-04-2012

Mark Shelton Lights Up Jazz Scene With "Among The Stars"

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Website: http://captainradical.com
Dulcet-voiced jazz vocalist Mark Shelton has a secret.

When he's not crooning dreamily as he does on his latest album, "Among the Stars," he entertains children as a pirate. Donning threads that wouldn't be out of place in one of Johnny Depp's Caribbean adventures, Shelton slips into his swaggering alter ego, Captain Radical. Shelton discusses his dueling careers in the following interview.

Q: How did you come up with Captain Radical?

Captain Radical is a name I came up with shortly after the release of my first Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) album entitled, "Radical." This album was released in 2002. In 1982 and 1983, I was a Military Police Officer in the U.S. Army stationed in Pforzheim, Germany. We, of course, would always go out to great concerts around Germany, various clubs, and festivals checking out the local scene. Everyone would declare his or her dreams, and everybody wanted to be a rock star. I constantly said that I would absolutely sing in my life. There was no doubt. We never took one another too seriously, but I knew in my heart that I was very serious about following my dreams.

Q: Did the song title have a personal connection?

A: Well, we had a phrase in Germany for anything that was ultimately cool or beyond expression. That word was "Radical." Everything was "Radical" if it was in the realm of being awesome or incredible. When I put my son to bed at night, now in the mid-'90s, I would tell him stories using my guitar, a 12-string Taylor, to accompany the story with music or sound effects. One night he wanted me to sing a song called "Radical" so I made up this song. It ended up on my first album, and given that my son inspired it, and the word had a special meaning to all my service buddies in the past, I decided that when I released my first album, I would call it "Radical".

The first song any radio station played from that album was the title cut, "Radical." The radio stations that played my songs would call me Mr. Radical and from there it became Captain Radical.

Q: What was the origin of the pirate character?

A: The pirate character came to be due to the theatrical nature of our performances. I love the rock opera and theatrical aspects of people like David Bowie, Alice Cooper, James Brown, etc. The back-story for Captain Radical is an allusion to service to God. Though the swashbuckling, saber-waving Captain Radical is known as a pirate, the character is actually a "privateer," a knight in disguise sent by the King to the land to share messages that the King would have the people know. So whether it be in concert or the many hundreds of children's shows we do with Captain Radical and his crew, the messages of love and forgiveness is a consistent part of the show, as well as having a great deal of fun.

I once opened a Gospel concert in a black cloak, candelabras, and pyrotechnics. Sword fights in the aisles and motorcycles driving up on the stage. And I love lyrical and interpretive dance. There is always something going on during the shows.

Q: What kind of performances do you do as Captain Radical?

A: It seems that I dress up like a pirate quite regularly. Besides the many kid's shows at resorts, festivals, benefits, and holidays, I also perform some of my concerts dressed as a Captain Radical. The Block Island (Rhode Island) Music Festival is where they ask for me to sing a set of Elvis Presley hits dressed up as Captain Radical. It is always an amazingly fun time. And I performed as Captain Radical at the 10th Annual Soulfest in Gunstock, New Hampshire. I once did a mission trip to the Bahamas at a school as Captain Radical, theatrics and music.

Another aspect, and ministry, as it were, is when I do professional wrestling for the Eastern Township Wrestling Association in Canada. I began as the "Archangel" (Heaven's Hammer and Hell's Nightmare), sometimes as the "Rhino" and a few times as Captain Radical.

This year I will be performing various children's shows on a cruise ship in Lake Winnipesauke, Weirs Beach, N.H., where each week, Captain Radical and his crew, will lead the children on assorted adventures. Other times, we have been asked by schools to create shows based on their curriculum and close out the school years in memorable ways that support the projects and lesson plans.

I was just told today that the graduating 6th grade class in a very, very rural area was asked what their most fond memory was throughout their years at the school. The number one answer was, "the day the pirates came and took over our school." Now that is a cool thought.

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