Guitarist Gary Wehrkamp of progressive power metallers SHADOW GALLERY has confirmed to Roadie Crew's Thiago Sarkis that the band will carry on following singer Michael A. Baker's recent passing, with D.C. Cooper (SILENT FORCE, ex-ROYAL HUNT) filling in on at least one track on the band's upcoming album, which is tentatively due in October.
"Mike was very excited about the new SHADOW GALLERY songs compositions and was eager to sing them," Wehrkamp said in a statement that was published at Solada. "Unfortunately, he left us before he could begin. There is a possibility that he did a quick demo of one song a few weeks before he died. As for the rest of the material, we will have to find a way to honor Mike, and his legacy, and we feel the best choice is to continue and finish this album. We will try to make it as good as it can possibly be. We have looked at some singers to fill in. I say that because you cannot replace somebody like Mike. With a few people in mind, [but] nothing is definite or confirmed. There has been some talk that D.C. Cooper would be our new singer. We have known D.C. for many years, and enjoyed working with him on a few different records. He is a unique talent and a fine singer. Our plan is to have D.C.'s voice grace one track of our new album, for a song that has not been completely written yet. It is possible that we may even collaborate — something we never do — with him on this song. We hope to be finishing our record in a few months, which puts a possible release for October. We sincerely appreciate all of the wonderful comments left for Mike, from wonderful caring people all around the globe. We look forward to giving you all the very best we can."
Michael A. Baker died on October 29, 2008 after suffering a heart attack. He was 45 years old.
Mike was a founding member of SHADOW GALLERY and for the past 16 years, helped shape the band's sound with his magical voice. Additionally, he made many appearances on rock records around the world.
Magna Carta Records in 2007 issued a "best-of" collection from SHADOW GALLERY, entitled "Prime Cuts". The CD featured 12 tracks chosen by the band, including a previously unreleased demo from the "Carved In Stone" sessions ("Rule The World") and edits of two tracks from the "Legacy" LP ("The Crusher" and "Colors").
SHADOW GALLERY began in the early 1980s under the name SORCERER, changing their name just in time to sign with Magna Carta Records in 1991. It was a young band joining forces with a young label. Both were doing something brave and fraught with risk: They were making music that is complex enough to merit careful attention, built around a compelling but oddly non-commercial blend of virtuosity and emotion, and saying that maybe there's a place in the world for something other than three-minute songs. SHADOW GALLERY uses its chops to tell stories — big stories, sometimes so big they have to span across multiple albums.
SHADOW GALLERY's fifth album, "Room V", was released in May 2005 via InsideOut Music.
(Thanks: Thiago Sarkis / Roadie Crew)