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David Shankle (DSG)

Interview with David Shankle from DSG
by YngwieViking at 18 June 2015, 3:45 AM

The appreciated Axe-master by all the Mano-warriors : David Shankle is back!

The ex-guitarist for MANOWAR (between 1988 and 1994)  has returned, recruiting a polished new line-up and the result of this is quite the cracking slab of smoking US Metal release named “Still A Warrior” published under the moniker of DSG.

This Power Metal group has already recorded two promising albums in the 2000’s : The talented shredder is tearing it up all over this release and display his excellent technical/intensive shred‐guitar work, and it never gets too tedious or self-indulgent like sometimes it happens on this kind of album.

YngwieViking shared a privileged time with David Shankle for a discussion and interactive exchange about Heavy Metal, Guitars and Guitarists in general…

 Hi David, congratulations and big kudos !!! I really enjoyed the new DSG album, I think that “Still A Warrior” is one of the few good surprise among the flow of release, as a fan of US Metal and elitist music in general , It was for me a real blast…What will be your words to describe it?

It's my favorite album to date because it takes the melody of the Ashes to Ashes CD and the heaviness of Hellborn and blends those two together. My singer, Warren Halvarson, did a great job concepting the titles and writing the lyrics. This is also the best band I've worked with so far…all of the guys did a great job!. (Gabriel Anthony on Drums & Mike Streicher on Shred Bass) I'm very grateful to my label Pure Steel Records (Germany)!

 Can you first tell us about your background as a musician…Your past or actual involvement in other bands ! I want to know everything?

Well, I started lessons with my dad who was a guitar teacher at age 8. After two weeks, I quit…I picked it up again at 16 and realized that I had a gift and that's what I wanted to do. I attended & studied music at College of Dupage & Roosevelt university in Chicago. I earned a music degree in musical theory & classical guitar playing. I have also been teaching and have taught for over 20 years helping young aspiring musicians achieve their full potential. I am still teaching to this day online via Skype from my home studio and at various music schools.  In my younger years, I played in a couple of Chicago bands called Vengeance and Paradoxx. I then of course played with, toured and recorded Triumph of Steel with Manowar. I now have three solo albums with my band DSG: Ashes to Ashes, Hellborn & Still A Warrior. I have done numerous guest solos on several artists records including Michael Batio, T. D Clark, Tommy Vitale, Roger Staufelbach, just to name a few….

 For “Still A Warrior“, I stated that the album reveals beside the obvious technical skills, a modernized update of the style with a low edge courtesy of the use of a seven strings guitar …What is your feelings about this quote?

I think you are referring to it's inherent heaviness on several tracks…I really love the heaviness of the 7 string guitar. It gives me another way to devastate the fretboard!

 In the review, I also described the sound as loud on your face shredding guitars, outstanding and expanded solo spots, fast double pedal drumming and hyper high-pitched vocals in the noble American tradition of WILD DOGS/REIGN OF TERROR/IMPELLITTERI/CHASTAIN/APOCRYPHA & CO…Are you agree with that affiliation ?

I don't usually compare my music to other bands so I will have to take your word for it. Ha ha….

 Do you think that the technical level, the complexity of some song structures, the demanding melodies and the technical shredding parts, or the Thrashy colors in your music can be a block for some listeners, do you keep this aspect in mind while composing , or did you just get the inspiration flows

With DSG, I try to bridge the gap between just plain shredding and actual song writing and melody. I really like to come up with a hook and make a song out of it…I write what I feel but I have no illusion that some people prefer the song approach to the non stop shredfest that others prefer.

 Tell us about your time playing with MANOWAR?

It was an absolute blast! I had a lot of fun in many places around the world. We toured over 29 different countries but playing the Hammersmith Odeon in London & throughout  Europe & Asia was great!

 What is the main reason and the little stories behind the musical chairs turmoil in the DSG line up? I counted 6 singers for only 3 recorded albums…It’s an Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s kind of score

People have their own lives to live and sometimes people make a choice to leave the project. There have been some cases of irreconcilable differences but I don't want to throw anyone under the bus. I am very happy with the current lineup and feel it's my best one to date!

 David, where are you coming from , as far as guitar influences are concerned? Which are the new guitarists that impressed you lately?

Andrei Segovia, Uli Roth, Alan Holdsworth, Frank Gambaldi, Al Dimeola to name a few. Those are my influences and I listen to alot of other guitarists as well. There are also some great guest players on "Still A Warrior" including: Parker Lundgren from Queensryche, Michael Angelo Batio, Joe Stump, Roger Staffelbach, Brent Sullivan (Slaughter Xstroyes), T. D. Clark, Mike McCarron (Lydian Sea, Red Monday, The Soul Chasers on Drums), Drake Mefesta on Keyboards,  Tommy Vitaly.

 Please David, tell us about your thoughts and views with the new hype on 8 & 9 strings guitars?

I think extended string range is great, when it comes to shredding you have the extra low & high strings to express yourself. It's also opens doors for new music ideas.

 Are there new undergrounds bands or players that we have to recon with in the next years? Maybe some new acts that you want to produce by Yourself sooner or later?

I like Death Dealer, the new band with Ross the Boss is great….I also like Angels of Babylon (Rhino's band).I don't really have time right now to produce any other projects but won't rule it out in the future.

 What do you think of the state of the market today! What is your opinion concerning digital downloading legal and illicit?

As a musician, I hate to see people stealing music, as a fan I think it's great….a bit of a conundrum…..essentially, the genie is out of the bottle…..

 Tell us what we have to expect from your side in the future to come?

Recording more records including a solo record and world domination of course!

 What is the last CD you have bought?

13 from Black Sabbath and the new Queensryche Record

 Please let us know your guitar Instrumental album TOP 5?

Al Dimeola (Elegant Gypsy)
Joe Satriani (Surfing with the Alien)
Uli Jon Roth (Electric Son)
Jason Becker & Marty Friedman (Cacaphony, both records)

 Please let us know your All time TOP 10

Van Halen
Ozzy Osbourne
Judas Priest
Iron Maiden
Deep Purple
Black Sabbath

Now it's time for the Chinese portrait aka Le questionnaire de Bernard Pivot , which is inspired by Marcel Proust but This questionnaire is probably more familiar to English audiences as the one that journalist James Lipton asks at the end of  the TV show "Inside the Actors Studio."

What is your favorite word? Shred
What is your least favorite word?  Non Shread
What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? Good music
What turns you off?  Bad Music, ugly chicks
What’s your favorite curse word? Phuck
What’s sound or noise do you love? My raging amp
What’s sound or noise do you hate? Everyone elses amp
If not Yourself , who would like to be ? Myself
What’s the profession would you not like to do? Proctologist
Who would like to see on a new bank note ? My face
If you reincarnated as some other plant or animal , what would it be ? Wolf
If God exist , what you like to hear him say at the gates of Heaven ? Cmon in and plug in…

 Please can you in a few words sharing with us, your view concerning those famous guitar players?

Jimi Hendrix
Ritchie Blackmore
Tony Iommi
Angus Young
Ace Frehley
Eddie Van Halen
Michael Schenker
Randy Rhoads
George Lynch
Yngwie J. Malmsteen
Steve Vaï
The Edge
Reb Beach
Chris Impellitteri
Paul Gilbert
Ritchie Kotzen
Kirk Hammett
John Petrucci
Kurt Cobain
Guthrie Govan
Greg Howe
Michael Angelo Batio
Karl Logan
Zakk Wylde
Dimebag Darrell
Jeff Waters
Tosin Abasi
Tim Lord
Joe Stump
Jack Starr

They are all great players and deserve to be mentioned. They have all done great records and have great styles. I like them all….

 I want to thank you for your time and I wish you the best of luck with the new DSG album and on the musical path ahead.


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Edited 03 June 2023

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