Interview with The Demon Shredder and Former Manowar Guitarist David Shankle and Feanor founder Gustavo Acosta

David Shankle - Signature Grossman Guitars DS6 & DS7 Shred Machines

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, David and Gustavo! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it is greatly appreciated.
CV: Your newest project is a band called Feanor, out of South America.  How did you come to connect with the band; what drew you to work with them?
David Shankle: Well, I was contacted by Gus and asking me to do a couple of guests solos on their new album they were working on entitled We Are Heavy Metal; he had told me Ross was involved, Tony Martin who used to sing with Black Sabbath and the drummer formerly of the band Riot, Frank Gilchriest. I heard their music… I liked it and thought it was a good opportunity to show the world that I certainly can deliver the true Metal that I know fans are expecting from me.
CV: How would you describe Feanor's music as compared to previous projects like DSG, Devil Land or Manowar…any similarities?
DS: FEANOR music takes you back more to my Manowar days when I wrote and composed with Joey the Triumph of Steel, there's no messing around… it's true Metal straight from the gut, from the heart… its might, its power and the fans love it and so do I. Fans waited for a long time to hear what I had to say musically after that record and now the time has come to deliver.

DSG is more of a progressive neoclassical power Metal band with supreme high-octane demonic speed passages and solos, and explores that virtuosic vein.

Devil Land is more of an old-school Pantera meets David Shankle, super shred guitar playing completely different musical styles going on there… they're all great.

FEANOR band 2019

CV: Feanor's new album, "Return of the Metal King," is due to release in 2019.  What can you tell fans about what they can expect to hear with the new record?
DS: This album took us almost 2 years to complete, professional vocal choir ensemble with 20 singers, real violins, real drums, no electronic quantized or written drums, the real deal… big production. Our singer SVEN from Germany recorded his part in a top European studio. We have new video clips in super high definition and a photo session in a super professional studio…the sort of production fans are expecting from a supreme perfectionist like me. I had a lot of music and ideas on my system and I know for a fact that fans were eagerly expecting to hear the continuation of The Triumph Of Steel era…, now I will be able to finally satisfy those requests with this new and massive production.

CV: Gus, this question is for you: what's it like having David Shankle in Feanor?  Has working with him been what you expected?
GA: Hi my friend! Well, actually our first project together was back in 2015 for our former WE ARE HEAVY METAL album.  Dave did solos in 2 songs for that record (In the Darkness and Water Gardens). And from the very beginning I´ve had the feeling that we complement to each other just perfect. He is a super talented musician and both his and my ideas were bounded magically. For me, this is a tremendous honor and privilege to work with the creator of some of the most iconic Manowar songs from an album beloved by everyone. Now we have a new album on the horizon, we’ve been working on this material on a daily basis for the last year and we are certainly very, very happy with the results so far.

CV: Gus, has Dave's addition to Feanor taken the band on a new musical course?
GA: Actually not quite, here in South America a lot of fans identify us as the Latin America Manowar, so as you can imagine, having an Ex-Manowar in our line-up does nothing but strengthen our musical line. Not to mention that our singer SVEN comes from a very similar epic root. Therefore all of us together makes a whole lot of sense. Having a band member of his musical caliber is of course very exiting for all of us.

CV: Gus, how have Feanor’s fans reacted to David’s joining the band?
GA: Our fans know that we deliver true epic metal, and there are actually quite few true exponents of this style in the world. David is a living legend and of course there is a big difference between a simple collaboration or a single project and a whole album being composed with him as a member. But after 2 sold out South American tours, they know 100% that we are really serious in our objective to create bombastic music and our amalgam as a band to seek for mightiness is strong with him by our side.

CV: Gus, any chance fans can expect to see some US dates for Feanor in 2019?
GA: For sure! We’re actually making arrangements for a massive EUROPE/US tour. It will be tremendous, but it has to be properly prepared and organized to meet our fans demands.

CV: David, you are known world-wide as part of the Metal guitar shedder elite.  However, you have a background in both jazz and classical style guitar.  How do you find that these particular genres and skill sets have gifted you more of a well versed guitar playing style?
DS: It's about being well-rounded… versatile and the more that you learn and you study, the more doors that open up for you. The more opportunities in musical education and understanding of what you're playing and how harmonies, melody, phrasings work… it just makes you more well-rounded and gives you more power of creativity to put all of those tools to the best that you can as a writer and composer… for any style of music.

CV: On top of being a Metal guitarist and composer, you are also a world class guitar instructor.  How did you come to teach guitar; was it something you always wanted to do?
DS: My father was a music teacher. He got me started playing at a very young age, introducing me into a music show very early. I was learning to read music, and being exposed to that led me to be involved in learning and teaching. As I grew into and further developed my skills, teaching was something that I wanted to do; to share what I learned with other musicians. As time went on, I went to a junior college: College of DuPage, known as COD. Then I made my way into Manowar… from there I was touring the world and then after leaving Manowar, I transferred my credits over to Roosevelt University in Chicago and graduated with a Bachelor's of Music in Jazz and Classical Guitar Music Theory. Now I've taken that and became an independent teacher at music schools offering private lessons as well as online and continue to do that helping others.

CV: What do you feel sets your particular teaching style apart from the other guitar instruction programs available today?.
DS: Well the first thing about being a good teacher is knowing how to help your student reach their goals quickly, correctly and diligently… and making them happy and not overloading them… so they're learning what they want and they keep coming back for more; satisfying their needs every step along the way and introducing new things to them so they always have something to look forward to. As well as always having new goals to reach. Everybody has their own way of doing it… what I do works for me.

CV: What has been the greatest highlight for you as a guitar instructor? Has there been a student or two who has carried the torch on past your expectations?
DS: Yes, many of my students have grown into being wonderful shred guitar players and have gone off to GIT in California… and a few have played in some successful bands. One of my greatest achievements is, one of my students, Jake Dreyer, who plays in Winter Fall… excellent shred guitarist Jake was a student of mine for many, many years. I'm proud of him and several others. Another one of my students is at Berkley School of Music now. It's always good to see students continue on as they get older and develop into their own.

CV: What would you tell someone who was just starting out playing guitar? What could they do from the very beginning that would give them a leg up and almost guarantee playing success?
DS: Well first of all, the first thing I would tell a student is that they need to find the best guitar player in their hometown; take some lessons from him and spread themselves around and discover…dip their hand into as many different styles of playing as they can and get a piece of every part of the pie that you can. Watch other guitar players, instructional DVDs, check out stuff on YouTube… but go to school; study music and study with some real teachers. All of that is beneficial and helpful to developing your style and finding the direction you really want to go. Simply put, what you put into it is what you get out of it. Having a great teacher definitely helps start you on the right path and helps you reach your right goals very quickly.

CV: Your connection with Manowar has provided you with both a legacy and a pedigree within the Heavy Metal genre fandom. From platinum selling albums, to performing worldwide to thousands of fans, your musical voice has been heard. Do you look back at that time with Manowar with fond memories?
DS: I have wonderful memories of my time in Manowar. When we met… got to know each other and they hired me in the band to replace Ross the Boss…that changed my life and gave the world of Heavy Metal a chance to see me play. My nickname back then was “The Death Dealer” and after leaving Manowar and doing DSG, the David Shankle Group, my fans nickname me “The Shred Demon.” So if that's how it'll be, that's wonderful. I will always enjoy the time and the memories that I had in Manowar. I thank them for that because they put me on the map and they will always be brothers of Metals… things change, always do… but nothing but respect.

CV: Will you be joining Manowar for any shows on their Final Battle Tour?
DS: I have received literally thousands of messages asking me for that… but no. I do not see that happening and there's been no contact on any of that at all.  Good luck to whoever they get and whatever they do… I have long moved on as Ross has. I am deeply involved and busy finishing our new album with FEANOR.

CV: Has Heavy Metal splintered into too many sub-genres in your opinion?
DS: Music is universal and vast; it is there to supply the needs of the new fans and listeners. I have no problems with that… music is art and culture, and on the contrary, I find it highly beneficial for the society to have variety of styles and performers.

CV: Along with the new Feanor set to release this year, what else can fans look forward to seeing from you in the near future?
DS: I am working on my very first ever instrumental solo record. I have always wanted to do one to show people that I am a master of many different styles and not just a one-trick pony. Everything from Progressive Power Metal to super shred Neoclassical to Classical guitar playing along with some Jazz and hot Country licks… all of this will be on my instrumental record entitled Unleash the Dragon.

CV: Thank you again Dave and Gus for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It has been an honor. I wish you all the best and continued success.
DS: Thank you very much my friend and be on the lookout for the new FEANOR record in 2019 as well as a tour and video…feel free to contact us!
Check out David, Gus and Feanor at:

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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