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Extreme Guitars Ax Facts & Stats interview with guitarist Shawn Phillips

By Dave B. Roberts (Photo courtesy
Check out featured in the forthcoming Ax Facts & Stats Volume 2 book due for release in the near future

My name:
Shawn Phillips.

Current job is:
Professional musician.

My hometown:
Fort Worth TX.

Current album or project is:
“Continuance”, my 26th Album.

Former bands:
Trio of Paul Buckmaster, J. Peter Robinson and myself. Members of an British band named Quatermass. I cannot name any others, as they were bands that were assembled for recordings in the studio, but they included Eric Clapton, Alphonso Johnson, all members of a band called Traffic and too many known names to list here. I currently play with a 4 piece band called The NexXx when I tour in the Province of Quebec.

My guitar influences growing up were:
I began playing at 6 y/o, so initially none. Later, during my teen years, the Blues guys and Rock and Roll in Texas, later, guitarists like Segovia, Manitas Di Plata, anyone who excelled in proficiency on the instrument.

The guitars I use are:
Gibson Dove Custom, / Fender Stratocaster / Custom built double neck Les Paul Custom combined with Fender Stratocaster / Godin 12 String / 2 Godin Multiac nylon string / Godin Multiac steel string / Godin LGX-SA Multiac / 6 string Epiphone acoustic / 6 string Washburn acoustic / Gibson double neck 6 string/12 string / Godin Shifter 5 Bass.

The strings and tuning I use are: Strings:
Exclusively D’Addario 6 string EXP, extra light gauge/12 string light gauge/ Bass. Too many tunings to list here, many custom created for particular songs.

Current rig setup consists of:
4 Channel input for above listed instruments, out to a Digitech RP 1000, out to a Line 6 JM4 Looper, out to Mackie PROFX 12 Channel mixer, which includes input from a Roland GR 20 triggered by all Godin guitars. Guitars and Bass are recorded in layers in time with the Drum wave forms of actual session drummers built in to the line 6 JM4 Looper. All this, out to house.

The greatest invention for guitars is
The ability to trigger other instruments and samples by way of guitar synthesis.

My normal songwriting process consists of:
I have 4 criteria with which I write. They are……1. anger, 2. wonder and 3. technique. Anger is, you look at the world around you and if you're satisfied, you're probably certifiable. Wonder, is to be attentive to every drop of rain on every unfolding bud and blade of grass and technique, is keeping a balance between the anger and the wonder. I cogitate on a subject or experience I've had, then I have to wait until it just channels through, there is no other explanation. I never write from imagination. 4. Once I have written the 1st line to a song, I do not leave the room until I have written the last line.

Favorite all-time guitar solo from our band:
Not possible. They differ every time we play.

Favorite all-time guitar solo from another artist:
Dumb question, but anything by John McLaughlin or Al Di Meola ever done would have to rank among the top.

Favorite all-time song (any artist) is:
Silly question, but if I had to pick a song, I thought “Purple Rain” by Prince was kick ass.

Favorite song by our band:
"Man With A Gun".

Favorite song to perform in front of a live audience:
"Man With A Gun".

My Career highlight thus far is:
The Isle Of Wight in the 70's. I wasn't even supposed to play. I knew a couple people and had gotten backstage and was just hanging out with friends, so stoned I could hardly walk. Someone had cancelled and they asked me if I could do a 45 minute set. I said sure.......I did and got a double standing ovation from 657,000 people. Kinda hard to forget an experience like that.

My most embarrassing moment on stage:
Several times of having to ask the audience what the lyrics were.

Other than my guitar and amps, the one piece of my gear that I cannot live without is:
My Dunlop 73 gauge triangular flat picks!

The first song I ever mastered on guitar:

My first guitar was:
An old Stella guitar bought by my Father.

The first time I ever heard our band on the radio was:
Can’t remember. Driving somewhere in Los Angeles I think.

If I am only sure of one thing in life, It's:

The one ritual I always perform prior to going on stage is:
Warming up my hands so I have the dexterity I’ll need.

The exact moment I knew I would pursue a career in music was:
I haven’t the faintest idea. It all just evolved.

The one thing most fans don't know about me is:
That I’m not really rich and famous.

The best advice I could give beginning guitarists:
DO NOT GET STUCK INTO ONE GENRE OF MUSIC!!! Listen to every musical idiom that exists. Search out the most advanced work of pioneering composers. Take all that knowledge and absorb it like a sponge, then incorporate what you have learned into whatever you are trying to create.

Music/Band(s) I'm listening to right now:

My 3 all-time favorite albums:
Anything by Weather Report or John McLaughlin or those of that proficiency.

Best gig:
All gigs.

Favorite junk food:
European Tuc Crackers!

My biggest pet peeve:
Stupidity and arrogance.

The word or catch phrase I say too much is:
"Fuck that!!!"

The hardest part of my job:
Loading in and out and driving.

What I like to do in my "off" time:
Build Lego Technics. Just built the “Bucket Excavator”.

The first thing I do when I come home from touring is:
Hug my wife and son.

Previous or first day job:
Sold Kirby vacuum cleaners, repaired swamp coolers, drove a truck delivering glasses for optometrists, worked for Otis Elevators.

Right after this interview I'm going to:
Have dinner.

I couldn't imagine being on the road without:

If I wasn't doing the musician thing, I could really see myself working as:

Favorite movie:
So far…….Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049.

My mission in life:
Start a revolution that will destroy the economic systems put in place by people like the Rothchilds and the Rockefellers and eliminate the elitist regimes that for centuries have controlled the ebb and flow of the worlds economies. With the power of the human brain, we have achieved extraordinary advances in every field of human endeavor in just the last 100 years, except the worlds economies. To say that with that brain power we cannot come up with an economic system that is equitable for the species on this planet, is just complete BULLSHIT!!!

My guilty pleasure band or artist:
Miles Davis / Billy Holiday.

My next goal is:
Compose lyric and music for another CD.

The greatest contribution guitars/music have brought into my life is:

Check out our Website at:

The one musician I would love to work with that I have not yet had the chance would be:
Yo Yo Ma.

If I could have three wishes, they would be:
Have a national hit record, send my son to University and pay off our house.

When it's all said and done, I want the world to remember me for:
The beauty I tried to bring into it, trying to tell people there is always joy within themselves and that they experience as much Health, Love and Clarity as they can in their lifespans.


Copyright 2018 Dave Roberts & &

Copyright 2018 Dave B. Roberts & is the web home of articles and interviews written by Dave Roberts. All Dave Roberts interviews & articles are available for use or FREE reprint ONLY by Permission and proper credits. Permission can be obtained by contacting All materials are Copyright 1999-2018 Dave Roberts and Ent., All Rights Reserved.


This interview will appear in the forthcoming Ax Facts & Stats vol. 2 book, but in the meantime, be sure to check out OTHER exclusive Ax Facts & Stats interviews in's Ax Facts & Stats, Vol. 1 on sale now at, and many other fine online book retailers!

This large format 8.5 by 11 inch paperback Features 97 of's celebrated Ax Facts & Stats interviews; including tons of classics from our extensive archive spanning the last 10 years as well as dozens of BRAND NEW never seen interviews! Interviews include guitarists from 3 Doors Down, Anvil, Foghat, Puddle of Mudd, Hall & Oates, Evans Blue, The Great Kat, Finger Eleven, Staind, Train, Gwar, Halestorm, Hinder, Judas Priest, Gary Hoey, Night Ranger, Shinedown, Alabama, Janis Ian, O.A.R., Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Matchbox Twenty, Sick Puppies, Styx, Stone Sour, Tantric, Candlebox, Sevendust, Stryper, Derek Trucks, Thriving Ivory, Seven Mary Three, Chicago, Cracker and many others! A portion of proceeds from every book sold is being donated to the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund. Check out the book's official website at for complete lineup

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