MICHAEL MCDOWELL (OWNER, SHREDGUY RECORDS), MARCH 2018

** Tell us about the birth of ShredGuy Records

I started Shredguy Records in 2008 with the reissuing of an album that a local Columbus, Ohio band put out in the 90's. Me and the guitar player of the band, Rob Johnson, had it remastered,...got an award winning artist to do the album cover and I did a short print run of cds..Then I reissued some of Rob's music with an album called Shredworx...its a compilation of his best tracks from the 90's..remastered...new artwork.. Again it was a short print run...Both cds are out of print, but you can find copies on amazon or ebay. It was a learning experience. I didn't know anything...just had a drive to get some good shred guitar music out there.

The label didnt really take off until February 2009 when guitarist Tracy G (ex Dio) agreed to do a song with drummer Ray Luzier (Korn, David Lee Roth band, Toby Knapp) for a compilation album I was doing. Having two well-known names like that gave my label instant credibility. The album which was called Shredding Across The World...Volume Two...really took off, and magazines, webzines, blogs, etc started to take notice and review the music I was putting out. Then the label started getting good distro, became an LLC, trademarked, and basically was becoming as real as a label as you can be these days. A great lead singer and friend of mine Joey C Jones (Sweet Savage) schooled me on the business...and I was on my way. I was getting demos from players all over the world....known players and unknown players...and looking for the best in shred. I settled on three unique players for the first three solo guitar releases of new music on the label, and those three I dubbed the Trinity Of Shred....Adrian English, Toby Knapp, and Mike Abdow.

** Why a label devoted to Shred?

I am huge fan of shred guitar music. When I heard Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force for the first time...it really changed everything for me. The genre really took off back then (the 80's) and I always wanted to be a part of it. So many great players out there, I just wanted to create an avenue for the guitarists to get their music out there and help the genre grow.

** Why is ShredGuy Records one of music's most interesting labels?

I think the contact I have with fans and artists make the label interesting. I have the open door policy...you can always contact me with questions or comments. I dont mind all the contacts I have on social media. Someone who owns another label once derided the label as just a Myspace label back in the day when Myspace was big. But I didn't mind being called that, because the music was reaching people. And that's whats important...whether you reach them through social media, magazines or music stores.

** I listened to most of the artists on the label and they are all amazing! Talk to me about the artists on ShredGuy Records.

I have added some more great players to the label. Lars Lind from Norway is an exceptional melodic player. His album Soul Kicker has done really well...including getting some radio play on Metal Messiah Radio and RBX radio. Have a new instrumental album coming this fall...and a vocal project release More Than I Need with Jan Le Brandt on vocals. Great singer from Norway, who is also in a band called Big City.

The other guy I want to mention is Sean Baker. You want a shred guitar cd?..One that represents Shredguy the best??..Pick up his cd Game On!! And Sean has a band project called Clownhammer. Its heavy, brutal...yet melodic...great catchy songs. It's been a fun project...those into straight ahead metal should check it out. Its gotten a lot of radio play, and seems to be a favorite with the fans.
And we are going to be working with our first female guitarist Phoenix Van Der Weyden from Brazil. Great instructor of guitar who has helped me with my playing. Cd release coming later this year.

** This is great! The ShredGuy Series Guitar? Talk about this. What makes it stand out? You said it's for "aspiring shred guitar players" Why did you choose Rick Hanes Guitars to make it?

This is a great quality guitar for a great price. Hoping to get some reviews of the product. Everyone who has played one, loves it! For the aspiring shredder because we didn't want the struggling musician have to break the bank in buying a quality guitar, so its at an affordable price. Rick Hanes Guitars out of Indonesia makes fine guitars....anyone who has played one agrees. With the label and the artists being popular in Indonesia it just made sense to have the partnership.

** Why did you want to come out with a signature guitar?

The label has a pretty strong name when it comes to quality of music. So we thought a guitar with the same quality would be a great idea. We are about GUITAR!

** Where can people go to find out more about the artists and cd's they can buy on ShredGuy Records ?

Check out www.shredguyrecords.storenvy.com and www.shredguyrecords.bigcartel.com

** For those aspiring guitarists, what do you look for in a future "ShredGuy" artist? 

The question is humbling because there are so many great guitar players out there. And its always humbling that they want to be part of the label. I would say your technique has to be stellar, but also have a unique and distinct sound. We don't need any more Yngwie clones. Also be willing to work, promote, play live, and continually create new music and not rest on your laurels. And be honest and supportive of other players.

** What gave you the idea to put together the Shredding Across the World compilation Cd's?

I thought it would be a good idea to have a cd with different styles of shred from players all over the world. It would serve as a launching pad for some solo releases for those tracks that people really liked.

** How many releases from ShredGuy Records to date?

33!! Including a new release from Toby Knapp called Archives Of Magick...Volume Three.

** What is going on with ShredGuy Records right at this moment and for the rest of 2018?

Well, I mentioned what Lars Lind is doing this year...he will also be playing live gigs..
We just released a single at NAMM in January by Shadow Eden featuring David Mercado. The single is called Brooklyn 1978.
Shadow Eden is playing live gigs, including a Guitarmageddon tour that features Shadow Eden, Joe Stump, and Desiree Bassett. That tour will be in the fall...and in the northeast area of the U.S.
And let me mention Phoenix Van Der Weyden again. Excited about working with her. Check her out on youtube...original songs and some covers.

And finally I am still working on a Europe Tribute...the John Norum era...It wont be on Shredguy, but it is something I am playing on. So a very busy busy year. Which is good!

Thank you Michael for this very interesting interview! I wish you and ShredGuy much future success!!

Glad catching up with you Heather on all things SHREDGUY! SHRED IS NOT DEAD!!