Musical Encounters of a Third Kind*; An Intimate & Heartfelt Interview With Steven Shanks

August 6, 2009 at 2:54 AM (Interviews, Music, Concerts)

Steve Shanks

If you ever have the pleasure to meet Steven Shanks, a local aspiring musician here in Columbus Ohio, you will find he is an old soul, a very gifted musician who just wants to be heard. His lyrics grab your soul and melts your heart. When you listen, you can relate to his sentiment and you find yourself  feeling the same way or a memory comes flooding back. The strum of his guitar is a heart beat to our inspiration and every note creates a surge of emotion.

Steve loves comics, his crazy dog,  his girlfriend and wants to be a superhero. He has a heart of gold who is misunderstood most of the time.

When did you realize you wanted to be a musician?  How did you get started?

In 6th grade, me and a friend went and saw Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Later that year, I received a cheap Casio keyboard for Christmas and got excited about it and it went from there. The passion started there but I really didn’t start to play until I was in my twenties.

What has been your inspiration for your lyrics to date?

It started with heartbreak; you can only sing so much about it, loving someone who will never love me back. Over time, it became about telling the story.

With that being said, now that you have found love, do you feel that your songwriting style will change?

Yes, it has a little bit, but there are always crazy experiences and unfortunate circumstances. It is hard to get approval for “happy” songs. To be honest, I don’t think that anyone wants to hear how happy you are.

You play acoustically, but do you ever see yourself playing with a band again?

NO (Steve laughs after this big no) because I have played with bands before and feel that creativity is stifled and I can’t find anyone that I would like to play with. I don’t like to play with others. (More laughter)

What are your musical influences?

A long time it used to be U2 and there are also ties that go into Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure; the idea that I can play music and change the world, but that seems absurd right now. Damien Rice is a big influence; I’ve drawn a lot of comparisons to him. Also other influences are Pete Yorn, Travis, The Jayhawks and The Frames. Le Miserables the musical has been important. The specific song in Les Miserables called “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” has a definite story being told and told passionately. I think that song changed my delivery of my lyrics. Why do it (make & play music) if you are not passionate about it?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Musically, I don’t see anything changing for me; there has been amazing let downs because it doesn’t feel like it’s going to go anywhere. I had my chance to talk to people in the industry. I’ve played out a lot locally and out of state but I just don’t feel like anyone is interested or listening honestly. Is it because of only one guy with his guitar; how exciting can that be?

What are you working on now? Will we be expecting some sort of EP?

I am constantly learning more about my craft and polishing old songs, but I’m not playing out. Something is always being written, but I’m not working on much at this time.

No, every recording effort I have gone into has fallen through every single damn time; I just record on my own in my bedroom.  It’s hard to have someone pay attention. I’ve had people cry in the middle of my sets; let’s just say I increase the bars sales because I depress the shit out of people.

How have you been promoting yourself?

You have helped- thanks Misty! (And then he mentions my tan and toe ring; typical Steve, ha!) I have a Myspace Music page.

I do want to mention that my friend T.J. and I are setting a quest for Comic Con Website- stay tuned for that!

How do you handle and deal with the frustration of trying to get your music out there?

There is a dream that every musician has; you can quit your job, tour, play, write and if you are not careful, it can be about the money. If things repeatedly fail, there is major frustration. Essentially, each band is like a small business; they invest time, money and their lives. You live very transparently by putting your heart out there in a song and when nothing comes of it, there is a massive amount of discouragement. The best thing you can do is take time off and get away and remember why you did it because you love it.

Where can we see you play?  Do you have a schedule that you can give us?

There is no schedule. I have played open mic nights mostly at the Treehouse; no one is booking me yet.

You are an inspiration Steve; you have never given up on your dream, do you have any advice for other musicians?

Do it because you love it. If you do it for any other reason, whether if it’s money or fame, etc, you will find yourself disappointed. If you do it because it is something you enjoy, you won’t have a problem.

Is there anything else you want to share?

I get carried away on a project and forget about time (Being abducted my little aliens in my mind*) and upon my eventual return to reality, I have no clue how much time has passed.

I won’t stop a creative spirit stride; I just keep going. Most of my relationships have failed due to my creative addiction.Thank God for my girlfriend to be very understanding!

If I had a super power, the world would make sense to me. I would end up being more like Hal Jordan (The Green Lantern)

He just wants to sing for you.

Please visit Steve’s music page here:

Follow him on Twitter!



  1. Derek Sheldon said,

    Um wow quite a sad article but in a very different light..very strange cant put my finger on it. I was very good though. He has a great timber 2 his surprised as humble as he is!

  2. Carey said,

    That was a very interesting article! Lol it should be in a magazine! I agree that its y weird and sd. I love how he keeps on doing what he loves!
    As always good job Misty!
    ❤ 😉

  3. Tom Barnes said,

    Another good interview! Excellent job getting us to know Steve. I really like him without ever meeting him, just from your interview and his video. He seems so genuine and earnest about his music, I really feel for him.Anyone that passionate and talented deserves some recognition. Great job, Misty!

  4. randomshelly said,

    I think that was a great article – He seems to be very passionate about his music and you brought that across… I don’t agree with the sad comments because he said he was happy – but people don’t want to hear how happy he is – so he focuses on the weird, sad, off things that happen – and write his songs from that!!

    Good job again!

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