was born a March 21th in Memphis, Tennessee, the so-called Cradle of Rock n' Roll which despite its many memes actually did end up giving birth to a titan artist post-Elvis, at least in what respects pure guitar playing which is somewhat of an irony taking into account guitar was at the end of the day actually his second instrument.
His rise to his speed-based shenanigans seems to be that he seemed to be born with hyperactivity and
some form of nervous system problem which rendered his fingers to react or seem to move faster than usual, which coupled with a refined alternate picking gave way to absurd bpm counts which were not heard of in the 70's, something he could also replicate with the keys.
He played piano from early age to accompany his sisters, later he fondled the guitar but didn't take it seriously until he was 12, at 14 he was already the main guitar player for a relatively known band in the US Black Oak Arkansas
although for touring days only. But around these dates he would also deal with his eventual demise, psoriasis and what's worse the arthritic kind of it, usually attributed/mentioned on par with his nervous system characteristics. Some speculate he didn't often play at full speed due to this which is hilarious to think in some way; in the first webm we can see a pretty fast but still primitive or "simple" shredding, still by 1979 this was years before some others did in the mainstream and relatively clean too (an evolution to the harsh shredding of McLaughlin or Di Meola)
After touring he decided to study music theory to have more solid bases, along the way he recorded some demos and stuff (heard here: >>1110
) which rendered him somewhat of an urban legend in the heavy metal circles of the U.S. and even Europe as nobody or very few had heard or seen his work in person (despite always gigging country and jazz in Memphis bars). At least according to Michael Angelo Batio it seemed Shawn was known as the Van Halen Killer but nobody knew why he didn't have a record behind him or somewhat, he just was that guy who released demos and showed the mainstream were still kids or that was until the likes of Yngwie Malmsteem or Jason Becker appeared... yet his fame persisted.
Meanwhile in the mid to late 80's our man here, despite his underground notoriety, was chilling around reading books and doing wedding gigs along with bar plays, in the second webm we can see a now silly trope of paid bands overplaying the hell out of ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man
, and overplaying he did, his usual characteristic when first heard by many people yet here it is also more refined than before.
Also to note the guy being a fat scrub now, this usually attributed to his love for food but also his psoriasis treatment based on hydrocortisone which makes you swell in size, focused on the joints.