Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Interview w/ Shawn Drover of Megadeth

When it comes to a band like Megadeth- do we even need any introductions or backstories on the band? Usually, I would do just- but after nearly 30 years, Megadeth is one of the forefathers of heavy metal and continue to solider on. But within the past few years, the band is experiencing a bit of a renaissance over the past 5 years or so.

With Dave Mustaine’s nerve damage injury and the departure of bassist David Ellefson in 2001 and 2002, there was a chance the band may fade away. But the band’s past few albums have shown that there’s still fire in the band, and with Ellefson’s return in 2009, Megadeth seemed like a band reformed.

This year has seen the band continue on the massive “Big Four” stadium tour with Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, and will see another of those dates take place in New York in September. In between those dates, the band is currently on the main stage of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival.
Before their set at DTE Energy Music Theater, I spoke with drummer Shawn Drover about the band’s next album, “Thirteen” (due out in November) and their experience on the Big Four tour.
Here’s my interview with Shawn:

AM: What’s the status of the new album?
SD: We are done and just got the master from our producer last night. We were just listening to it this morning and we’re really pleased on how it turned out and really excited for everyone to hear it.

AM: How did Johnny K approach the band versus past producers?
SD: Well, the only producer I worked with before then was Andy Snead (who produced “Endgame”), who’s a real good friend of mine. Overall, his method on how to do things wasn’t really that much different. He was on par, going in there and listening to the plethora of riffs. Johnny would go in and pick and choose the right parts from all of the riffs. Sonically, the music sounds a little bit differently than what Andy did, but you never want two albums, or two songs to sound the exact same.

AM: How did Dave Ellefson’s return help the band?
SD: Him and Dave (Mustaine) almost can read each other’s mind and know what each other is thinking at this point. I think that was the main difference between this and “Endgame”. He just approaches things differently and Dave (Mustaine) know what he wants and Ellefson can read it and handle it differently than former bassists. But it was exciting to watch the two of them together and we hope the fans dig it.

AM: Is there any sort of new gear that you’re working with?
SD: You always want to have new gear to work with, whether its drums, or a bass guitar or what have you. A company had sent a whole bunch of gear to us, such as a 18 gear snare drum that sounded great on some songs, and not so great on others. But on a lot of the songs, it was like “holy crap, that’s amazing!” (laughs). We ended up recording the second half of the record with that snare, and it may have sounded a lot different if we didn’t use that.

AM: How have you enjoyed the “Big Four” dates been for you?
SD: It’s been great. It’s something that metal fans have wanted for 25 years. It’s cool that we finally started to do that and the camaraderie has been amazing. Everyone has been happy and it’s funny because metal guys are supposed to look grim and dark, but it’s hard to do that when you have a big grin or smile on your face while taking part in this. Everything has been executed so well and looking forward to the show at Yankee Stadium in September.

AM: There are rumors that Gigantour will be coming back in 2012- any chance of the band doing the “Countdown to Extinction” album in it’s entirety?
SD: Gigantour is still being discussed and it will be up to Dave (Mustaine) in the end if it happens or not, but it might. However, I don’t think we want to start going down the nostalgia trip if we start doing an entire album again every time we have a 20th year anniversary of an album. I mean, you’ll start doing the 20th anniversary of “Cryptic Writings” or “Risk”, and that’s not something we want to do- or we could have done “Peace Sells” this year for it’s 25th anniversary- so it’s something we don’t want to always do. It was cool to do “Rust in Peace” for the 20th anniversary, but I don’t think we’re dying to do something like that again.

Megadeth continues on the Rockstar Mayhem Festival through August 14th. Megadeth’s next album, “Thirteen” is due out November 1st. Additional tour dates and band info can be found at www.megadeth.com.

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