Metality UAE got the chance to interview Shawn Drover, drummer for Megadeth ahead of their gig here in Dubai at Gulf Bike Week.
We asked him some of the questions you guys sent into us, as well as some of our own – check it out!
Which is your favourite Megadeth album?
Peace Sells But Whose Buying – hands down, definitely.
Which is your favourite Megadeth song to play?
Oh boy, that’s a little tougher, there is so many I swear there are so many songs. If I had to pick one, Holy Wars is a lot of fun to play. I get enjoyment from a lot of different songs for different reasons in Megadeth. Symphony of Destruction which is a very straight forward kind of thing, but I really get a lot of enjoyment playing that and keeping the pace of the song on an even keel and that is a challenge in itself, it is not easy to just do that. If I had to pick I would say Holy Wars would be my favourite to play.
How does it feel to be a heavy metal granddaddy?
He is two, he was born on my Birthday may 5th and I don’t know how many heavy metal grandfathers there are but I am certainly proud to be one of them and that kid is the joy of my life, I can’t express how much he means to me apart from my wife and kids of course. That kid means everything to me and we have a fantastic relationship and when I am at home I see him all the time. I saw him an hour ago. It is a thrill to be around him. It may not be the most metal thing to say but I don’t care. He is a great kid.
What do you think of the newer genres of metal is it something you would ever dabble in?
If you are referring more to the insane speedy kind of stuff, that plays a big part of what I would say is the newer sub-genres of metal. There are a lot of bands they play so incredibly fast, to be perfectly honest I can’t play that fast, nor do I want to. I would have to spend a year of my life to start over and try to adapt to the insanity of how fast a lot of these guys are. It would never apply to Megadeth anyway, so I will leave it up to the masters of that craft. There are so many great drummers in that genres or music and I admire all of them, but that is just not more me. I would rather listen to it and enjoy what it is than try to obsess for a year of my life and learn it and never put it on a Megadeth song.
When you record in the studio do you prefer to use acoustic or electric drums?
Always acoustic, I don’t think I have done anything with electric drums. Hmmm I have to think about that, no I have never hit an electric drum in a recording studio. I would certainly be open to doing it, but I am an old school kind of guy, to me heavy metal, that is synonymous with an acoustic kit. I could not ever see myself playing an electric kit at a Megadeth concert, but I would be open to experimentation if it called for it.
What sort of warm ups do you do before a show?
What we do, we are kind of a routine band, we do the same thing at every show, we will take 30 minutes at every show and I do have an electric kit backstage as it is such a quiet thing and you can control the volume. We will run through a series of songs back stage to get lose and then a big part of it for me is stretching and drinking a ton of water because as a drummer if you cramp on stage, if you get leg or arm cramps that is a huge problem and I do everything I can to avoid that.
How do you prepare yourself mentally for album tracking?
I don’t really have to do anything to get in the mood because being part of the creative process of writing and performing new material that is very exciting for me and I really like being in a studio environment and creating new music. It is very exciting for me.
I don’t really kind of do any mental preparations, I just dive into the whole creative process and it really is a lot of fun and I never really have any problems in the studio getting in the right headspace. Once we are laying down a track we will take five or six swipes at it anyway, I will probably run through five or six different takes of the same tracks and then we will go back and listen to them all and then pick what track we think is best. It is not like when the red light goes on it is like oh my god we have one chance. We have several, we have as much time as we want to take to be creative and execute the tracks. It is a very positive experience for me to do that. I enjoy it.
What kind of advice could you offer to aspiring drummers in the UAE bands who want to be famous and get outside the UAE?
Honestly the state of the music industry is so bad with internet piracy. Overall I would say record sales across the board on the planet and down 50-60% compared to 15 years ago before the whole Napster thing started. That makes it difficult for any new band to be successful because record companies ultimately look at the sales.
Less companies want to take a chance on a new band because they are scared of financial failure. Right off the bat for young bands to be famous and successful was when I started, not to put a negative spin, that is just a dose of reality for aspiring musicians. But also with that said they should also play as much as you can live, let people see you, let people hear you, just making a rough demo and putting it on your website is not enough as everybody is doing that anyway.
My advice to any young or aspiring drummer or musician is get out there and play anywhere you can play so people can see you and hear you and hopefully become a fan of your band and hopefully it will take off from there.
To find our more about Gulf Bike Week, and for ticketing information please click here.