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Reflecting On A Decade: Gnarly Charlie's Interview With Shawn Drover Of MEGADETH

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Thursday, January 30, 2014 @ 4:34 PM

"It was like cramming for the ultimate exam in school...doing it in front of 5,000 people."

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Photos Credits To Myriam Santos

It has been nearly 10 years since ex-EIDOLON drummer Shawn Drover joined MEGADETH, replacing longtime member Nick Menza. The System Has Failed album had just been released, giving Drover less than a week to rehearse with the band before touring would begin. It would seem like a trial-by-fire situation for any musician to step into, yet Drover pulled it off. Four studio albums and hundreds of shows later, he's still ensconced behind that massive drum kit, throwing down the thunder for one of the most venerated bands in the metal world.

"I didn't have time to think about it," Drover recollects, "because I only had six days from the moment I was asked to join the band 'til the day we walked on stage, so there really wasn't a lot of time to freak out or think about this or that. It was jumping literally on the plane, getting to Arizona and jumping right into rehearsals. I knew all the old stuff, but a record came out called The System Has Failed at the time, and I hadn't even heard a note from it. So the trick was to learn the songs that I didn't know and that's what I focused on. Going over 'Holy Wars' or 'Peace Sells' or 'Symphony of Destruction' , I knew those songs."

"Looking back, I wouldn't want it any other way. Just to jump into the fire, so to speak, put your nose to the grindstone and have at it. It turned out really well." While nepotism might have been a factor in being considered for the job, it was Drover's solid drumming and tireless work ethic that has given him tenure. "My brother [Glen Drover] had the gig as the guitar player at the time. He had the gig for pretty much about a month before I was even asked. So I was in communication with him pretty much every day. It was great to hear what was going on. I was just so excited about my brother being in MEGADETH. I never dreamed that lightning would strike twice in our family. So it was really cool the way it worked out."

The Rust in Peace 20th Anniversary Tour shows in 2010 were a dream come true for MEGADETH fans who attended, and a career high for Drover.

"That tour was a real blast to do. To be able to perform Rust in Peace from beginning to end, that was definitely a lot of fun and that did require a fair amount of rehearsal to nail down. A few of those songs, I don't think the band ever played live. To be able to do that from start to finish was a real thrill for me, certainly. The fans really dug it as well. It was a great tour."

Countless gigs and broken drumsticks later, Drover meets new challenges as they come along. The latest album Super Collider is as diverse, maybe more so, than any record in the MEGADETH discography.

"Obviously, a song like "The Blackest Crow" , that's a real curveball. Certainly for me. I had never played brushes in a heavy metal band. On any song. But I gotta tell you, I really enjoyed it. I had never done that, ever. To throw something at me like that--it was such a musical curveball, the drumming stylistics of the song. The song itself was really different. I really like the song. Does it sound like something off of Killing is My Business ? No, it doesn't. But I gotta tell you, if you think about it, no two MEGADETH records sound the same as each other. You can't name two that sound the same. There's certainly a couple songs on there that were really interesting to play, and for Dave to write that kind of thing, I enjoy it. I like "The Blackest Crow" . I like the whole album very much. Some songs are a bit of a departure. There's a song I wrote, "Built for War" , that's a heavy metal, double-bass drum, real fast kind of thing. It was a fun record to make."

For Drover, there doesn't seem to be any big deals when it comes to getting ready for a tour.

"We always have a day or two of rehearsal prior to the tour. We already know the set, unless we try to add something else to it. By and large, when you've played "Holy Wars" a thousand times, it doesn't require a tremendous amount of rehearsal. When I joined the band, having to learn three or four songs within less than six days that was a little bit daunting, but I certainly pulled it off and I'm glad I did. But it required a lot of focus, and just going over and over these songs I had never heard before--just listening to it in a little CD player that I had at the time. It was like cramming for the ultimate exam in school...doing it in front of 5,000 people."


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