As a fan of Megadeth for more than 20 years, getting to see the band perform the classic “Rust In Peace” in it’s entirety has been a treat. I’ve seen it done twice so far and I will never get tired of it. I was also lucky enough to get to hang out and talk with Megadeth drummer Shawn Drover before their Atlanta show with Anthrax and Slayer. We discussed the challenges of performing a metal masterpiece live, his love for 70’s rock music and being a grandfather among other things. Shawn is a super laid back guy and I had a great time talking with him. Go grab yourself a beverage, sit back and enjoy my interview with Shawn Drover of Megadeth!

This tour is a kind of Clash of the Titans class reunion of sorts. Does this tour have a special feel to it or does it just feel like another tour?

It’s not just another tour. This is obviously, as you implied, Clash of the Titans Part II or whatever. It’s called the Jaegermeister Music Tour, but to us diehards it’s Clash of the Titans again. It’s great to be part of it. Anthrax is a great band and are good friends of ours and the same thing with Slayer so it’s cool that the three of us are doing this. This hasn’t been done with these three bands since Clash of the Titans and that was almost 20 years ago. It’s cool that these bands are still functioning let alone still successful.

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I was a senior in high school and saw that tour here in Atlanta.

Yeah. I lived in Florida at the time. I was living down in St. Petersburg, FL and they didn’t play there so that’s why I didn’t see the concert. I certainly wish I would have.

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This will be the 2nd tour you guys are performing Rust In Peace in its entirety…

We’ve been doing it pretty much since February. We did the American tour in secondary markets and we were only supposed to do it for that tour. The fans and the promoters wanted us doing it here, in Europe and everywhere so we just kept rolling with it. It’s been a fun year and it’s been a really busy year. This is the busiest the band’s been since I joined 6 years ago. We’re glad to do it. It’s challenging, but its fun.

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Hearing “Rust In Peace” in its entirety has been a real treat for the fans. Do you prefer doing this or doing an “anthology” type set list?

That’s a good question. I like doing both because as far as I’m concerned it’s all fun. On its worst day it’s better than working for a living. This is what I was born to do and I’m lucky to be doing it at this level. It provides different challenges as a drummer. The fans want to hear everything as accurate as you can be and that’s not easy. It may look easy but it’s not. Rust In Peace is a difficult record. There are a lot of tempo changes and all of these little quirks. The reward of that is that when you execute it as well as you can you can walk off stage with a big grin on your face saying, “We had a really killer show tonight!” You’re always on your toes. It’s certainly challenging but there’s a great reward that comes with it as well.

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Is there a particular Megadeth song that you find to be more challenging than others to perform?

There isn’t really anything that sticks out, but “Polaris” is tough because there’s a lot of different, weird patterns and stuff with the drums. Trying to keep it tight with everything that’s going on is harder than it may sound to pull off well. I’ve really got to have a lot of focus when I play that song. The same thing applies to when I play “Take No Prisoners.” That’s a tough one. There’s so much going on in that song.

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Are there any specific artists or genres of music that we would be surprised to hear that you were a fan of?

I like all kinds of music. I grew up in the 70’s listening to everything on rock radio back then. You’d play a Deep Purple song, a Supertramp song, a Fleetwood Mac song, an Eagles song or a Steely Dan song and not blink an eye. Back in Montreal where I grew up it was just all part of the rock format. I love a lot of those bands like Kansas and Supertramp I like a lot. If I had to pick a decade of music that I like the most it would be the 70’s. Rush of course! That’s my favorite rock band. I love Rush and Judas Priest and that kind of stuff. It’s still a big influence on who I am as a musician.

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Speaking of music you like listening to, what music has been dominating your iPod or whatever musical contraption you’re using these days?

I like the new Exodus record a lot, but I like all Exodus records. Those guys’ batting average is high as far as I’m concerned as they always put out good records. I haven’t been listening to a whole lot of new stuff to be honest because I’m on tour and it’s hard to find new music. On iTunes I’ll put on some Aerosmith, Van Halen or some heavier stuff if I’m in the mood for it. It seems I keep reverting back to the 70’s lately but good music is good music as far as I’m concerned. The Rush DVD “Classic Albums 2112 and Moving Pictures” came out Tuesday so I got that. We watched it last night on the Anthrax bus and it was great. We had a lot of fun watching that. We’re actually going to watch it again tonight with David Ellefson and the other guys on the bus.

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When I was growing up, it was nothing for my friends and I to be into bands like Megadeth, Motley Crue and what not and then turn around and listen to The Allman Brothers Band.

Right! See, we didn’t have a lot of the southern rock. In Montreal I didn’t hear a lot of the southern rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers. They didn’t play that a whole lot there, but when I moved to America and moved to Florida that’s when I began to hear that kind of stuff.

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You and your brother Glen [Drover, former Megadeth guitarist] had a band called Eidolon that put out some really great music. Do you have any plans to regroup with Eidolon ever?

No. Why make another album that nobody buys? We did six records and that band got us [himself and brother Glen] into Megadeth, so I will always be thankful. I’ll never say anything bad about it. Glen (Drover, brother and former Megadeth guitarist) and I did that band, but doing six records that didn’t sell and doing another one wouldn’t make any sense. In the future, if I ever do anything outside of Megadeth or if Megadeth ever ends or whatever way down the road, I’ll do something with Glen, but it won’t be that. It would be something totally different because I don’t want to go backwards. I want to keep going forward.

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Eidolon is a good example of the many “should have beens” as far as being noticed, but I also believe that things happen and don’t happen for a reason.

Absolutely. Everything happens for a reason: good and bad. We didn’t know it at the time, but Eidolon got us into Megadeth and I’ll always be grateful about that.

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If you could put together a band with any musicians alive or dead, who would be in the band? You have to be in the band as well.

Hm. That’s a good question. I’d have to go with Hendrix on guitar, Geddy Lee on bass. I mean, I could say just Rush and let me join them. I’d say Ronnie James Dio as the singer. He’s a great, amazing singer. One of my favorite singers ever and let’s throw a keyboard player in there, Jens Johansson who used to play with Yngwie Malmsteen. Or Chick Corea. That would be good too! That would be a good one.

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This style of music looks physically painful. How do you do this night after not without hurting yourself?

I do hurt myself. I’m in pain all the time. I have about as many injuries as a football player. I’ve had so many injuries since I’ve been in this band I swear to God. [laughs] Right after I joined the band, after my first show I had to go to the hospital because I blew my ears out in rehearsals. I developed vertigo and had a severe ear infection. On the first leg of the tour if you see pictures from 2004 I’ve got a set of headphones on. I had to wear them because I completely blew my ears out and the only way for it to subside and eventually go away was to use these super isolated headphones so I could keep them at a low volume and not get the other outside noise. Over the course of that tour it eventually went away. That was brutal. I had to have the placi removed from my knee from just the constant stress of playing. I fractured my right hand at the start of my first European tour that we did. It’s like an athlete. You play injured and that’s just the way it is. That’s a long winded answer to your question [laughs]. When I’m healthy I’m very happy. I hit things with sticks for a living. What do you expect? [laughs]

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When I asked Tom Hunting of Exodus about his drumming technique he had this to say: “One of the things I learned was that the faster you hit the snare with as much force as possible and the sooner you get out the more it’s gonna resonate. I tried to teach Drover that but he, you know, he’s stuck in his glam metal [laughs].” Would you care to comment on that?

[smiles and shakes his head] The thing about Tom is that he has tree trunks for arms. The guy hits with such insane velocity and power that it’s just…what can you say? The guy’s brutal. He’s a huge influence on my playing. When I discovered thrash, Exodus was right up there with all the bands like Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. Right off the bat I was a big fan of Tom’s playing. He’s a completely original thrash metal drummer. His rolls and the drum fills that he does are amazing I think. I didn’t realize until we toured with them in 2004 how hard he hits the snare. The drum set he’s got now is a Yamaha and he’s got probably the loudest snare I would say probably in the world. I’ve never heard a snare that loud where it was like crushing my head. I’m sure he took great joy in hitting a little bit harder just to piss everybody off because his snare sounded so fucking awesome. Tom’s a great drummer, but I do have better hair than he does so you can tell him that from me!

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I read somewhere that you live in Kennesaw, GA. How in the world did the drummer for Megadeth end up in Kennesaw of all places?

I grew up in Canada and got tired of freezing to death, so when you’re freezing to death in Canada you move to Florida, but it’s too freaking hot there. After a year or so I eventually migrated up here (to Kennesaw, GA). My wife who I met on the beach in Florida, her whole family lives up here so we thought we’d give it a shot. I’ve been here since ’93.

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My buddy lives in Kennesaw and we’ll be getting together to play some music. Would you like to come over and jam?

Uh… no. [laughs] After a tour, the last thing I want to do is go jam.

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Once a tour like this is over, what do you do? Do you put the drums away and just leave it alone for a while?

Yeah. I mean, they’re set up, but I don’t play much. We’ve been going so hardcore this year that when I’m at home, I spend time with my grandson, my kids and my wife. I just do normal things that most people take for granted and think are mundane. When you’re traveling and do the stuff that we do all the time, you crave that. You want to go just catch a movie or go out and eat dinner or you know, just hang out and watch the grass grow in the backyard. I’m a real family guy, so I enjoy being at home with my family and not doing much. It takes a lot of you, the touring. I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I’m 44 years old.

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You’ve gotta be the most awesome grandfather ever!

[smiles] I am the most awesome grandfather ever. I’m definitely cooler than your grandfather. I don’t know who he is but I’m cooler than him. [laughs]

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After this tour are you taking some time off or doing some more dates?

We have Australia coming up in I believe the beginning of December. I think we’re headlining six shows or something like that. That’s what’s on the calendar for now, but after that I have no idea. We’re closing out the year and I’m not sure what the game plan is. We’ve been so busy this year I think we all will welcome some time off around Christmas time.

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That sounds great and I promise if I run into you somewhere in Kennesaw we won’t bug you to come jam.

[laughs] Thanks!

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Thanks for the time and congrats on grandfather and a great year.

Thank you and you’re welcome.

The Brainfart & the worlds coolest grandfather: Shawn Drover of Megadeth.  What an amazing time!

About The Author

The Brainfart

Don (aka. The Brainfart) has been a heavy metal fan since hearing it for the first time in 1983. Don is also repsonsible for all of the typos, shitty grammar, and kick ass content on this site. Don likes cheap beer, whiskey, Coca Cola Icees, going to shows, and hanging with his kick ass wife, two cats (Drusilla & Coltrane) and dog (Cassie). He originally wanted to name his dog Shandi but his wife said, "No fucking way."

Tokyo Five says:

>I was living down in St. Petersburg, FL

That’s where I grew up. I guess he was living there the same time as I was.
ISavatage, Kitty Grinds, and Roxx Gang are from the St. Pete area too.

storm says:

i gave him that shirt he is wearing

thegreatsouthernbrainfart thegreatsouthernbrainfart says:

That shirt was all kinds of awesome. That’s cool that you gave that to him.

Malone says:

Great interview, such a cool guy.
Gotta see them again

thegreatsouthernbrainfart thegreatsouthernbrainfart says:

Thanks Malone. He was a really cool dude. He’s so laid back and just easy to talk to. He’s an amazing drummer as well. His work on the Rust In Peace stuff that night was just facemelting to say the least.

Simonhead says:

KIller stuff!

Shawn really sounds a totally down to earth guy.

Thanks for the interview.

thegreatsouthernbrainfart thegreatsouthernbrainfart says:

Simonhead, he really was very down to earth and a really fun person to talk to. He’s got a really dry sense of humor but he’s really hilarious. He’s so down to earth that I literally forgot to ask him to sign my “Endgame” album . I forgot I was talking to an awesome drummer and it really felt more like a friendly conversation. Thanks for checking it out my friend!