Shawn Drover had been drumming professionally for over ten years when was invited to sit behind the drum throne in Dave Mustaine’s 2004 resurrection of the mighty Megadeth, a band he’d been a fan of since 1985’s Killing is My Business. With his experience and knowledge of Megadeth’s catalog, Shawn was a perfect fit, and the drummer admits he added a very important tool to his drumming arsenal shortly after joining the band. “One thing that Dave taught me early on is to play for and stay true to the song,” he offers. “That’s the approach we took for the latest studio album, United Abominations.” Shawn says Mustaine’s advice really took hold in his three years of touring with Megadeth prior to recording United Abominations. “I could understand the tendency to want to really cut loose and think, ‘this is my first big Megadeth record and I’m going to show you people all of my chops,” he explains. “But I learned to sit back, listen and recognize what might be self indulgent and not really not suiting the song that well. I didn’t cut loose as much as I probably would have if we’d recorded the disc in 2004, when I joined, so it worked out really well to have that live experience before we cut our first studio album together. I learned so much in that time that it didn’t freak me out going into the studio. Like ‘Oh my god, I’m making a Megadeth record!’ I was completely calm about it.”
Metal Edge: What’s your favorite story from the recording sessions for United Abominations?
Shawn Drover: One of the coolest things was that we recorded all of my drum tracks in (Pink Floyd guitarist) David Gilmour’s old house in the middle of nowhere in England. It’s a fifteenth century mansion with a studio detached from it. When we got there I had my kit set up in the studio, but then Dave says, ‘I’ve got a little surprise for you. We’ve got another kit.’ It was one of John Bonham’s old Ludwig kits; the only kit that his estate allows to be rented for sessions. It was a 1975 standard four-piece Ludwig kit with a black and white pinstripe finish – one rack tom, one 20-inch floor tom that I used for the whole record, the snare and a monstrous 26-inch bass drum. I said, ‘I’m using this thing as much as possible!’ I incorporated Bonham’s kit into the kit that I had and played it on quite a few parts on the record; it was fantastic sounding. Thinking back now, that whole experience was extremely positive and fun, so I really enjoyed it.
Metal Edge: In your playing, the role of each hand is reversed in that you keep time with your left and use your right hand for the snare. Do you think this technique helps your drumming stand out as unique among your peers?
Shawn Drover: It’s definitely something I do that an extremely high percentage of drummers don’t, because most drummers play cross-handed. I learned the way I did because kits I learned on when I started playing were set up for right handed drummers, and I’m left handed. It does have some advantages, because there’s nothing keeping me from hitting the snare with full force. With the restriction of the right hand crossing over the left, your mobility is not as open as it is playing openhanded, like I do. It also has disadvantages but I’ve been doing it for so long that I just make it work for me. I figure if Simon Phillips can do it, I shouldn’t have a problem either!
Metal Edge: Your drums are set up on a replica of the Voelker Rack System previously used by Nick Menza. What do you like about that rack?
Shawn Drover: It was actually Dave’s idea, when he resurrected the band, to make an upgraded version of that. Of course, I was all about it! A fabricator in Tempe, Arizona put it together based off the old design and I think it’s fantastic! It’s hydraulic driven and it’s all cranked up. My tech loves it because it’s easy to break apart and assemble. It splits right in the middle and the drums stay on the riser for the entire tour. Every night when I walk onstage I know my drums are exactly the same because they’re all in position and held there. It’s visually very cool and very dependable. It was quite costly but it’s an investment: I’ve had it for almost four years now and it should last for fifteen to twenty, easy.
Sizes: (2) 22” x 20” Bass Drums, 10”, 12”, 13” and 14” Rack Toms, 16” and 18” Floor Toms, 14” x 7” Snare
Sticks: Vic Firth
Heads: Remo Black Suede
Official Website: http://www.megadeth.com
Image Courtesy of Shawn’s Facebook Page
This article was originally written for Metal Edge Magazine as part of a monthly column by Gail Worley (under the pen name Jayne Rollins). With the magazines’ dissolution, the article has been added to the content base of The Worley Gig for our readers’ enjoyment.