Australia’s Metal Obsession recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH drummer Shawn Drover. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Obsession: You must be quite pleased the new album, “TH1RT3EN”, is finished and ready to be released onto the world?
Shawn Drover: Yeah, man! We’re pretty psyched about the record. I think it turned out very well. We recorded it in record timing… nine weeks! I mean, that was a very short period of time, but the funny thing was everything went so smoothly and so easily that we got it done without any effort. [laughs] I mean, it wasn’t like we were thinking, “Oh my god! We’ll never get this done.” It just seemed very painless and a very enjoyable process for us to do this record. I, personally, think it turned out great. We are really excited about doing a world tour for “TH1RT3EN” and support it as much as possible. We can’t wait for the fans to hear it!
Metal Obsession: As this is MEGADETH‘s thirteenth album, were there any bizarre moments throughout the recording process due to the superstitious nature of the number thirteen?
Shawn Drover: It’s funny. I did my drums on the record first, so I was there for about two and half, three weeks. Nothing weird happened with reference to the number thirteen, but after I left that’s when this whole weird thing started to happen. The funny thing was the title of the record, the working title was “Thirteen” until we came up with something else because this is our thirteenth record, you know what I mean? It was just a working title at the time, but after I left, Dave [Mustaine, MEGADETH mainman] started to see all this stuff and it all had to do with the number thirteen. None of it was really that bad, just odd coincidences and just odd things happening with the number thirteen. Dave then started to say, “Why don’t we just call the new record ‘Thirteen’?” and we all thought,”Yeah! That would be a cool idea.” There were a couple of bizarre things which happened in the studio with the number thirteen and I guess Dave just kinda went with it.
Metal Obsession: I take it the transition from Andy Sneap to Johnny K was quite an easy one?
Shawn Drover: It was. It was very easy. Both producers are a thrill to work with and are just great people. You know, Andy is a very good friend of mine and we’ve known each other for quite sometime now and he’s a fantastic producer. Andy wasn’t really available for the time frame we had. We had a very limited time frame — as I mentioned before, about nine weeks from the beginning to the end of this record. We thought, “Why don’t we do something different this time? Why don’t we get in a new producer?” Johnny K‘s name came up and Dave had a couple of conversations with him in the past, or did something with him in the past. So we decided to go with him and it worked out great. He’s a great guy and a great producer. I think the results will speak for themselves. Sonically, it sounds great and it was a joy to work on. It’s always good to have a producer who has ideas as well instead of a “knob-twister,” you know what I mean? You are hiring a producer so you can bounce ideas off each other and give guidance. He was very good at that.
Metal Obsession: “TH1RT3EN” seems to follow the same ideology as “Endgame”, with its lyrics heavily seeded in politics, corruption and social turmoil…
Shawn Drover: Social turmoil. I like that! [laughs]
Metal Obsession: [laughs] … essentially the typical MEGADETH lyrics you’d hear nowadays. I guess it’s become easier in recent years to write more poignant lyrics as social disorder is never ending.
Shawn Drover: I would say that’s an accurate assumption. I mean, look at what’s going on in the world right now. It’s so easy to write heavy metal songs. All you have to do is turn on Fox News or CNN and it’s right there! That’s not to say we actually did that, but Dave is very current and keen on world events and what’s going on with a lot of things, politically and socially. He’s a very worldly person and watches that stuff all the time. You know, he’s a very intelligent lyricist, so he puts his twist on everything. I mean he’ll watch something on TV or read a book and put his take on it and make it poignant. But again, as you suggested, there is so much crap going on in the world right now, economically and politically speaking. There are so many things which are going on which aren’t so great, so it’s quite easy to write how we personally feel towards this stuff.
Metal Obsession: Do you and the others members in MEGADETH all share the same feelings towards these topics?
Shawn Drover: Yes and no. It depends what the subject matter is and how I feel towards it. Obviously I agree with some of the subjects we touch on, we share the same vision or opinions on certain things, but I’m not as involved as Dave is. I don’t turn on Fox News every morning and watch it for several hours. I’m just not that kind of guy. It would drive me mad after awhile from all the negativity and the amount of crap. After awhile, you’re like, “Jesus!” I choose to watch things that are a little more light on TV, you know. I try and laugh about life and not take it too seriously. I try not to get to caught up in the turmoil of the world…. shall we say?! But I am aware of a lot of it. I’m very aware of it but I don’t delve to deep into it, unless it’s something which affects you so much, you know what I mean?! Like the whole 9/11 thing. You have to be on top of something that catastrophic. Even what happened in Japan recently. Other than that, I don’t keep on top of world events as much as Dave. But you know… it’s my choice.
Metal Obsession: Do you ever feel anxious or threatened by certain fan reactions whenever releasing new material?
Shawn Drover: No, not at all! Because I know it’s a good record and at the end of the day you can’t… First of all, you can’t please everyone. Secondly, I wouldn’t want to please everyone because that would be boring. I mean, we have our fans who are fantastic. We have a fantastic fan base. Ultimately, though, some people will say, “Oh, it’s not as heavy as ‘Killing Is My Business’, or not as fast as that song or this song. That’s just the way people react and then they’ll go post it on the Internet somewhere and be all pissed off. I don’t worry about that kind of thing because there is so many fans who we have, who appreciate us and don’t go out of their way and do all those silly things. If anything, they go out of their way to contact us and tell us how much they love our music. Like what we were talking about before, I choose to kinda go with the positives rather then the people who bitch about everything and say, “It’s not this and it’s not that” — the people who want us to sound like we did in the past. For us, you can’t live the past. I mean, we all respect what we have done in the past and it’s all fine and dandy. But, ultimately for us, we want to keep moving forward and keep writing music. We celebrate our past but we want to move forward as well.
Read the entire interview from Metal Obsession.