Glen Drover Interview – Wednesday Feb 1, 2012 Montreal, Katacombs
We caught up with Glen Drover while he was in Montreal to judge the Battle of the Bands contest at Katacombs. The winning band will play live during Montreal Heavy 2012 at Parc Jean Drapeau!
LG: Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to be asked to judge this competition?
Drover: I think it started with Mike Metal from CHOM FM, and I really don’t know the exact story, but I think what happened is that he probably talked to Nick at Dungeon and said “Hey, you know, you should get Glen over, he’s just in Toronto, and get him to come as one of the judges.” I think that’s where it kinda came from. Jeff (Waters) did last month, as you know and now here I am.
LG: What was it like working on an instrumental record after your experiences with Megadeth and King Diamond?
Drover: It’s different in a way because it’s more free form to a point, although there is heavy structure it wasn’t like you are in the typical metal band and here’s the format: Metal Metal Metal so we can kinda do whatever we want. We had all kinds of influences come into the picture Prog, Jazz-Fusion, Metal, Rock…whatever it is. You know and it was probably not only metal because of me, growing up with this kind of music, but the other musicians in the band.
Jim from Saga who was more of a Prog… – Saga is more of a kind of a Prog power kind of melodic kind of band so he brought those elements in….and he’s great with writing instrumental music…Killer. Chris Sutherland, who plays with Kim Mitchell is very in tune with this kind of music, and the direction that we wanted to go into, and was able to compliment that, as well as the bass player Paul Yee. They’re all killer musicians, and we were able to come together and really make something that was very cohesive. The amazing thing about that is that it’s not it’s not easy to find these kinds of musicians and bring them all into one room and it works….but I did with that combination.
LG: How did you go about putting this band together? Did you get together and jam on an idea????
Drover: No, not at all, not at all. I phoned Chris first. He was the first guy I contacted after leaving Megadeth, after a few months or so; I wanted to get back into doing something, but something more self-indulgent and instrumental. He understood the direction I wanted to go in, and he suggested Jim Gilmore from Saga and his buddy Paul Yee from where he used to live in Winnipeg, saying, “Oh these guys are killer. They’ll totally get this whole thing” and it was all done…through computer.
LG: Remote? One person in each location?
Drover: Right. Right. But again, I mean, I got lucky because I mean it’s one of those things where a lot of times you have to be in the same room to really understand where everybody is going. We got away with it without having to do that and got lucky and came up with an album that we’re extremely proud of.
LG: As you should be.
Drover: Yeah, and there’s a live DVD coming out in June. We did a webcast in late summer last year.
LG: I read that you offered up a track to a band named White Lion in Europe…..
Drover: A solo. It was actually a band that one of the guys used to work at a record company called Escapi out of Sweden who did the last Eidolon record. Because Eidolon, we did most of our albums through Metalblade, but the last record we did, after we finished our contract with Metalblade, we signed with these guys for one record, right before we joined Megadeth Thank God we only did sign for 1 album, because you know, me and Shawn got really busy with Megadeth and then everything changed. So it came from that, it was like “Can you play a solo?” I wasn’t involved with the band; I just played a solo for them.
LG: Was that the first time that you played a solo remotely and sent it to somebody?
Drover: No. There’s been other, you know, local bands or bands from overseas that asked me to do a solo spot, and I love doing that. I love that whole concept of being able to do that. Somebody sends you an MP3, you can put a solo over it, send a wave over, they import it, then they place it. It’s a really cool concept.
LG: Is that how you worked with Stephan Forte?
LG: Has your gear changed a lot over the years?
Drover: Well it has, but I’m pretty much using the same gear that I’ve been using since 2007, before I left Megadeth. I was using this rack-mount unit called the 1101 from Digitech –which I swear by. It’s the best preamp on the planet. Period. I’ve been using that in conjunction with different amps, Randall, Dime…and it sounds great. Love it. Very versatile, you know, Killer pre amp.
LG: How about pick-ups? Strings?
Drover: Seymour Duncan, I’ve been with Seymour for over a decade easily. I use the Duncan distortion in the bridge position, then in the neck I use the 59.
LG: How do you capture new ideas for songs? Is there a gadget you frequently use?
Drover: Nah. I just go downstairs. I have a full-blown studio in my house, so I just go record something then save it, and go back to it later and go “Yeah that’s cool” or “Nah that sucks” or whatever.
LG: So you’re never too far away to record ideas?
Drover: No. No. No. No. So it’s very easy to do that. Very easy to record what I have in my head. So it’s not the old-school way of recording it into a little pink tape recorder. (Laughs)
LG: Any plans for touring?
Drover: No. At this point there’s no plans for doing a tour. We’re looking at doing the next CD at this point, and like I mentioned, we have the DVD coming out in June, which we’re really excited about, it came out really well.
LG: Naming the songs on an instrumental record. How does that happen? Do you wrap music around a title or does the song’s name just kind of evolve?
Drover: It does. Because I’ll come up with some kind of an initial working title and then I’ll find something that best suits the atmosphere of the song, what it calls for.
LG: Is that a long process? Do you labour over the titles?
Drover: Nah. Nah. It’s easy. It’s easy and fun!
LG: In the studio, what’s the order of business? Drum tracks get laid first …then what?
Drover: Drums. Guitars come after that, and then we get the keyboards usually and then the bass. Then we start editing things and putting things together, making sure the song is structured the way we want it to be. I spend a lot of time analyzing. I’ll be in the car, I’ll make a CD & listen to it in my car, my car still has a CD player. I’ll just analyze the whole thing and make sure that the songs are growing, and I’m still liking them. If not, we ditch it. And that’s another thing – it spawns other ideas as well. As you evolve in a song, you get other ideas and stuff so; it’s all part of that process. I spent quite a bit of time on the last album, doing that, and I think it really worked.
LG: Was it tough narrowing down which songs were going to make the record?
Drover: No. They ALL made it! All the songs that we worked on made it! Any one of them could have been nixed, but we ended up keeping all of those songs.
LG: That’s when you know there’s some magic happening.
Drover: Yeah. Exactly. It’s just the way it worked out, but I have no problem ditching a song because it’s not holding up, you know.
LG: What was the last piece of gear that inspired you, made you excited to play?
Drover: The 1101 by Digitech. Hands down.
LG: Would you have any advice for aspiring guitar players in today’s market?
Drover: Yeah practice and just don’t worry about all the….we have a lot of problems in the industry you know…with all the thievery and stuff like that…but I think it’s most important for guys to concentrate on…You have to have a product no matter what. Just get out there and play your hearts out. Make your own shirts, get some merch going. If you think about the cash thing, you have to do that, but you have to have an initial product no matter what. So just follow your dreams with that and I think that any band that is hungry enough will do that.
LG: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.
Drover: No problem.
Interview conducted and transcribed by: P.Ashton
For more info on Glen or to purchase Metalusion go here: http://www.glendroverband.com/