MEGADETH: SHAWN DROVER's Guide To Thrash Drumming

MusicRadar.com recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH drummer Shawn Drover. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

MusicRadar.com: What were your thoughts on thrash as it first developed?

Drover: "Obviously double bass drum and all that speedy stuff was defined around the time that thrash started. Dave Lombardo [SLAYER], Gar Samuelson [former MEGADETH drummer], Lars Ulrich [METALLICA] and Charlie Benante [ANTHRAX] were the four pioneers of all of that. They were making the heaviest music on the planet."

MusicRadar.com: What particular skills are required for that style of drumming?

Drover: "It requires a lot of patience and a lot of practice. You can't just say 'I'm playing at 160bpm now,' which at the time was incredibly fast. It's always good to practice to a metronome. It's not too expensive to get that stuff nowadays. If you're playing at that velocity you want to keep steady because the faster it is, the harder it is for the guitarist and bassist to play all of those wacky notes. MEGADETH is a good example of that, there's so many notes going on. If you play too fast things can really sound like havoc."

MusicRadar.com: Is pacing a key aspect?

Drover: "A lot of young drummers, especially back in the day, had that runaway train syndrome where they'd start fast and by the end of the song it'd be just so fast. It's kinda cool in the spirit of punk and thrash I guess, but with MEGADETH there's so much precision, you need to deliver and develop a solid meter. As well as working on your chops, the ride, the double bass and all that stuff."

MusicRadar.com: How do you think thrash has progressed in the last 25 years?

Drover: "These days the bands are playing so fast that it's mind-boggling. I couldn't even fathom doing that. I have no interest in it because that's not what I do, but my hat goes off to them. These kids in the young bands must practice a hell of a lot more than I do!"

MusicRadar.com: Is speed the key progression?

Drover: "It's certainly a speed progression. I love it, it's how they express themselves. Speed equals aggression in a lot of cases and the big four pioneered that. What you hear now started with those four bands. I think a lot of it's great but I wouldn't want to go through the workout to play at 250bpm."

MusicRadar.com: Is there much adjustment needed in your natural style when playing songs from around the start of thrash?

Drover: "Yeah, it takes a lot of practice to play that stuff. You can't just jump on and pull it off with no rehearsal. When we're playing 'Rust In Peace', we refine it backstage and even now I listen to the record and think, 'I don't play that fill like that!" It's work but the pay-off is great. Nothing worth having is easy, else we'd all be brain surgeons!"

Read the entire interview at MusicRadar.com.

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