“I had been out of Megadeth for a few months, and I started to get a little antsy,” says shredder extraordinaire
and former Megadeth and King Diamond guitarist Glen Drover.
“So I figured, I have a full studio in my house, I may as well use
it!” The result of Drover’s urge to burn is Metalusion [Magna
Carta], a ten-song extravaganza (which features five originals
and five covers from the likes of Al Di Meola, Frank Zappa, and
Jean-Luc Ponty) that showcases Drover’s relentless, ultra-musical
assault that runs the gamut between full-bore shred and liquid
legato lyricism. Drover—who engineered, mixed, and mastered
the release—also added fellow mega-shredders Vinnie Moore,
Jeff Loomis (Nevermore), Steve Smyth (Forbidden, Testament),
Fredrik Åkesson (Opeth), and Chris Poland to the festivities.
“This album took over two-and-a-half
years to make, but it was recorded very sporadically,
basically tracking whenever I was
inspired,” explains Drover, who was with
King Diamond for two years (he can be heard
on 2000’s House of God album), before he
began his stint in Megadeth, which lasted
a little more than three years (Drover’s
playing is exceptional on the band’s 2007
release, United Abominations). “The making
of Metalusion went really smoothly, especially
considering that, and I’m very proud
of the fact that everything was tracked separately.
No two people were ever in the room
at the same time. The drums were done in
one studio, the bass was done in another,
I did all of my guitars at my home studio,
and all of the guest guitarists did their
parts in their own studios. We just sent the
files back and forth over the Internet. Yet it
wasn’t difficult to make the record sound
cohesive. Everyone had top-notch equipment
and got great sounds. I love being able
to collaborate like that.” Although Drover
shares the spotlight, Metalusion is clearly his
album as his lethal blend of classic power
metal melodicism and terrifying technical
mastery are front and center.
Who are your formative influences?
When I started seriously playing the
guitar I was 11, and I was really into Tony
Iommi and Black Sabbath. I’d play along
with We Sold Our Soul for Rock and Roll and
then Heaven and Hell, and that’s how I got
my initial chops—by stringing the parts
together and jumping from a solo back
into the rhythm. I played to records a lot,
and I still do a little bit. After Sabbath, I
was into albums like Iron Maiden’s Killers,
Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance, and
Def Leppard’s High ‘n’ Dry. From there, I
went to the shred things like Tony MacAlpine’s
Maximum Security, Yngwie’s Marching
Out, and Al Di Meola’s Casino.
Did you take lessons?
I never had formal lessons, but I’d learn
from older guys at school or in the neighborhood.
I think most people do that. Nobody
showed me what I should or shouldn’t be
doing, that’s for sure. For example, I have
a weird picking style—I hold the pick with
my thumb and middle finger instead of my
index finger. I started noticing all of my
heroes weren’t holding the pick that way,
and it took a ton of chromatic exercises to
help strengthen my picking hand because
the second finger isn’t as strong. Even now,
if I go a while without practicing I have to
pay attention to my picking and whip it
back into shape.
Would you say you’re a schooled player as
far as theory goes?
I’m schooled to a point, but I think I’m
more of a street player. I learned theory
from videos and stuff and grabbed what I
needed along the way. Vinnie Moore’s first
video back in the late ’80s was a really good
one for me as far as getting into theory and
tons of great techniques. Ritchie Kotzen’s
first video was also very inspirational for
getting into legato. Man, that guy is the
legato king! A lot of people say, “Oh you
need to learn this or that chord progression
or technique”—no thanks—I play what
I want to play. If I don’t think it’s something
that will help me play how I want
to play, I won’t bother with it. I don’t like
Perry Como, so why would I try to play a
Perry Como song?
Did you work any of the solos out for Metalusion
or are they off-the-cuff?
No. I find out where the solo section is
and I start playing. It’s very loose. Jon Lord
from Deep Purple said once that his best
solos were usually his first ones. When he
tried to recapture them by doing take after
take, they would inevitably get worse as by
then he’d lost all of the original fire of the
idea. That’s how I work. If I start dissecting
it, it starts sounding like I dissected it.
Did either Megadeth or King Diamond want
you to work your solos out?
Yeah, Megadeth did. That’s why some of
them I like and some of them I don’t. They
would force me to work stuff out and I feel
some of it sounds processed and lifeless. The
listener can hear if a guy has played something
a zillion times. But as a professional
you have to adapt to the situation. King Diamond
wasn’t strict with the solos.
The thing with Megadeth is they wanted
me to sound like Marty Friedman. Marty is
great, but if you play guitar in that band,
you always have to try and be Marty—it’s a
drag. I understand it’s important to pay tribute
to the solos that came before you, but at
the same time, you need to inject your own
thing into them. If you play them note-fornote,
it sounds like you’re reading the parts
off of a piece of paper. I always tried to get
close to the original solo, but also to have
spots where I did my own thing and got my
identity in there.
What did you use to track Metalusion?
I used Dean guitars. I mostly used the
Cadillac, but I’ve also been playing the
Deceiver and the Vendetta. I always put
Seymour Duncan pickups in them—a Distortion
in the bridge and a ’59 in the neck.
For amps, I used a Randall V2 head paired
with a Randall 4x12 cab loaded with 70-watt
Celestions. I also used a DigiTech GSP1101
preamp. That thing is killer. I would run it
direct and through an amp. I didn’t use a ton
of effects, but I occasionally plugged into a
BBE Soul Vibe rotary speaker emulator, a
Seymour Duncan SFX-03 Twin Tube Classic
overdrive, and an MXR GT-OD overdrive.
Did the fast, heavy rhythmic thing come easy
It did. I always found it fun to play. When I
was in Megadeth, I would play to old Exodus
albums before we went on tour to make sure
to get the machine gun thing happening.
Do any non-guitarists influence you?
Totally. [Keyboardist] Jon Lord is probably
the biggest. I’ve taken bits of his solos
and incorporated them into mine. I’ve also
listened to a lot of Jean-Luc Ponty. I pick up
stuff from those guys—especially their phrasing—
and try to make it my own to a certain
extent. Years ago all I did was to listen to
metal and fast guitar stuff, but you have to
You don’t use the whammy bar as much on Metalusion
as you have in the past.
Yeah, I think I’m playing the fixed-bridge
guitars more because I teach a lot, and people
come in who want to learn something in
dropped-C, then something tuned to Eb, then
dropped-D, so I need to be able to tune and
retune quickly. I just got out of the habit of
reaching for the bar.
Do you have a specific practice routine or time
set aside everyday to practice?
No. It’s whenever I have time. Between
teaching, recording, and my family, well, let’s
just say I don’t have the time I did in my early
20s. In between lessons or if someone cancels,
I’ll get some time in. I just try to get in
a half-hour or hour a day if I can. My practice
routine is I just start playing. I’ll start with
some slow melodic sequences, but nothing
specific. I really ad-lib. I’m not a very structured
You did some touring with Testament last year
filling in for Alex Skolnick. Do you have any desire
to get into another big band?
It would have to be right. I almost didn’t
do Megadeth because I had just gotten married
and we had a two-year-old son. Plus, I
had just gotten out of King Diamond a couple
years earlier and I didn’t want to tour anymore.
Touring is great for some people, and
I love to go out and play, but when it’s nine
months out of the year, no way!