INTERVIEW WITH WITHERING SCORN AND EX-MEGADETH DRUMMER SHAWN DROVER
Date: July 29, 2023
Photos: Courtesy of Shawn Drover (first and last photos)
SLEAZE ROXX READERS WILL LIKELY KNOW THE NAME SHAWN DROVER FROM HIS TIME IN MEGADETH FROM 2004 TO 2014. SHAWN DROVER HAS A NEW BAND CALLED WITHERING SCORN WHICH INCLUDES HIS BROTHER GLEN DROVER ON GUITAR, JOE DIBIASE ON BASS AND HENNING BASSE ON LEAD VOCALS. WITHERING SCORN JUST RELEASED THEIR DEBUT ALBUM ‘PROPHETS OF DEMISE’ VIA FRONTIERS MUSIC SRL ON JULY 7, 2023. YOU CAN PURCHASE WITHERING SCORN’S DEBUT ALBUM VIA FRONTIERS’ US AND EUROPE WEBSTORES.
Sleaze Roxx: You have a new band called Withering Scorn with your brother Glen. How did the band come about?
Shawn Drover: It really started with the pandemic, since the music industry was basically shut down in terms of touring, Glen and I started to write some new songs and possibly put a new record together, so we asked our friend Joe DiBiase if he was interested, to which she was and we did the same with our singer Henning Basse. So the four of us over the course of the next three years on and off, put this record together which was just released worldwide via Frontiers Records on July 7th. We are really proud of the work we put into this record.
Sleaze Roxx: The band name Withering Scorn is rather sinister sounding. How did you guys come up with that band name?
Shawn Drover: Figuring out and agreeing on the band name was the hardest part of putting this record together. We all had lists of possible names for the band but either we couldn’t agree upon which name to pick or if we all agreed upon a name, we looked it up and the name was taken, so it literally took us a few months to finally settle on the bad name ‘Withering Scorn’. That’s a name I heard years ago on television and somehow I remembered that in the midst of looking for possible band names.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s the meaning or significance between the debut album’s name ‘Prophets of Demise’?
Shawn Drover: There’s really no significance to it at all. We just thought what would be a great name for the record, and Joe suggested ‘Prophets of Demise’ which was also the name of one of our songs, and it also fit in nicely with the artwork, so we decided to go with that name.
Withering Scorn‘s “Dethroned” video:
Sleaze Roxx: How did you end hooking up with Frontiers Music Srl?
Shawn Drover: Once the record was 100% finished, then the next phase starts which is of course shopping the record around to various record companies in hopes of getting a record deal. Luckily for Glen and myself, we have always been signed to record labels throughout the years of releasing music and the same holds true for our new record. I believe we were offered a record deal from Frontiers Records within two weeks of us shopping the record ’round so it worked out very well for us.
Sleaze Roxx: I’ve got to ask you some questions about your time in Megadeth! You’re actually the drummer with the longest tenure in the band [2004 to 2014]. How did you end up getting the gig in the first place?
Shawn Drover: Glen had the gig first back in September 2004 and literary at the 11th hour, they also needed a drummer so my brother recommended me to Dave [Mustaine] and he was open to the idea. I flew down to Arizona and did four days of rehearsals with the band, then had a travel day to Reno, Nevada and played the show on the sixth day, so it was a real last minute situation, but it worked out well.
Sleaze Roxx: You played on four Megadeth studio albums. What was it like recording ‘United Abominations’ ? Your brother Glen was involved on that one and the record featured an all-new Megadeth line-up. What are some of your best memories with respect to ‘United Abominations’?
Shawn Drover: That record was a lot of fun to make. We recorded the drum tracks and the bass tracks over in England at Sarm Studios, which was owned by Trevor Horn, who has produced tons of great bands over the years. As well, the studio also had a 17 story mansion, which was previously owned by David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, and was known to be haunted so it was all in all great fun for me personally making that record.
Megadeth‘s “A Tout Le Monde” video (from United Abominations album):
Sleaze Roxx: Next up is 2009’s ‘Endgame’ which also had Chris Broderick playing on it. You of course also played in Act of Defiance with Chris later on. How was recording the album ‘Endgame’? What are some of your best memories for that record?
Shawn Drover: To me, ‘Endgame’ is the strongest of the records that I played on in that band. Andy Sneap was our producer, and he was dialed in hell-bent on really focusing on making more heavier old-school tracks which is exactly what we did. At the time, we had our own studio in Southern California, so it was very convenient that we could record, rehearse for a tour, and all of our equipment was stored in one facility, so it was a very good positive time for us, and I think the record was received well by most of the fans.
Megadeth‘s “The Right To Go Insane” video (from Endgame album):
Sleaze Roxx: The next Megadeth studio album that you played on was ‘Thirteen‘ . The band’s dynamics must have been quite different with the return of Dave Ellefson on bass. How was it having Ellefson back in the band?
Shawn Drover: Correct. David [Ellefson] had returned to the band in 2010 right in time for the 20th anniversary of the ‘Rust In Peace Tour’ so after that we were all in a good headspace for writing the next record which was called ‘Thirteen’. The dynamics of the band did not change really, it was business as usual in musical terms, so we went in there and tried once again to write the best tracks that we could.
Sleaze Roxx: You didn’t seem to have a big hand in the writing process in Megadeth. You’re credited with one co-writing credit on ‘Endgame’ [as per Wikipedia]. On the other hand, the ‘Thirteen’ producer Johnny K co-wrote almost half of the songs on that album with Dave Mustaine [as per Wikipedia]. How come you never ended up contributing to the writing on any of the Megadeth studio albums that you played on?
Shawn Drover: Johnny K may have been credited for co-writing certain tunes which I am not aware of but other than suggesting an idea here or there, Dave [Mustaine] wrote most of the music on that record so I’m not sure where that information came from but I don’t remember that way at all. Dave has always been the principal songwriter in that band as he should be because he is a great gifted, songwriter.
Sleaze Roxx: What are some of of your best memories in regards to ‘Thirteen’?
Shawn Drover: Just having David [Ellefson] back in the band at the time was fun for me because now you had two original members of the band wish for me personally was a cool thing. Tons of touring in support of that record as per usual, but that was always the way. You write a record, release it and tour for it for the next two years.
Megadeth‘s “Public Enemy No. 1” video (from Thirteen album):
Sleaze Roxx: 2013’s ‘Super Collider’ is next. The album was a little more commercially sounding. What were some of your best memories with respect to that record?
Shawn Drover: I don’t have a ton of memories from that record, as I am more of a fan of the heavy stuff. The last show we played in that tour, it was in Osaka, Japan, and Akira Takasaki from the band Loudness jumped on stage and played a tune with us, which was a great thing for me personally, as I am a huge fan of Loudness.
Sleaze Roxx: You have also played on arguably Megadeth’s three best live albums — ‘That One Night: Live in Bueno Aires’ , ‘Rust In Peace Live’  and ‘Countdown To Extinction: Live’ . What were those experiences like and which one if your favorite live record out of the three?
Shawn Drover: ‘That One Night’ from Argentina was a fun live record to make as it was also broadcasted on live radio and film for a DVD so there was a lot of pressure but the fans were so great. It made the entire experience a lot of fun. All of the live releases are great to me as they are a snapshot in time.
Sleaze Roxx: You were also part of the CD/DVD ‘The Big 4 Live from Sofia, Bulgaria.’ How was that experience like?
Shawn Drover: The entire experience with the ‘Big Four’ shows were great as all the bands were in a great headspace, and it was just fun to be part of that entire experience. Luckily, it was all captured on DVD and live recording as well so it’s always fun to go back and reflect on that time.
Sleaze Roxx: You and Chris Broderick ended up leaving Megadeth in November 2014 and forming Act of Defiance. Why did you end up leaving Megadeth and do you have any regrets in that regard?
Shawn Drover: After 10 years in that band, it was time for me to move on musically as I wanted to go in a much heavier direction and write my own music again. I have no regrets whatsoever in leaving that band.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s going on with Act of Defiance? The group’s sophomore album ‘Old Scars, New Wounds’ — witty title by the way — dates back to 2017. Is the band still active?
Shawn Drover: The band is no longer active as Chris joined a band called In Flames, which is a great career move for him. We released two records and I am proud of the music we did in that band, but it worked out well for me because right after we disbanded, the pandemic hit, and Glen and I reformed to make Withering Scorn. So it all worked out well for me.
Sleaze Roxx: I remember seeing Act of Defiance play live back in mid-2018 when you opened for Armored Saint.
Shawn Drover: Yeah, that was a real fun for us. The Armored Saint guys are all awesome so it made it a real great tour for us, certainly.
Sleaze Roxx: The music was really heavy and I think heavier than anything you did in Megadeth. What do you prefer playing — the heavier metal stuff or the more melodic metal stuff — and why?
Shawn Drover: I like it all as long as the music is of a high quality, the songs are what matter to me most, so I could play super brutal stuff or just hard rock and be equally as happy.
Sleaze Roxx: You and Glen have also played together during live performances titled “A Special Night of Metal”. I was lucky enough to catch one of those shows back in March 2016.
Shawn Drover: ‘A Night of Metal’ is something that we did purely for fun and the love of the heavy metal tunes we were brought up with. That was just something Glen had an idea for, just getting some musical friends of ours and playing some clubs up in eastern Canada. We never rehearsed at all, we just learned the songs beforehand at home and went onstage and winged it, which is a lot of fun, really. Again, when the pandemic hit in 2020, that pretty much killed any chances of us playing those shows, but you never know about the future of a handful of those shows happening up in Canada if the right situation is presented to us.
Sleaze Roxx: How special is it to play in a band and release new music with your brother Glen?
Shawn Drover: We have been releasing music together on and off since 1995 so it’s almost been 30 years for us, so this is something that still is important and fun to create new music. That’s why we became musicians in the first place — to create and perform music, so we don’t take it for granted at all.
Sleaze Roxx: What are Withering Scorn’s future plans? I know it’s way more expensive to tour since the Covid pandemic and the rise in inflation. Will Withering Scorn be playing any live gigs in the future?
Shawn Drover: The cost of touring, since the pandemic hit, has doubled and tripled in some instances so for a new band like us, it would be financial suicide for us to go on a six week tour and drudge it out in the clubs. We are a brand new band so for us getting the word out and doing interviews like we are right here is an important wait for people to become aware of who we are and if they like the music and if there’s a demand for it, we will cross that bridge at a later time for possible touring.
Withering Scorn‘s “Prophets of Demise” lyric video:
Withering Scorn‘s “Dark Reflections” lyric video: