Tim Karman is the drummer for The People Now. We had a great conversation in his home recording and rehearsal studio, early July 2015. We’re old friends, as I used to be in his band in 2004. We talked about his work with Service Solutions AV, delivering pizza, grunge music, Alice In Chains, his own band’s unique third-party connections with AIC, lessons he’s learned in audio and in previous incarnations of his studio, and how The People Now have been doing these past 10 years.
I also asked him if he likes long walks on the beach. Listen for his soothing [whoosh] sounds.
This one’s for audio geeks, 90s kids, and lovers of purpose-driven rock.
Glen Drover has a storied career. Receiving his first guitar at age 10, he and his drumming brother Shawn created the band Eidolon, which got picked up by Metalblade. The two would go on to play in Megadeth together, but not before Glen’s stint in King Diamond. Since then, he’s toured with Testament, provided a solo for a metal Christmas album, and has solo projects going, one of which is fairly ambitious and will be released soon.
Hevvy Time Records caught up with Glen over the phone June 12, 2015.
HTR: Do you come from a musical family?
GD: Yeah, my oldest brother Brian, and my dad were both musicians, and that’s how I started playing guitar. Brian had an acoustic guitar lying around, and that’s where I first started to hit some strings. He showed me a few little ditties, and away we went.
HTR: How old were you when you got your first guitar?
GD: My first guitar was an acoustic. I was 10, and I got it for Christmas. And then the following Christmas, I got my first electric.
HTR: What kind of guitar was it?
GD: It was a Les Paul Hobby.
HTR: New, used?
GD: It was new, and I got a small, little amp. It was two watts, which is kinda funny, looking back. I don’t think that exists anymore. But I mean, you wanna talk about major thrill? And that day, Christmas day, when I got the guitar, the amp, and a little fuzz pedal too, that was the first day me and Shawn played together, him playing drums and me playing electric guitar, downstairs.
HTR: The first day you got your electric guitar was the first day you jammed with Shawn?
GD: Yeah, cause that’s what happened, I ran downstairs, and he had just picked up some used drums. He was just putting stuff together, we were kids, you know.
HTR: Is he older or younger than you?
GD: He’s three years older than I am. We just set up and started playing, it was great.
HTR: So what kind of music is your dad into? Steely Dan, like mine?
GD: No, more like country stuff. Kenny Rodgers, Perry Como.
HTR: Did you ever take guitar lessons, or are you completely self-taught?
GD: I took a little bit, but nothing really to mention, so I’m mostly a street player, yes.
HTR: Now I’ve been listening to some of your interviews. I know you talked about Black Sabbath being one of your earliest influences. I wanted to ask what’s the first metal album you ever had that made you think like, “This is cool man, this is what I wanna do.” What was it that turned you towards metal?
GD: It was just [like] that, I mean starting with Kiss, you know. Listening to my brothers’ and sister’s albums which was primarly ELO, the Eagles, that kind of thing. And then discovering Kiss when I was about 7 or 8, and hearing more harder-edged rock—that was my introduction to that. It was Kiss.
But like I said, the suff that I had heard, it was … I don’t even think I’d heard Led Zeppelin at that point, you know? And then I got into Black Sabbath a little later on, and just really got inspired by guitar itself and really wanted to play. I just naturally gravitated towards it.
HTR: Well I think you’ve got a really cool style, you’re kind of like a faster David Gilmour to me, you’re really soulful. And I’m looking at your fingers when you’re playing on the fret board and I can hardly tell that you’re moving them at all and I’m like, ‘How is he getting that many notes out of that hand that looks like it’s hardly moving?” So it looks like you’ve got a really good style down, you’re only pressing down on the fret board as much as you absolutely need to. Did you have to work really hard to learn how to do that?
GD: It’s that whole economy of motion type of thing, and being able to execute things with better dexterity, and trying to work on that is where it all came from, you know?
HTR: I remember when I first started playing guitar, I had to learn how to not raise my pinky up so high off the fret board, I always wanted to raise it up. I’d always be pressing way too hard with my fingers.
HTR: Did you ever have that problem?
GD: No, no. But I had my own problems, you know? Like, picking was always, ah, not so much now, but it was an issue, I have a little bit of a different picking style. So I had to kind of work things out with a different style. Well of course, I think it was all in my head because I was thinking there was only one real way to pick, but that’s not true at all. So I had to work on that.
HTR: What’s your picking style now, how do you hold the pick?
GD: I hold the pick sometimes with my thumb, my index, and my middle, but a lot of times I’m holding the pick with my thumb and my middle—so it’s a combination, depending on what I’m doing, you know?
HTR: Sometimes my index finger gets kinda fucked up, I’m like pressing too hard when I’m trying to pick really fast, and I thought that if I could hold it with a different finger than my index, it might save the index finger a little bit.
GD: You know, it’s just all about the experimentation of finding what works for you. I went through that whole trip of seeing other guitar players, they were all doing something similar, and I thought, “Oh, ok, I’m doing this all wrong,” and it screwed with me for a while. And I found out really, at the end of the day, that’s not true, number one, as I mentioned before.
And then, also, you gotta find what works for you. Because, certain things, yeah there’s rules. Certain things, there’s not really any specific way you have to do it. I’m not the only guy that has a weird picking style. There’s only one other guitar player I’ve ever seen use those two fingers, and that’s Eddie Van Halen.
So it’s just about finding [that] there might be certain little things you have to contour to make it work for you. I learned that the hard way.
HTR: So, you start playing around with Shawn, and you come up this band called Eidolon. Was that your first band, or did you join other bands before that?
GD: No, that was the first [time] we were trying to do something on a professional level. I mean you have to remember, when we started that I was pretty young. Before that we had bar bands and stuff along the way, and then we really wanted to do some specific recordings and shop them. We started off with instrumental music.
This was the early, early nineties, so we were inspired by all the Shrapnel stuff, all the instrumental stuff that was of course, initially designed by Yngwie, and then we tried to run that trip for a little while. And we made a go at it. And then that turned into a full-blown band, with vocals and all that stuff. And that went from there! So that the beginnings of the whole, if you wanna call it, moving-more-into-the-professional-thing, where we’re starting to put product together and trying to get signed. Not that we didn’t try to do things earlier on, but I think this was our first, I think, real step. And then it lead to us manufacturing and selling our own stuff independently, and then we got picked up by Metalblade, and then we did a whack of albums for them. And then, I joined King Diamond. They were on Metalblade at the time, so that was kind of interesting, being on the label twice at the same time.
HTR: You put out three albums with Eidolon before you joined King Diamond, right? ‘Sacred Shrine,’ ‘Zero Hour,’ and ‘Seven Spirits’?
GD: Well, to be honest, that was just a … tape. We did an instrumental tape, and then we did the next one, which was the beginnings of trying to make it a full metal band, with vocals, right?
HTR: Now how many albums did you put out before it was a full band?
GD: That would have been the CD after [Sacred Shrine], which was called ‘Zero Hour.’ That was the first, I would call the first full-band kind of thing, where it wasn’t me and Shawn and somebody else trying to take over all the duties, you know? We found a singer. Unfortunately, he was the wrong guy, and he hung in for a few albums. That was our mistake for letting it happen, but what are you gonna do.
HTR: (laughing) Yeah. Ok.
GD: And then we got to a point where we, of course fixed some of those mistakes. But yeah, it was that CD, that’s where it all started. And then independently we did two CDs. Because that one that you mentioned, that was really just a cassette.
HTR: The first one, ‘Sacred Shrine’?
GD: Right, yeah, it was just like, you know, we put it together, pressed 50 cassettes and, ‘Yeah, we can put it in some of the stores, and it’ll be sitting right next to this band,’ and we were just still really excited about just, ‘Hey, you know, what if someone buys our tape at the store?’
HTR: That’s awesome. So there’s three years between Sacred Shrine and Zero Hour, and then Zero Hour’s ’96 and Seven Spirits is ’97.
GD: Yeah, it was around that time.
HTR: Were you writing a whole bunch of songs at that time and being prolific? How did those two albums come out one year after the other?
GD: Yeah, we were doing like one, once a year. We weren’t even touring, so what else were we gonna do? This was at the time where it was not only exciting to start putting our stuff together, but it was also a very exciting time for me, because I was starting to put equipment together in my basement, in what would become the beginnings of doing actually professional, or (laughs), well somewhat professional recordings. It got better later, obviously, but that was a very, very exciting time when I was able to start putting these things together. You know, going from 4-track, to 8-track, to 16, 24, and on, and on.
HTR: Did you buy all the equipment yourself?
GD: Yeah. Yeah. When I started doing it, really a lot of people weren’t doing it back then, a lot of people were still going to the studio and spending a hundred dollars an hour, in the really early Nineties when I was doing that.
HTR: The production on those first few albums is pretty good, was that remastered by Metalblade, or is that all you?
GD: No, as a matter of fact it wasn’t. We just took our time, I had picked up a really good reel-to-reel that had an amazing head on it, and I used to spend a lot of time recordings sounds. Now, you can re-amp, or you can do this, or you can do that. Back then, with the equipment I had and the set-up, you had to be on the mark in terms of, to get the sound you wanted, you had to nail it before you recorded it. Which, in a way, is a really good thing. I was never a fix-it-in-the-mix-type of guy. Now, things are a little bit easier to change things, and this and that, which is good, in a way. Sometimes I take advantage of that and sometimes I don’t.
But I’ll never go and record with a sound that’s uninspiring. You go for it, and if you need to go in later on and do a slight adjustment, cool.
HTR: How did you get approached to do King Diamond? What did that look like?
GD: I sent an audition tape, ah … right around the early Nineties, when Shawn and I were doing the other stuff, to their booking agency, in Denmark at the time. And then to make a long story short, they sent the tape off to King, I got ahold of him, he said, “If it’s something that we feel fits stylistically, then who knows what can happen in the future?” They had a player at that point, but they were going thru quite a few of them. It seemed almost every album they were going thru a different guitar player on the other side of Andy LaRocque.
So I sent an audition tape, just a video tape of me playing some of the songs, and did a solo, or something. I did a 20- or 30-minute video or something, and in the end, he seen it, he liked it, and he called me, he said, “I really like what you’ve done here, I like your style, I think you would fit well in the band. If something comes up I’ll let you know.”
And then we kept in contact, just as friends, just talking, and one day I got a phone call. At that point I was working for Royal Airlines.
HTR: Ha! Doing what?
GD: No, I was not a pilot.
GD: I used to work in a hanger, just like a, an assistant for repairs and stuff like that. And then there was a situation where the airline was going bankrupt, and I didn’t have enough seniority, along with a few of the other guys there. So we were laid off! And during that time, the last few weeks I was there, I got this call, and that’s when everything changed, and, um… ever since then, pretty much everything I do, work-related, has been with music.
HTR: So what were the first steps to joining the band? What did they want you to do?
GD: Well, I didn’t need to audition because I did the initial video tape I sent way back, cause it was in ’97 that I joined. They sent me the setlist, I learned as much as I could, did my homework as much as I could, and went to rehearsals, and we just hit it off really really well personally and musically, and we had a lot of fun. It was a great time. It was a really exciting time in my life because it was my first pro band, and it was a band I idolized and was a huge fan of, so it was a very exciting time.
HTR: That’s awesome. Did you ever think to yourself, “I made it, I finally made it”?
GD: Well I don’t really think like that, to be honest with you. We would never, see that’s the thing with me and Shawn, we never, “Oh, we’re gonna do this, and we’re …. ” It’s all for the love of music, and I’ve never been about the materialistic side of it. I just was really happy about it, obviously. I was really excited, and felt really fortunate that I got the gig. Of course, I went after it, and I worked for it, but it could have been anybody, really. But I think it was one of those things that was kind of meant to be, because of the situation leading up to it. But had it not happen, I’d still be doing what I do, it’s always gonna be that way. That’s why I still record, even with the industry being upside down, (laughs), I’m still doing what I do because I love the music. It’s not about … any of the wrong reasons.
HTR: Well, that’s awesome. So did you guys make the album first or did you go on a tour?
GD: We did a U.S. tour with them before we went in to record the album.
HTR: So with King Diamond, Andy [LaRocque]’s the main guitar player, right, he’s been with him a long time and writes all the stuff?
GD: Well, he’s the original guitar player. I don’t know if you could call him the ‘main’ guitar player, because both guitar players in the band have equal duties: they both play lead, they both play acoustic, you know they both do the same kind of thing and it’s equal trade-off, and he’s more of a … he’s been there since the beginning.
HTR: So did you get any writing credits on that album?
GD: No, I didn’t write anything on that album.
HTR: Did you get to write any solos, or anything like that?
GD: Yeah, all the solos I constructed myself, and most of them were, “Yeah, okay we like that,” or sometimes, “Ahh, that’s a little weird,” or this or that, and then I’d change it, you know, and whatever. And the same kind of thing with Megadeth, same kind of deal, you know. I’d come up with something I think fits the bill and follow the procedure that I’d always follow, and then we’d see what they’d say, you know?
HTR: I wanted to ask what it was like playing onstage with that kind of theatrical production. I watched a couple videos of you on tour with them, and there were even sexy ladies onstage writhing at his feet, and I wondered if you had to kind of stand in your corner and not move so you won’t disrupt it?
GD: Yeah, it’s pretty much like that. There are times for doing a little bit of travelling and stuff like that around the stage, but you can’t do that all the time because he does a lot of stuff in the middle. And if you walk in front of him it looks kind of stupid because you’re in front of him while he’s doing something, so, you know, your timing has to be right.
I think with any band, even without theatrics, I think it’s important to have a symmetrical thing going on because, you know, if it looks stupid if it’s not like that, you know, you got two guys, and four guys, and three guys onstage, and then two of them are off to the side for a long time, you get to the other side of the stage, it doesn’t look like the band has their whole shtick down, is what it looks like to me when I see that. So it is important, I think, on any level, but especially of course with the theatrical stuff you have to be careful of what you’re doing. You have to pick your spots, and they gotta be at the right time.
HTR: Yeah. And King put a lot of effort into the production; every stage setup is really ornate, isn’t it?
GD: Yeah, I mean, look at their current one, it’s the biggest by far, it’s the best by far, they got this arena/shed tour coming up, it’s gonna be a great, great summer for that band. I’m really excited.
HTR: Love that guy’s voice; nobody can hit those falsettos and be as evil, it’s amazing.
GD: Yeah. Yeah, it’s all good stuff.
HTR: So, okay. Okay, Kind Diamond, you were done with those guys, what happened there? Did you leave voluntarily, or was it time to go? What happened?
GD: Yeah, my situation had changed, I just got married, I had a kid on the way. The tour at the time was pretty sporatic, so it was kinda hard to keep things consistent. When you put all that stuff, together, I had to step down. I felt bad about it, but I had to do it at that time, because my situation, and what I needed to do, and what my role was gonna be at home and professionally, and all that good stuff.
HTR: The first kid is a big deal, I’ve been there, man.
GD: Yeah. Yeah, but like I said, it was a thing where … well, if it was hardcore touring, I might have stepped down as well because I didn’t want to miss all that stuff, obviously, so it was just the timing, you know, and stuff like that.
HTR: So I see you put out four Eidolon albums between 2000 and 2003? You were obviously still craving the guitar?
GD: Yeah, the last one was the, whatchamacallit, the last one we put out …
HTR: We’ve got “Nightmare World,” “Hallowed Apparition,” “Coma Nation,” and “Apostles of Defiance.”
GD: And the last one, which was “Parallel Otherworld.” That one came out in 2005, or something, or 2006.
HTR: Didn’t Megadeth come before that?
GD: What had actually happened was that we did those four albums for Metalblade—“Coma Nation” and “Apostles of Defiance” being, in my opinion, by far the best—and then the last one, which was one of my favorites too. What happened was Shawn went to Andy [LaRocque]’s studio in Gothenburg to start recording, and we just demoed the whole album. Which is something we’d never really did before on any of the albums. When we would put an album together, we would record—you know, we’d write the songs, get them down, and then record. This time, we actually demoed them. So I actually have a demo version of that, well most of that album, anyway.
And then the record company, which was in Sweden at the time—this was Escapi, which was the label we signed with for the one album—and then Shawn went to Gothenburg to start the drum tracks. While he was in Gothenburg, doing the drum tracks, is when I got the gig.
So he there, all freaking out and everything, you know, and I just got this gig, and he’s all freaking out and he’s doing all the drum tracks. So it was a really exciting and strange time. And then he got home—cause he was only there for two weeks to do the album—he came home, I’m in rehearsals, and that’s when that whole thing went down with Nick being let go and Shawn being called in. That’s a whole other story.
HTR: But it was just kinda the perfect timing for Shawn to join right after you then, huh?
GD: Yeah, that’s basically what it was. He wasn’t supposed to be in the band. I joined the band, and it was gonna be Nick Menza who was the drummer. He was the first guy to be recruited, actually, and then it was me, and then ah ….
HTR: James Lomenzo?
GD: No, Jimmy McDonough.
HTR: Oh, right. For the tour for “The System Has Failed,” right?
GD: Yeah. He did the one tour, the US, and the European, and the Pacific Rim. He did the whole tour. Did the whole tour, and then when we were demoing the album that we did, that’s when he was replaced, during the demo phase of that album.
HTR: So what was it like auditioning for Megadeth?
GD: I didn’t actually audition. I just sent him an Eidolon album, and a couple of video clips, and we talked on the phone a couple times, that was it.
Actually, to be honest with you, I’ve never had a formal audition for any of the bands. Because of the situation with the first one, again, you know, I kept sending all the stuff we were doing. He had already seen the video tapes, he knew what was going on, he knew what I was capable of, from the—well, I mean, a formal audition, what I mean by that is going there and actually playing with the band. My auditions came from watching me play on video and hearing me play on an album. With the Testament gig, there was no audition, because I was just stepping in. And, we’d played together at various festivals and stuff like that. So when they asked me to do it, it was actually Gary Holt who recommended me for that one. I think they just kinda felt that, “Yeah, I’d be okay with this one.” And we had some conversations, and away we went.
HTR: So you join Megadeth, and it looks like you do “The System of Failed Tour,” two Gigantours, and then a whole bunch of shows and festivals in between. That sounds like a whole whirlwind of tours to start you off with the band.
GD: Yeah, it was a lot of work that we did in that time. Ya know? But I’m really happy to have done that, for various reasons—one being that it was just supposed to be a farewell tour, and then he was gonna change the name to Dave Mustaine. Which none of us really were interested.
GD: If he was gonna change it to Dave Mustaine, probably best to get a different band together, because it would have looked stupid, number one. And number two—I think, anyways; I don’t think it would have looked good—and then, number two, you know, we just wanted to be a part of the whole Megadeth, have it under that moniker. So, we just didn’t feel it made sense. And we worked really hard. Everything was going great. The crowds were great, we were getting great reviews, we were busting our asses, and he seen that, and I think decided you know, okay, I’m not gonna mess with this, let’s keep the ball rolling. So being part of that whole re-birth, and getting him not to change the name to his own name—I’m pretty happy and proud about that.
We just worked really well together. We worked hard, and we had a lot of fun, we were all excited, we were fans of the band, so we just busted our asses, but it wasn’t like work, it was fun. We wanted to do that. It was just a lotta, lotta fun.
HTR: How would you compare playing onstage with King Diamond versus with Megadeth?
GD: Um … (pause) I dunno. It was always great playing with my brother, because I never had to worry about him. We had some good drummers in when I was in the band … well, it was just the one drummer, I’m sorry, which was Jim [DeGrasso], and he was a good drummer, but with Shawn, I always felt you never had to worry about him. And you know, you never do.
HTR: You already had a lot of experience playing with him too, so you already knew his style, right?
GD: Yeah, right. So not only is he extremely consistent, metered, a very dependable drummer, and a team player, which of course is what makes him a good musician, as we know, but yeah, I had all that thing. So when I play with him, it’s always a tight thing, because we’ve been playing together since day one, like I said before, the very first day I got my electric guitar, that’s what we were doing that afternoon. We were playing, till I blew up the amp.
HTR: (laughing) You blew that amp, the little two-watt thing?
GD: Yeah, I had to turn it on full to keep up with the drums. It was only two watts, so I ended up blowing it. So ever since then, we’ve played in school bands, and bar bands, and professional bands.
HTR: That’s amazing, that’s the full gamut. You’ve played with him in every kind of band conceivable.
GD: Right, right. Yep, every different level, pretty much.
HTR: Okay, so you go into the studio and you’re recording United Abominations—that was album you were on, right?
HTR: So, did Dave write everything? Did you get co-writing credits on any songs?
GD: Yeah, I got one co-writing credit on one song. It’s called “Never Walk Alone.” I wrote part of that song, actually just the instrumental part. It was a small part, but that was … was good, you know? (laughing) Because it was the only credit that any of us got, which was good. So at least one of us made it on the album.
And then I did have something to do with “ Sleepwalker” thing, too—not the music, that’s Dave’s song.
HTR: Now, I was gonna ask you, it sounds like that’s your guitar that starts out the whole album. Is that your opening thing right there, on Sleepwalker?
GD: Well, truth be told, what you’re hearing when you listen to that song in particular, most of the guitars that you’re hearing are mine.
HTR: Most of them?
GD: That song was mixed in that way. The clean guitars are mine at the beginning, and the distorted guitars that you hear thru the song, dominantly what you’re hearing are my guitars.
HTR: Why didn’t Dave do more guitars?
GD: Most of the songs that were Dave’s, I think, [were more dominantly him], I’m not sure, but I know that on that song for sure, mine are. I’m not sure why it was mixed that way, but that’s how it was mixed.
HTR: Well, that’s pretty badass, man.
GD: Also, the song wasn’t going to make the album, and it’s a good thing it did, because a lot of the songs are kind of slower-to-mid-tempo. We really needed a faster track, and it wasn’t going to make the album. And then me and Andy [Sneap] were working on a rough demo of it, and then the record company it, and said, “We gotta put this on the album,” and I guess they talked Dave into that one, and then it winded to be the first song on the album. And like I said, had it not been on there, it would have been a little bit, kind of, I think off-balance.
HTR: Yeah, I think so too, it did need a faster song. I mean, I love the faster Megadeth stuff from back in the day, so I think it was a good addition.
GD: Yeah, you gotta have some of that stuff on there, you know? I think it was just a little too laid back, the original version of the album. And also “Never Walk Alone” was not supposed to be, that was written after, because we changed producers.
HTR: Oh, that’s one of the heavier ones, too.
GD: Yeah, we changed producers, and the original version of the album did not contain those two songs. It was basically everything but those two songs, and it was rejected by the label, for certain reasons. It just wasn’t there. The guitars were weak. It wasn’t as strong. It needed to be presented in a proper way, and it was not the proper way. And then that’s when we had to change producers, and that’s when Andy Sneap came in and really saved the day with the album. You know, he bumped up the production, brought the guitars where they needed to be, and made it sound more like a Megadeth record. And then we added those two songs, and it ended up being a much better record. So I’m really thankful of that, because the original version is definitely a very weak shadow of what you hear.
HTR: Did any of those first producers’ songs end up making it onto the final album?
GD: Oh yeah, a lot of them made it onto the album, but I think the vocals were re-done on a lot of them, the guitars—I think a lot of the tracks were still there—but they were re-amped and made to sound more like a Megadeth guitar and not a rock n’ roll guitar.
HTR: I wanted to say, on the track, “United Abominations,” there’s, during the bridge part, there’s two solos, and first it’s Dave, and then you come in with your solo immediately when his ends. And it’s really obvious because you’re more bendy and fluid and kind of flowing on the neck, and I thought it really complimented Dave’s really well, and I just wanted to say that was really cool man.
GD: Thanks man, I really appreciate that.
HTR: Yeah, I mean you could write and play a solo that could stand alongside the legendary Dave Mustaine, that’s quite a feat. That’s really cool.
GD: It might be that song, I can’t remember, but there is one song on there where I really like what he did, probably one of the best solos I’ve ever heard him do. I can’t remember what song it is. But literally, probably one of the best solos, if not the best solo I’ve ever heard him do. And I can’t remember what damn song it is.
GD: It’s been a long time since I’ve heard that album.
HTR: Okay, so, okay. I’m gonna ask you a question, and I don’t want to be a dick, but you didn’t like playing those other previous guitar players’ solos to a tee, because you didn’t want to be a puppet, right?
GD: No, I tried to keep the solos as close as I could. But you see, I think there’s a lot of people who focus on these silly things, and it really is a waste of time. Everybody’s got their view, and that’s cool. But you know, I’m not any of those guys, man. See? And neither is anybody else. The new guy? He’s not the same guy, it’s a different person. So we all have different personalities, we all have our own DNA. So I always thought, I mean even with King Diamond, I always went in, and I try to play the solos at least have the key melody there, intact, so that when anybody hears it they hear those key parts, and it’s identifiable.
Now, of course, saying that, it’s really subjective anyways, because even sometimes I play or somebody plays a solo properly, one guy’s gonna say, “No, you didn’t play it right.” Meanwhile the guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And it’s all subjective garbage, and who cares really, anyways. I went in, I tried to keep the stuff as close as I could, but I think it’s very important that you obtain you own feel and everything else, because if you don’t, then yeah then it’s kind of robotic, because you’re going thru the motions of trying to be someone else that you’re not. So I think, if you try to mimic maybe some vibrato parts from solos, the feel, and parts like main key phrases, and still maintain your own thing, and deliver it with your DNA, I think you’ve got something.
I mean, I don’t wanna go see a guy and think he sounds exactly like this guy. I want to see him play the solos, I don’t want him to be self-indulgent and play something completely different, I don’t want to see that, either. But at least, play like you, too. I wanna hear what you have to say. I think people get hung up on this crap so much, that I think it was an elephant on stage, and it played the solo the same, maybe people would be happy, I’m not sure. I don’t really get hung up on this stuff, I come more from the musician’s standpoint.
HTR: Well, I mean you’re on on that DVD, “That One Night: Live in Argentina,” and I was watching you play solos like on “Tornado of Souls,” and kinda what you’re describing there kind of sounds like what you were doing. You played like, for the most part, the solos like Marty Friedman did, or one of Chris Poland’s solos, but it wasn’t exactly the same, it sounded kind of like a Glen Drover mixed in there.
GD: All you can do is try to be yourself, and again, just try to play the solos, and whatever you do, just try to keep it close, and help people identify with it.
HTR: I think you did a really good job, man. I think was all sounding pretty awesome.
NORTHERN LIGHT ORCHESTRA
HTR: So, you left Megadeth, and I wanted to ask you about Northern Light Orchestra. Did you play with these guys for an album or something?
GD: No, I think it was just one solo on a track, or something.
HTR: Oh, that was it?
GD: Yeah, yeah.
HTR: How did that come about?
GD: Just contacted by the guys over there, and they asked me if I’d be interested in doing a solo spot for the upcoming, that Christmas album that they did, and did a solo on one of the songs, you know?
HTR: So who’s the main creative force behind that?
GD: I can’t remember. I can not remember.
HTR: Well, that’s okay. I didn’t realize your contribution was so minimal, I thought you were on a whole album or something like that.
GD: Nope. Well, maybe that’s because you’re looking at Wikipedia.
HTR: Well, yeah I tried to Google it, and Google your name with the band name, I couldn’t find it.
GD: Oh, okay. Cause I know it’s probably mentioned there, but no, I didn’t uh, that was it, just a solo.
HTR: Okay. Well. Okay, let’s come to the present day. Is it called “Glen Drover Band,” or just “Glen Drover”?
GLEN DROVER / METALUSION
GD: Well, it was called that for that one album. I wanted to call it Metalusion, but the record company wanted to use my name, because they wanted to exploit, obviously, all the Megadeth stuff. But now it’s changed to the proper name, but on that particular album, yes it’s under my name. And the band name, which is now the band name, is now the title of that album. So yeah, it’s purely an instrumental project, I got together with some musicians who are really good.
HTR: Yeah, like Chris Poland, who’s on the first track.
GD: Yeah, there’s a bunch of different players on there. Yeah, so I just wanted to do something where people … just to hear something different than I’d normally done. Also, I was doing other kinds of music that I’d grown up with that I’d never played, or recorded properly, anyways. And that’s what that album really is all about, you know, just putting together prog, and rock, and metal, and jazz fusion, and putting together an instrumental album.
HTR: So you got to revive some old songs in the process?
GD: Yeah, we did that for fun. As we were checking each other out for quality of musicianship, I used a few instrumental covers. And they wound up turning out really well, and I decided I wanted to put them on the album. So it wasn’t a conscious effort to make sure that half the album was covers and the other half wasn’t, because that’s pretty much what it is, so.
HTR: Who’s Vinnie Moore?
GD: Vinnie Moore is a guitar player, he’s been around for a long time. He started out with the whole Shrapnel movement, with all those guys, Tony McAlpine, Joey Tafolla, and all those guys. He now plays in UFO.
HTR: And Steve Smyth? What’s his history?
GD: Steve Smyth, he’s played in a few bands, he’s was in Testament, he’s now in Forbidden, uuh, some other bands that slip my mind right now. Testament, for sure he was in that band, and he might have even done one or two solo albums. [Editor’s note: according to Wikipedia, he hasn’t. –G, 15.06.18]
HTR: I’m looking on Spotify, you’ve got some cool stuff on there. You’ve got a song from 2015 called Mystic Ocean ….
GD: Yeah, that’s a small instrumental I put together and threw out there a few months back, yeah, for fun.
HTR: Cool, cool. So you got plans to keep making music?
‘GLEN DROVER AND FRIENDS’
GD: Yeah, of course. I’m actually slowly working on a thing now where I’m doing an album where every song is gonna have a different guest vocal on it.
HTR: Yeah, I read about this. It looks like you have some pretty big names coming in on that one.
GD: Yeah, it’s people that I like, singers who I feel make sense to work with, and want to work with. I’m still in the process of contacting some guys, and it looks like I pretty much have the whole roster set up right now, between eight to 10 singers right now I have.
And I’ll be just initially putting them out initially as singles—do one song at a time, finish it, move on to the next one—put it out as a digital download, for fun, and then at the end of the day I’ll compile them and put them together as a whole album where it’ll be on hard copy for vinyl and CD.
Or whatever format might be the next big thing at the time, I dunno. I have no idea what’s happening in the world of music, as far as that goes. And I don’t think anybody else does.
HTR: Yeah. That’s up for debate. Are you gonna release it under the name Metalusion?
GD: No, that will be under mine, because the Metalusion project is the one that you mentioned before, that’s all instrumental. That’s a different thing. This is just like, this is kinda like, ‘Glen Drover and Friends,’ you know?
HTR: (laughing) Ok, cool, you gonna call it that?
GD: Well, for now, every song will have vocals on it, and it’s just about doing an album, with again, just a bunch of … it’s been done before, you know, but, uh ….
HTR: Yeah, well I’m reminded of like, what Dave Grohl did with his album Probot, and also what he did with The Foo Fighters and the Sonic Highways thing, did any of those inspire you at all?
GD: No, I mean, as far as doing that?
HTR: Yeah, I mean, well with Probot, he got a different singer for every song. He wrote all the songs on the album, yeah.
GD: Right. Well, I don’t know if it came from, it might’ve, I dunno, I know it’s been done a few times, but I just, I had the idea–I’d like to do an album, and I thought I’d like to work with this guy, and this guy too, and I thought, ‘You know, wait a minute, why don’t I just work with a bunch of guys and we’ll all do different songs? Just do a big party, you know?
HTR: That’s gonna lend a really varied feel to all the songs.
HTR: It’s got a good community feel to it.
GD: Yeah, exactly.
METAL FOR HIRE
HTR: So you’re teaching guitar lessons too, these days?
GD: Yeah, but mostly it’s really a lot of session work that I do, which brings us to the Metal for Hire thing. Right?
GD: So, I’ll tell you a little bit about that.
HTR: Please do.
GD: So, this a thing where, it’s really just kind of an extension of what I already do, which is helping artists or bands out with solo spots, production, mixing, mastering, and tracks in general, too. Could be anything, really. Anything related to recording, and song structure—the whole preparation and doing the recording, from beginning to end, basically. And that’s what these guys do basically, they have all these different guys from the industry.
HTR: So who do you work with, young artists who are just trying to put together songs, or like are you working with whole bands that are, uh ….
GD: That’s what I’m getting at, yeah. So basically it’s a community of different musicians, that are from known bands and so forth, and yeah anybody can go in and hire you. I mean, obviously, we decide if it’s something we’d be interested in doing, but that’s what it’s about—you can go on there, and contact a musician, an artist, and ask them if they would be interested in doing a specific thing for them, and everything is worked out on the website financially, and material-wise and all that kinda stuff, and away you go! It’s that simple!
HTR: So who do you work with, who are the people that this community serves, like, young artists, right? Emerging artists?
GD: Right. Yeah, that’s exactly what it is.
HTR: Okay, yeah, that brings us to the end of the interview. I don’t have anything else for you. Thanks, man.
GD: Okay, yeah. Absolutely. We definitely covered a lot of ground, which was great.
For the past few days I’ve been in full-on composition mode—writing, recording, and editing the score to “I May Have Seen the Devil.” My director, coworker, and friend Alejandro has been very good about delivering advice and criticism, keeping me on track.
“In general, you can probably just assume that if it feels too slow it’s about 77% of the way to where it needs to be,” he told me recently. The metal musician in me always wants to get hevvy. Slowing my music down has been challenging, but I’m coming up with some awesome work, and I can’t wait to share it with our audiences.
Alejandro has a vision, and I aim to make it real. My style is going to permeate this thing, but that’s what you get when you hire a composer. This is a good thing. The best David Lynch movies are bolstered by the musical styles of Angelo Badalamenti. The best old-school “Final Fantasy” games and “Lost Odyssey” are made sweepingly beautiful by Nobuo Uematsu’s scoring techniques.
Alejandro wanted me to be his music guy for #IMHSTD, even though I’d never scored a play or motion picture. That kind of trust is invaluable. It’s my first foray into soundtrack work, so I really appreciate the opportunity. It’s golden. It opens up a window of new career prospects.
We’ve had a few musical meetings, and it’s helped because wrapping my head around this thing has been difficult. It’s Shakespeare, but it’s Alejandro’s warped retelling.
In one of our meetings, he mentioned that Hans Zimmer used an out-of-tune piano in scoring Man of Steel, and if I could do something like that, it would work well in a certain scene. So I searched around a little and came up with these YouTube videos utilizing that sound. I think it’s funny that this is the direction composing is taking me, at least for today. Enjoy.
Today I updated my About page and made it into a sort of abbreviated, life-long work resume, devoid of times and containing brief explanatory grafs. I’ll post it here too. I’m in the process of making this site look more like an online portfolio, in an effort to apply to The Fearey Group.
I admire the people there, especially their CEO.
Yes, I am putting lots of eggs into one basket. I’m obsessed. I don’t care. I can handle the rejection. I’m not stopping with this one application, mind you. You have to set your sights on something sometimes, and go for it with gusto. Whipping out application after application, each consisting of but a resume and CL, has landed me 0 jobs.
This blog post by said CEO clued me in to a possible reason for that. You have to treat each application like an assignment for a college class—new resume, cover letter, portfolio, a creative way to send it. Going beyond the usual coursework, it’s essential to network, network, network. It’s all part of a whole package.
This forces you to spend a week or two preparing all your work, fine-tuning the pieces, compiling them into an impressive whole. If you do all the work, plus the networking, you’re almost guaranteed an interview. And when that happens, follow up, every time. Show them you’re interested.
2O13 was a year of a few important firsts for myself, and I’m feeling good. It is almost with a hevvy heart that I feel the year’s passing—but since I’m logical, and that years are collections of time to record Earth’s revolutions around its star, the true reasons behind which lie unsolved, my perspective inverses.
Last year was nothing. All those goals 2O13 saw were small time. Now it’s time to get your game in the head and make some real shiz happen. Namely: it’s time to find that niche, man. It’s time to make that paper. It’s time to find where I fit professionally in American culture. It’s time to start paying off those student loans, and live in at least semi-comfort, and be a better provider for my wife and daughters.
First 1 √ 2013 saw me graduate from the University of Washington with a BA, something I had been working towards for 13 years. That’s not an exaggeration. When I started at my first community college, it was in September of 2000, the fall after my spring high school graduation. Now, thirteen years later, I’ve been to two of those, and two universities.
So what do I do now? With my shiny new communication degree, I’m trying to find PR work here in Seattle. Hopefully 2O14 can be the year I find my first PR gig, and to make it a strong possibility, I’ve already got the ball rolling. I’ve got a few informational interviews coming up. Now that I think about it,
First 2 √ 2O13 was the year of my first informational interview, with Aaron Blank, CEO of The Fearey Group. It went really well. He gave me concrete advice to get me started. Utilizing said advice got me those interviews.
Part and parcel of finding work in PR, I’ve since learned, is to become a social media wizard. Learn it. Get inside it. Familiarize yrself with the ins and outs of its circuits. And market yourself online. So, since I just happen to have this snazzy site here, I’ve been paying more attention to it, trying to stay on top of maintenance better than I have been for the past few years. The first step? Shorten up that About page! Cheeze and rice, what was I thinking?
First 3 √ 2013 saw Andrew and I finish our first official demo for Freeze. Here it is, via Bandcamp. We’re really proud of this one. Recorded with a session drummer who worked for free, we did this one all analogue, pvre kvlt black metal. The only trace of anything digital is the bouncing of tracks from analogue tape masters to .wav files. You can hear the tape hiss in there, it’s beavtifvl.
Now, I’m gonna get hevvy on you. Time for some bad news.
2013 also saw my father suffer his first cancerous tumor. Because he caught the signs and sought treatment early enough, all traces of it were removed. But it scared the piss out of me, and it made me think that moving back to Michigan, the area my family’s from, is the next logical step. My girls need to know their family back in the midwest.
So, since Michigan’s got its fair share of troubles economically and socially, and since Megan and I moved out of there for those reasons (and to just see more of the world together), we’re thinking, ‘How can we minimize the impact of moving back?’ Answer: I get my career rolling here, and get some real working PR experience. Around the same time, I take a vacation to Michigan and scout out potential places to live and work.
Importantly, we must decide on a city. Grand Rapids, it so happens, is almost equidistant between Megan’s family and mine, is the biggest city in Michigan lately, and is the most likely place to be able to find work. Start big, why not?
I heard a story on NPR yesterday that reminded me that Flint and Detroit sport the almost-highest and highest, respectfully, rates of gun violence.
Uuuuhhh, can I keep my family far the fuck away from there, please? Criminy, why does my family never move out of that area, they’re embedded there and they’re sucking me back in. There must be a reason. I think it’s the woods. And the drastic variation in seasons. I miss snow. I miss camping. I miss riding my bike on weird two-tracks and trails and strange dirt roads in the woods. I miss isolation, and true silence. You don’t get that here in the city.
I had my whole childhood and high school experience there. I suppose it’s embedded in me, too.
… that I could be doing live recording again. I still only have one solid mic, but I have a laptop that, for better or worse, gets me long-form recordings without latency.
See, that was my whole problem, outlined in the previous post: latency during digital recording. It happens when your computer can’t accommodate the processing power / space (I’m improvising here) that running your programs requires. In my case, I was using my old Windows laptop, my Line 6 UX2 digital preamp (which is phantom-powered thru USB, taking additional precious processing power from the computer), and Audacity for recording software.
My realization is that, since that last post, I’ve both inherited a used, recording-capable MacBook, but that I’ve been using it to record, with my Line 6 preamp and Audacity, for the past few months with my new band Freeze. My plea for drummers to join Freeze is what occupies the front page of this website. I’m going to update that after I finish writing this. Oh, but let’s finish the thought. What I realized is not that I’m using a computer to record—I mean, that’s obvious: I’M THE ONE WHO’S BEEN DOING IT, OF COURSE I’D REALIZE IT—but that –
I can do live recording again, latency-free.
GAAAAH! JIMMINY CHRISTMAS WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN DOING THIS ALREADY?
Oh yeah, I just graduated and didn’t have time before.
Recorded live at The Comet Tavern in Seattle, 12.08.21., just after Clouds Over Moscow’s set.
Heavily mathrock-influenced local Seattle trio.
Recorded off the board–two mics pointed towards the stage from the soundboard. You get a room sound, and the feel of being at the actual show. Only problem is the sound kind of sucks–it’s vibrating where it shouldn’t be. I can hear the computer clutching to keep up with the recording process.
It’s not a great sound mix, either. Mids seem to dominate, which isn’t bad, but there’s not enough low end. Lowering one or both mics might work.
It’s kind of a wake-up call, a reality check for me–before I go out recording bands, I need to make sure my equipment runs well first, and then get a better mix before recording.
Horse before the cart, and all that.
Hear some better versions of Steradian material here, at their bandcamp page.