Shawn Drover, fresh off his departure from Megadeth, has emerged with his new band Act Of Defiance with former Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick. Shawn gave us the insight on what led to his departure from Megadeth, getting their record deal with Metal Blade, and how they got their band name.
Shockwave Magazine: Let’s jump right into it, Act Of Defiance’s debut album, Birth And The Burial, it’s out and how do you feel about it?
Shawn Drover: Finally. We put a lot of work and effort into this. It’s finally out and people other than journalists are able to now hear it, the fans and potential fans, and it’s pretty gratifying.
With all the work and time you put into it, did you feel that it was a release and relief getting to do this project for you after everything you did with Megadeth for ten years?
It’s just a different situation. Being with that band for so long, I had a lot of great experiences and had a lot of things I never would have been able to do had I not been in that band, so I’m very grateful for that. From a musical standpoint, yes. The fact that I wrote half this record certainly allowed me to express myself the way I wanted to, and have the musical vision that I wanted. That’s always a positive and gratifying thing as well.
I do want to keep this very much about Act of Defiance, but I did want to ask this for your fans and their curiosity. Was there anything in particular that drove you and Chris’ (Broderick) departure? Did you feel like it was just time?
Yeah. I just felt that I was at a crossroads. The band was taking over a year off. I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to take a year off, but in hindsight it was a blessing. I started to think about where I was at in my career and what I wanted to do for my future. I started to get more of an itch to do what I wanted to do musically and to write heavier songs and things of that nature. So I made the decision to leave, and when I confided in Chris about what my intentions were, he was thinking the same thing. So we decided to write together, and when he was thinking what I was thinking about wanting to write heavier songs he was now able to do it. We decided to join forces and see where it takes us and that’s what we did.
Are you happy with the final product for the new album? How was the writing?
I think it turned out really, really great. It really exceeded my expectations too. You have to remember that once I left that band, Chris and I had to start from scratch in terms of writing material, finding a band, finding a producer, an artist record label, manager, booking agent. All those things that we’re having to do on our own and we have done. Aside from creating all the music for this record and all the things that go along with that, and finding band guys, we had to take care of all the other stuff and get all those ducks in a row. Chris and I worked incredibly hard in getting everything we wanted to done in a timely manner. Everything has gone according to plan 100% and I can’t complain about that. In terms of writing the material, Chris and I decided we were going to write five songs each and really the only blueprint we had was just to make a 100%, uncompromising heavy metal record.
Where did you choose your name from?
Choosing a name for a metal band dude is a bitch, I’m telling you. At this point in the game, Black Sabbath started this in 1969 and a lot of the good names are taken. We had probably 10, 12 names but we both liked the name Defiance a lot. I like Dark Defiance, you like Death Defiance. Then you do your research. Does anybody have that name? Do they have legal right to the name? At least nine or ten names, someone had the rights to them so that’s out the window right away. We started toying around with the word Defiance and Chris thought maybe we should use three words instead of two, so we tried Act Of Defiance and we both really liked it right away, and we did some research and it wasn’t taken by anybody so we went with that.
When it came to you going out to find management, etcetera, what did you do first? Did you form the band first so you had something to itch to these potential managers, or did you try to find someone to represent you first?
All of the above. Once we got management, we got Jim Carroccio, we took everything we could take on at the same time while we were creating the record. It was nonstop for us. It was exciting and new and organic. It was all done for the love of heavy metal. We didn’t form this band to be popular or try to write music that’s huge, but if you try to be popular then heavy metal is not the music you wanna make. Country music is where it’s at as far as the selling point of America. Obviously, with a record like Birth And The Burial, it’s strictly for the love of heavy metal, not to sell a ton of records. Now if it sells a ton of records, hey that’s great, but that was not our intention — it was just to make a slamming metal record and we’re pleased with the results.
Your and Chris’ departure from Megadeth right into the forming of this band with an album due out all happened in a matter of months, so it truly shows how committed you were to forming and getting music out to the fans.
It was a huge undertaking, it really was. We had two songs in demo form at the time that we finally got Henry (Derek, vocals) to be part of the band. So, we had the two songs in demo form, and lucky for us Metal Blade Records was interested in us instantly. They offered us a deal in less than one week, and that saved us a lot of time in hunting down record labels and going through that whole process of getting denied by 35 record companies. Ultimately they were where we wanted to be anyway. I started my career with Metal Blade when I had the Eidolon band together and we put out a bunch of records on Metal Blade in the late 90s, early 2000s, so it’s a homecoming for me and Chris as well. Everything seemed to work out really well for us, so we’re thankful for that.
What do you want the fans to get from this album?
I just want those who enjoy it and appreciate it. That’s all I want. At the end of the day, as a musician, when you’re creating a record you’re trying to make the best record you can. I don’t understand why anybody would try to do otherwise, why you would intentionally try to make a shit record. You always go in there with the best intentions of writing the best songs and playing it the best you can.
I think you have to love it first. I couldn’t put out a record that I wrote and didn’t believe in. So, first and foremost I had to love it, which I do, and then you just hope that others like it as well. They latch on to what you’re doing over time. They see that you’re genuine and doing this for the right reasons. Again, it’s for the love of this genre of music that’s been so great for so many years. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here, we’re just trying to write metal songs. That’s all it is, that’s the long and the short of it. You just hope that you build a following by touring and playing live and putting out a good record. It’s kind of the old school way of thinking, but I think it still holds true. Ultimately, you have to go out and play for the people who appreciate your music, otherwise you are just a project. We are a real band, this is the real deal. This is not something that we worked on for a couple months and then I’ll go do another seven bands. That’s not me. How can you focus on seven things at once? I’d rather do one thing very well.
With everything coming up as far as promotion goes for the new record, what do you guys have coming up for touring so people can see you?
We just announced a tour with Allegaeon that will be going on in October. I think they released that yesterday online and you can find that all over all of our social medias, Metal Blade social media, and all of the heavy metal websites. We start October 22nd in Las Vegas, but that’s just the start. I would like to tour at least a year to a year and a half on this record, everywhere we could possibly play and build a following the old school way and keep releasing good music.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk.
Alright dude, I appreciate it.
Act Of Defiance’s debut album, Birth And The Burial is out now and they’ll be on tour in October with Allegaeon.