Glen Drover Is Working on New Instrumental Album
Former Megadeth and King Diamond guitarist Glen Drover was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The guitarist discussed his latest album, Imperium, which was released under the name Walls of Blood. The record features a number of guest musicians, including Chuck Billy (Testament), Tim 'Ripper Owens (ex-Judas Priest, The Three Tremors), Todd La Torre (Queensryche) and others.
In the interview below, he explained the writing process behind Imperium and how his approach differs for full songs compared to instrumental ones as heard on his solo album Metalusion, which was released in 2011. He has plans for a follow-up, which he also elaborated on.
Check out the chat below.
Imperium features a diverse lineup of singers representing a wide spectrum of different metal voices. In what ways did you tailor different tracks for the different vocalists?
Good question. Basically, I think for the most part what I did was I would have a singer in mind that I wanted to have included on the record and then plan a song around that — write a song around that particular singer's style in hopes that it would work.
It is a long distance collaboration, so it is just about trying to find the right song to suit that singer's style and hope all is going to turn out really well and for the most part, it did. I think it was only two songs that didn't work out and everything else was great. What you hear for the most part, from all the different singers on the album, is pretty much what they did and I really didn't mess around with it too much. It worked out really well.
It was released under the name Walls of Blood rather than Glen Drover. Why is that distinction important?
Probably to alleviate some confusion between past stuff that I have done. Like for example, I did Metalusion, which was an instrumental album and it was not metal, although, there are elements of that I suppose because of some of my playing. But there is also some elements of progressive '70s style kind of rock and jazz fusion and all that kind of - just basically the stuff that I grew up with and some of the musicians that were involved in that project grew up with, as well.
I wanted to have that - again to alleviate that confusion between the two and I had already had people ask me if it was going to be another instrumental album and I just wanted to come up with something that was going to be with that title it is very clear as to what you are going to hear. It is not going to sound like Anne Murray. With that title you know it is going to be a metal album. So that was pretty much that main driving force behind it.
There's an Alice in Chains cover on the album that features your brother Shawn on drums. What is unique about the musical connection between the two of you?
Actually, for a correction here, he actually didn't play on that track, but he did have his hand in a lot of the stuff on the album like lyrics and co-wrote a lot of the music with me. But to answer the question about - me and Shawn have been working together since we were very young, so it is a natural thing. He will help me with my stuff and I help him with his stuff. We just always have a hand in each other's projects, aside from what we do together and I don't think I would ever do anything without bouncing anything off of him whether it is a mix or just part of a song or whatever it is. He is always my main reference point for what I am working on to either give me the thumbs up or not.
In addition to Imperium you've also been working on something of a follow up to Metalusion, your instrumental album. What's different behind instrumental songs compared to songs with lyrics?
It is just basically approaching the song when I am trying to assemble it, getting a structure together, have that thing in mind... "Okay, this is going to be a vocal" and so you have that thing in mind of, "Okay well here this is going to probably be the verse section and it is going to be this long" and the same thing for all the other sections, bridges and choruses and whatnot.
Whereas with instrumental, I suppose you can take it to a lot of different places and get away with more I think. But still, certain things like some of the songs that I write are more complex. Some of them are more straightforward. The ones that are more straightforward are usually a little more melodic. So I will kind of almost treat it like a vocalized song where this is the verse kind of section where I am going to be doing like a theme melody line on guitar, which is basically taking place of the vocals.
So there are some similarities, but, I think, for the most part, the more complex stuff and that kind of thing — you can play around with it more and get away with more rather than just the vocalized stuff. So you just have to have that in mind while you are structuring a song.
Glen, you've spent several years with Megadeth but people might also remember you from King Diamond before that. How did you grow as a musician from being in those bands?
Well, when I joined King Diamond, it was back in '97-'98, this was the first band that I had ever joined where it was a more professional level. Going out and touring and recording albums on a higher scale and you are green going in, basically. But you learn quickly once you get on the road — what to do, what not to do.
And then going from King Diamond to Megadeth, I played a lot more with them, and that again was another step up the ladder in terms of popularity, if you want to call it that. I learned a lot from both bands. Tons of stuff. Again, a lot to do with how to conduct yourself, things to avoid and things you should do while you are on the road and learning a lot of tricks and stuff in the studio as well -- different things that I had never been exposed to. You learn from that. You learn from both the live and the studio experiences.
What other plans do you have for the rest of this year?
There's a couple of things, I am not going to get into right now because it is not 100 percent, so it would be foolish of me to comment on that right now or talk about it. But there are a few things that are very cool coming up, possibly.
The instrumental album follow-up — [I'm] going to be trying to finish that up in the next few months or so, hopefully, and putting that out at some point. I don't know, aside from that, it is really hard to say [with] the whole Walls of Blood thing — is it just going to be a recording project? Is it something that might streamline and possible play some shows? I don't know but the one sure thing is the instrumental album, follow-up to the Metalusion one, to get that finished and put it out.
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