Former MEGADETH and current ACT OF DEFIANCE drummer Shawn Drover was recently interviewed for the “Metal Brainiac” podcast. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the current landscape for metal bands:
Drover: “From an artistic perspective, it’s probably the best it’s been since the ’80s. The festivals in Europe are thriving. For metal fans, it’s unbelievable. It’s not just Europe anymore. It’s probably bigger in South America, I would almost say, than pretty much anywhere in the world, if you wanna have a contest about it. But, you know, the point being, there’s so many places… Dubai, India… It just goes on… Australia… It goes on and on and on. There’s a lot of fans who love metal — certainly a whole new generation since I was younger back in the ’80s and stuff. But it’s a different time. The flipside to this conversation, which we can talk about this forever, is that, unlike the ’80s when MTV came out and everybody supported the music by buying the product — ‘cause it was the only way you could do it; you had to physically buy the product — now everybody can steal it. So although there’s, I would say, as many fans for metal as there was back in the ’80s, maybe even more, the fact that you can get something for free is killing the industry, because now the record companies don’t have tour support for young bands, so you can’t put anything into your stage production. Record companies won’t sign you. They’ll drop you in a heartbeat if you don’t sell… your first record doesn’t do well. All those things… There’s no taking time and building the artist over three or four records, like there was back in the ’70s, with RUSH and VAN HALEN and all those bands. If one record didn’t do well, well, they would try again. That was certainly the case with RUSH. So when people don’t buy music, they can bitch about it all they want, saying that everybody’s trying to be a rock star. Horseshit! It’s like me going into your house and stealing your TV. It’s theft, and it’s killing the industry.”
On what’s going to happen to younger bands that can’t afford to tour to the level that more established acts can:
Drover: “That’s ultimately the question, isn’t it? Ultimately, what can be done to get people to buy and support the bands again? That’s the $64,000 question. And the answer is, at this point, no one has the answer. Do you come up with a new format to put out music, where you can’t put it in your computer and ultimately burn it? That enabled someone to figure out how to get that onto your computer to where you can start doing filesharing. Which, that whole Napster horseshit happened in the late ’90s that Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] got crucified for by certain people, because they thought he was being pretentious and all that stuff, when he was absolutely right — he was a hundred percent right — and no one can argue that. But at the end of the day, the proof is in the decline of sales. Look at it every year. Look at it from 1995 to now. Look from 1985 to now.”
On whether the decline in sales of CDs can be attributed to the fact that the currrent generation of Internet users is accustomed to obtaining free music:
Drover: “You could take the viewpoint of the kid, saying, ‘We were always able to get this for free. Why should I pay for it?’ And I get it. Some of them do it without really thinking about what it’s really doing; others do it in a malicious way where they’re, like, ‘Fuck those guys! I’m gonna steal it ‘cause I think it’s funny,’ or just being a douche. But you can find someone who would go steal your CD in a music store too, so there’ll always be that kind of people… The only thing that people can’t steal anymore is going to a concert and being at the concert and having that experience. Of course, everybody films that and puts in on YouTube, but it’s obviously not the same. Watching old VAN HALEN videos from 1981, it’s cool to watch on YouTube, but unless you were there, like I was, it’s a completely different experience, man. You just have no clue.”
ACT OF DEFIANCE, which also includes former MEGADETH guitarist Chris Broderick, ex-SCAR THE MARTYR singer Henry Derek Bonner and SHADOWS FALL’s Matt Bachand (bass), released its debut album, “Birth And The Burial”, on August 21 via Metal Blade Records.