By Carl Begai
The Drover family name is well known in metal circles, associated first and foremost with Megadeth. Brothers Glen (guitars) and Shawn (drums) rose to international fame as part of Dave Mustaine’s strike force for four and 10 years respectively, but some Canadian metalheads were locked into the siblings back in the early ’90s when they launched their powerprog outfit Eidolon. Now, a third Drover has entered the fray, namely Shawn’s 23 year-old son Ryan. Working under The Calming moniker, Ryan has released his first full throttle song entitled ‘Return To Life’. One listen and it’s quite clear the proverbial apple doesn’t fall far from the trees in the Drover backyard.
“I worked really hard on it so it’s great to hear you say that. And yes, this is my first shot at recording my own music. I got my hands on a copy of Pro-Tools about six months ago and Glen was nice enough to show me a couple of beginner tips and tricks. I have loads of material that I’ve been working on and I’m really excited to share it with everyone.”
At this point of his budding career, Ryan is a solo artist lucky enough to have friends willing to help him move forward with the assorted musical madness rattling around in his brain.
“There is not an actual group,” he says. “That being said, I asked a couple of my good friends to help me out vocally and lyrically since I’m unfortunately not a vocalist myself. The screaming vocals and lyrics were done by my friend Jacob Kresak, whom I met in the local metal scene, and the clean vocals and lyrics were done by my other friend, Mike Motter, who has been one of my favorite singers/songwriters for a while now. I’m very happy with how the song turned out on their end and could not be happier that those dudes were nice enough to lend me their talents. As for the instruments, I played and recorded everything myself.”
Ryan does in fact have a passion for beating drums into submission, exactly like his father.
“I’ve actually been playing guitar as long as I’ve been playing drums, but it got to a point where I had to choose which one to focus on and it felt natural to become a drummer. I am definitely a much better drummer than I am a guitarist. I’m far too critical of my guitar playing anyway, so if I was in a band I would be the drummer for sure.”
Production values on ‘Return To Life’ sounds suspiciously like something produced at the hands of Glen Drover. It turns out Glen and Shawn did influence the track, but Ryan was hands-on right down to the final mix.
“They definitely had a lot of influence on the performing and recording of the song. Since I’m a beginner at this, they have both given me tips and advice on mixing and mastering throughout the entire process. Without their help the song could have ended up sounding like it was recorded in a trash can, so I’m definitely lucky and grateful to have them helping and supporting me with music in all aspects.”
Growing up with the bloodline Ryan has, it’s no surprise to find there’s a Drover offspring creating music. He had the added bonus of being on the inside of his father’s and uncle’s Megadeth experience to some degree, which Ryan says did indeed leave its mark on him.
“I started playing drums when I was about 12 years old, and my dad was always handing me random records and saying ‘Listen to this; this is real music,’ and I always did. One of the first bands he showed me that stood out was Rush, and to this day I will always say that Neil Peart is one of the main reasons I started playing drums, aside from my dad. I’m a huge fan of all of the Eidolon records. I think Shawn and Glen are some of the best songwriters on the planet and I’ve always admired that. Once they joined Megadeth in 2004, that introduced me to an entirely new style of music, and growing up around that was an awesome experience for sure. It pushed me to start a couple of bands of my own throughout the years. Needless to say, it’s made me the musician I am today.”
“Growing up I went through the motions genre-wise for sure. I was big into early 2000’s pop punk when I was younger (Yellowcard, Blink 182, Brand New) and that had a lot of influence on me as a young musician, but as I grew older my musical interests grew with me. Once I was introduced to bands like Opeth, In Flames, and Nevermore my mind was blown. I had no idea that music could be written or performed in such a way, and I was instantly hooked! Since then I’ve pretty much exclusively pursued metal music as an art.”
Ryan says there will indeed be more music from him in the future. Whether that blossoms into a full performance band is anybody’s guess.
“I plan on writing, recording, and playing music until my hands fall off. I would love to take this as far as I can and who knows, maybe one day I could turn this into something big. Being a studio drummer, or even a touring drummer, would be a dream come true for me. I am very interested in working in a studio as an engineer or even a producer one day in the near future. Music is the most important thing in the world to me, and I intend to make it my life’s work.”
Photo of Ryan Drover by Christian Zajicek