New MEGADETH Drummer DIRK VERBEUREN On NICK MENZA: He 'Had A Very Particular Swing To His Playing'

August 1, 2016

"Le Tour Du Metal" conducted an interview with former SOILWORK and current MEGADETH drummer Dirk Verbeuren on June 19 at Hellfest in Clisson, France. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On how he landed the MEGADETH gig:

Dirk: "Well, I've been friends with Chris Adler [LAMB OF GOD], who [was] the MEGADETH drummer on the latest album ['Dystopia'] and on the recent tours. I toured with him many years ago with SOILWORK — we were opening for LAMB OF GOD and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE in America, on a big tour — and we've always stayed in touch more or less since then, and he's always told me that if he ever needed somebody to help him out, he would call me. So that's what he did. He kept his work. And also I know that the guys in MEGADETH were also doing their own research at the same time — Dave [Mustaine, MEGADETH mainman] was kind of looking — so it all kind of just came together for me. I got lucky."

On whether he is playing the MEGADETH drum parts as close to the original versions as possible:

Dirk: "I'm trying to close to that, because I think that's my job right now. When you come into a band that has a legacy, like MEGADETH, you don't come in [with the attitude of], 'Oh, I'm gonna change everything.' It doesn't work that way. I've been, of course, a fan, like most people from back in the day — 'Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?', 'Rust In Peace'; big albums — so I'm kind of familiar with the songs, especially with older songs, so I try to just put my own groove into them but really respect the way they were originally played by the original drummers."

On how he was accepted by the other members of MEGADETH:

Dirk: "It was very smooth. The guys are really, really cool, really awesome, nice people, very welcoming. You know, immediately when I got there, after one day, I sat down with Dave Mustaine and we had some talks, and he was very open about everything. There really hasn't been any bad feeling at all. It's been a month now that I've been on the road with them, and it's been nothing but great. I think it's all about how you deal with a situation like that. I've been in bands for twenty-five years, so I kind of know how it works, and I know what my place is — I think I do — so I try to just do what people expect of me, and if they ask me for my opinion, I'll give it. And they do; Dave is always asking, 'What do you think of this song? Should we play this one?' So it makes me feel at home."

On late MEGADETH drummer Nick Menza:

Dirk: "Nick had a very particular swing to his playing, and I actually really feel that when I'm playing the songs. It was a strange day when he died, because that was my second show in MEGADETH. So I did the first one [at the Rock On The Range in Columbus, Ohio], and the next day we found out during the night that he died. And he died, like, ten minutes from my house at this little club in Los Angeles that I've visited too. It's a small club where a lot of musicians go to jam. That was, of course, a big shock to everybody, especially for Dave [Mustaine] and David [Ellefson, bass]. It was rough, man. But at the same time, it was nice that night to be able to honor Nick. There were some strong emotions, and ever since, it hasn't gone away, because I think about it a lot when I'm playing those songs. I'm, like, 'Man, he was way too young to pass away.'"

The fall 2016 North American leg of MEGADETH's "Dystopia" world tour kicks off in Casper, Wyoming on September 20 and will take them across the U.S., visiting 16 states with special guests to include AMON AMARTH, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, METAL CHURCH and HAVOK.

Verbeuren was replaced in SOILWORK by Bastian Thusgaard of THE ARCANE ORDER.

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