Clint Switzer of the "Music Mania" podcast recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH drummer Dirk Verbeuren. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On what kind of "surprises" MEGADETH has in store for its first-ever Megacruise:
Dirk: "We got a lot of cool stuff. Basically, it's a MEGADETH cruise, so there's going to be a lot of special MEGADETH things happening. For example, all of us are going to do some clinics. Dave [Mustaine] and Kiko [Loureiro] will do a guitar clinic, David [Ellefson] will do a bass clinic, I'm going to do a drum clinic, so those are all special events. We'll talk a little bit about our instrument, how we approach playing, people can ask us questions, so we'll have Q&As. There's also, of course, meet-and-greets, but we're also going to have really special stuff like a poker tournament. We're going to have a trivia night, a MEGADETH-themed trivia night. That will be a fun thing. There will be a beer tasting for À Tout Le Monde, of course. We're also going to have an auction where you can have a chance to buy some special MEGADETH memorabilia and used gear. For anybody that's a fan of the band, it's an event you don't want to miss. It's the first time we're doing it, so we're really excited about it. Like I said, it's just a whole different experience both for us and the people who will be there. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing."
On joining MEGADETH in 2016 and what the last two and a half years have been like for him:
Dirk: "You never expect when you're growing up and you're a metal fan and you start playing an instrument — drums in my case — you never expect that you're going to play in one of the biggest bands in the world and a band you like and a band you grow up listening to. It's one of those things when we did one of those cool tours where we're playing certain shows, certain big shows or just being a part of everything that's going on all the time, it's like I'm pinching myself. I'm, like, 'Holy smokes. I can't believe I'm a part of this.' The band vibe is really good. We play super-well together. The guys are all amazing musicians, so it feels really nice every time we perform or even when we rehearse. It feels super-solid. That's a real pleasure because that's what you want as a musician. It's a dream come true to be able to play with people at this level who are the best. The beginning was definitely a little bit crazy because Nick Menza passed when I was playing my second show with the band, so that was a very difficult, sad time, especially for Dave and David, of course, who have spent all these years with Nick, so that was very emotional and kinda strange for me because I grew up revering Nick and his playing. He was an influence of mine. That was very sad, but from there, things kind of fell into place. It turned out Chris [Adler] was too busy with LAMB OF GOD to carry on, so they asked me to join the band. Everything kind of worked out pretty smoothly and clicked right away. As soon as we were playing together, it all felt natural. So, yeah, it's been a total trip. I saw some amazing things and we got some amazing things coming up. I couldn't be in a better place, really."
On MEGADETH's current lineup and live performances:
Dirk: "There's been some legendary people in this band — of course, Nick Menza, Marty Friedman [guitar], some of the former people that have played in the band when it comes to Chris Poland [guitar], Gar Sameulson [drums], you name it. Anybody that has played in this band is at a great level, but our goal is to perform these songs with the most passion and precision that we can and really bring to the fans that feeling they had when they first heard the albums. I always think about that. I remember well when I first bought 'Peace Sells […But Who's Buying?]', I didn't really know the band, I just liked the album cover and I heard the name. I was like 'I got to check this out.' I was a kid, a teenager. I bought it and I came home and I was completely blown away by the songs and the performances and you don't forget that, that kind of feeling. The same with 'Rust In Peace' came out, that was even more of a bomb possibly because it was such a perfect album. When you can try to recreate those feelings for the people that come to see you, that's our goal and when we succeed at doing that, it's like 'Yes, mission accomplished.' [Laughs] "
On MEGADETH continuing to be torchbearers for heavy metal:
Dirk: "As long as the fire and the passion are there, you've got to carry on. You've got to do what you do best. This is what I do, this is what I live for, obviously, [and] my bandmates are the same. This is what they've done their whole lives and that's actually one of the things that really struck me when I first started to play with the guys is how much passion there is, especially coming from Dave and David. Those guys have been at this since the early '80s — that's a long time — and they're still going onstage like pros and giving it one hundred percent every night despite anything that could be going on in their lives or any issues. That all dissipates, and they're there for their fans and showing the people, like, 'Hey, let's have this good time. Let's have this party together. Let's enjoy the music.' That is so inspiring, because that's not necessarily always the case with everybody. You got some people who are sometimes kind of there against their will or it becomes a job and so that passion kind of dissipates as you get older and your priorities shift. I understand that, but with us, it's really there. We're born to play metal. It's what it feels like. For me, it's like it just makes sense that the band would continue. As long as the fire is there and as long as we're physically able to do it, then we're going to be doing it."
On MEGADETH's future plans:
Dirk: "The immediate thing is obviously working on the new record. We've already said that and we're obviously actively working on that right now. There's a lot of ideas going back and forth. I'm actually going to be working with Dave when we come back from Indonesia. I'm going to work with him on some ideas and flesh out some ideas. As soon as we feel that, 'Hey, there's some good material, let's record.' Then we'll hit the studio. I'm not sure exactly when that's going to be, but I'm sure it's going to be sooner rather than later. It's reasonable to expect that there's going to be a new record next year if everything goes according to plan and if we're happy with what's there. Obviously, that's going to be followed with a lot of shows and touring because hey, that's how it goes. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of cool things happening apart from the cruise."
The first-ever Megacruise aboard the Norwegian Jewel will set sail on October 13, 2019 from Los Angeles, California and hit ports of San Diego, California and Ensenada, Mexico before returning on October 18, 2019.
MEGADETH's most recent studio album, "Dystopia", was released in early 2016. The follow-up disc will be MEGADETH's first to feature Verbeuren.