Dirk Verbeuren spoke to Roppongi Rocks about his first year as the drummer in MEGADETH, which he joined at the recommendation of LAMB OF GOD‘s Chris Adler. Originally hired as a fill-in for Adler, who played on MEGADETH‘s latest album, “Dystopia”, and took part in some of the early live shows in support of the disc, Dirk was offered a permanent place in the band last July.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Dirk, who previously played in SOILWORK, told Roppongi Rocks. “It’s been, obviously, an unexpected change but a great experience. Like many people who are in this kind of music, I grew up listening to MEGADETH, so now to be a part of MEGADETH is still kind of unreal at times! Sometimes I’m on stage and I am, like, ‘This is really happening!’ [Laughs].”

Asked if he tries to copy the original drumming on the classic MEGADETH songs or add his own style to the songs when he performs, Dirk said: “Well, here’s the thing: the goal for me and what the band expects from me is to be as true to the songs as I can. It’s a song-by-song case. Sometimes even a section-by-section case where I try to figure out what I can do, maybe what I would do, maybe what I can do differently. In other parts, I am sticking to the original, pure and simple. A lot of the flair comes from the way one person plays compared to the next. And I play the way I play. I can’t sound like… even though my groove is kind of similar to Nick Menza‘s in a way. I grew up listening to a lot of his stuff too, so it probably kind of influenced me in that sense. In the end, I can’t sound like him. Only he can sound like him. Same with Gar [Samuelson] and same with all the other guys [Chuck Behler, Jimmy DeGrasso, Shawn Drover and Chris Adler]. I don’t focus too much, I don’t think too much about that; I just try to honor the songs.”

Regarding whether he will be involved in the songwriting process for MEGADETH‘s upcoming follow-up to “Dystopia”, Dirk said: “I don’t know. Obviously I haven’t been in that spot, so I haven’t experienced that. We’ll see how it goes. I’m definitely open to anything. I’ve started recording some ideas, you know, just having stuff in my phone. I look forward to spending time with the guys working on ideas. Obviously, a lot of it is centered around Dave [Mustaine, MEGADETH mainman]. He’s been the main songwriter for the whole time, pretty much. From there, we’ll see how it goes. It’s good that I have this period of time, unlike Chris [Adler] who came in and it was pretty much straight to recording. I think that’s difficult, because you have certain ways of doing things and then all of a sudden there is this band with this whole past. That’s quick adaption. That can be tricky. Whereas with me, I’m probably going to spend at least two years, if not more, playing the songs live. That gives me some time to see the different areas of the band, see the different styles. For example, Gar has a very different style than Jimmy, than Nick, than Shawn and Chris and all the different people. And Chuck! Great drummer too. Actually, I met him. He came to one of our shows last year, on the U.S. tour. Super-cool guy. That gives me a chance to take that information in and all these different grooves. Then when it is time to create something, I will definitely tap into that. Because it is a very different way of playing for me than, obviously, SOILWORK or any other stuff I’ve done.”

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