In a new interview with Sick Drummer Magazine, MEGADETH drummer Dirk Verbeuren spoke about what it has been like for him to have been involved with the writing and recording of the band’s latest album, “The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!” He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I’m just humbled. I’m just thankful to be here. That’s the best way I can put it. I can’t even say that this is a dream come true, ’cause I don’t think I ever dreamed anything crazy like [this]. I was just happy to be playing drums and trying to make a living off of doing it, and [that] in itself was a gratifying thing for me. It wasn’t always easy, and I don’t think any good job is always easy; it was a struggle sometimes. But I never thought, like, ‘Oh, I should be in this major band’, so when it kind of just happened, I’m still kind of pinching myself to this day. At the same time, I have to say that I worked really hard my whole life. I’ve always been somebody who I think when I do something I do it one hundred percent. To persevere through the hard times and always try to keep my head up and try to keep learning new things, it’s paid off in the long run.”
He continued: “There have been times when I wanted to give up, like anybody, when things seem a bit hopeless. There was a few times I told my wife where I thought maybe I should just get a normal job and life would be a bit more simple and I can just stay home and not struggle to try and pay the bills and work my ass off 24/7 — no weekends [off]no time [off] — and just have a normal family life. But in the end, I know where my passion is and so I wouldn’t give up. And I have to give a lot of credit to my parents and my wife and my teachers and my friends — everybody who supported me and my family over the years doing this — I owe it to them ’cause they’ve helped me so tremendously so many times and talked me back into doing what I wanted to do when it seemed a bit hopeless.
“But to answer your question, it’s an incredible feeling,” Dirk added. “I’m so stoked that people are enjoying the new album overall, and I’m just happy to be a part of that. I’m happy to have contributed to it, because I didn’t know, going into this , how that part would be. Being on tour with the band was one thing — you play the songs, here’s the songs, it’s cool. You get to know the guys, you get to know the way the band operates on the road. Now , going into the recording studio, or first rather into the band room and start writing stuff, I had no idea. And Dave [Mustaine, MEGADETH leader] said early on to us — to me and Kiko [Loureiro, MEGADETH guitarist] and David [Ellefson, former MEGADETH bassist] at the time — ‘Bring stuff. Bring ideas. I want your ideas.’ And I’m, like, ‘Cool.’ I wrote some stuff. I play a little bit of guitar, so I made some demos at home, recorded some riffs, recorded some song ideas, brought them on. I didn’t anticipate that any of my stuff would go anywhere, because, I mean, c’mon, this is Dave Mustaine we’re talking about. Who am I on guitar compared to Dave Mustaine? Or Kiko Loureiro for that matter, who’s, like, one of the best guitar players in the world; I’m nothing compared to that. Nevertheless, I ended up with some stuff on the album. Like the song ‘Life in Hell’which is the second song on the record, is based on a demo I wrote. And then I also have a riff in the third song, ‘Night Stalkers’which everybody just enjoyed that riff and was, like, ‘We need to use this.’ So my mind is just blown ’cause I didn’t anticipate that. But again, I’m happy I just went for it. I listened to Dave and tried and went along with his idea and proposed some things. That’s the proof that you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you can do what you wanna do. And I did wanna contribute. I mean, I was, like , ‘It would be cool if I could. Because this is a band I love, and if some of my ideas can inspire the other guys and we can make a song together, hey, that’s freakin’ cool. If I can do something else than just write the drum parts on the album, that’s freakin’ cool.’ So here we are — it actually happened, and people are loving the thrashy direction of this record in general. And I’m not ashamed to say that I’m definitely a part of kind of pushing that envelope, because that’s the MEGADETH I grew up with — ‘Peace Sells’, ‘Killing Is My Business’; the next couple of albums after that, that’s the MEGADETH I enjoyed that I saw live back in 1990 on the ‘Clash Of The Titans’ tour for the ‘Rust In Peace’ album. So, yeah, it’s a wonderful feeling. I’m thankful every day, and I enjoy every single day we’re out here [on the road].”
According to Billboard, “The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!” sold 48,000 equivalent album units in the US in its first week of release to land at position No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart. It marks the band’s eighth top 10-charting album. Of “The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!”‘s 48,000 units earned for the week, album sales comprise 45,000, SEA units comprise 3,000 and TEA units comprise a neglible sum.
MEGADETH‘s previous top 10 entries on the Billboard 200 were “Countdown to Extinction” (No. 2, 1992),“Youthanasia” (No. 4, 1994),“Cryptic Writings” (No. 10, 1997),“United Abominations” (No. 8, 2007),“Endgame” (No. 9, 2009),“Super Collider” (No. 6, 2013) and “Dystopia” (No. 3, 2016).
“The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!” arrived on September 2 via UMe.