Photo (c) Hannah Verbeuren –

Dirk Verbeuren has played drums on more extreme metal releases than is reasonable or appropriate for any single human.

He took over for Chris Adler as the drummer for Megadeth in 2016, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to release underground release after underground release — including material with the recently revived Cadaver.

Dirk not only has freakish technical skill, but he also has the ability to deploy that skill as an improvisational master, an incredible mimic, or a deliberate and exacting architect of complex drumming.

Dirk is not just a musician, but is also a drum teacher. His analytical side allows him to be self-reflective and discuss what his thought process looks like while composing and playing.

And, this conversation took some unexpected turns into the dangers of conspiracy theories and why even folks with a “dark side” who gravitate toward extreme metal should still work on being more present.

Check out the full conversation with Dirk to learn:

  • How he finds the “sweet spot” for mimicry vs creativity when taking on a new drumming project
  • How to turn off your analytical side when it’s getting in your way
  • How he discovered the value of being present — and the dangers of overwork and burnout

Listen Here

Check out more from Dirk here:

Dig into Dirk’s impressive discography and a few of his recommended releases here:

Show Notes:

  • [02:34] Improvisation vs having specific instructions when doing drum session work
  • [07:00] Mimicry vs creativity while filling in — including for Megadeth. Dave Mustaine’s desire for everyone in the band to have creative freedom.
  • [17:46] Growing up with parents supportive of Dirk’s interest in musice — including buying Cannibal Corpse and NWA records with “concerning” cover art
  • [21:55] The balance between being analytical and creative — including Dirk’s interest in science as a kid and the dangers of science denialism and conspiracy theories.
  • [33:20] Touring internationally and being exposed to different cultures
  • [37:05] What is the difference between the ability to mimic and the ability to be creative? How can musicians learn to “turn off” their analytical side in order to be creative?
  • [50:00] Learning to be more present and the dangers of overwork and burnout.
  • [57:33] People into extreme music often have a “darkness,” but that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from cultivating the skill of presence.
  • [01:05:00] Dirk’s various projects: recording the new Megadeth album, Bent Sea’s new releases, starting a recording studio, running a radio show for Gimme Radio, and underappreciated gems from his discography

Links and Resources Mentioned

Bands and Musicians Mentioned