Megadeth is currently in the studio recording their new album. Vocalist and guitarist Dave Mustaine said the new material is up there with Countdown to Extinction and Rust in Peace, and bassist David Ellefson has called the record "insanely progressive". Now in a recent interview with MetalSucks, Megadeth drummer Dirk Verbeuren discusses making the record and the challenges posed with Dave Mustaine's cancer diagnosis.
Verbeuren said the album was originally slated to be done early this year, but COVID-19 screwed things up.
"Yeah, what happened was basically last year, we got together for about three months in the summer to work on a bunch of demos we had and put down some new ideas and that was the whole band," said Verbeuren. "So we were, for three months together in Nashville in a house just writing music.
"We had to cancel our shows for the rest of that year so he [Dave] could focus on getting better, doing the treatment, healing, resting, that needed to be done. And the plan was obviously to finish that up earlier this year, get the album out and tour but then the pandemic happened so what we decided to do is focus on the record, so as soon as it was possible to kind of safely travel, I’m talking a few months back, Tennessee didn’t have a lot of cases where Dave Mustaine lives.
"So, even though I was a little bit reluctant to travel, I decided to just make it a road trip since I didn’t want to fly. I just got a rental car and drove from LA to Nashville, spent about ten days there recording the drum tracks for the record, David [Ellefson] at the same time was there doing the bass, so we got that done and now Dave [Mustaine] is working on the guitars. And Kiko is in Europe currently cause he went to see his wife’s family in Europe after our last tour in February and kind of got stuck there so as soon as he can come back to the states as traveling is opening up, hopefully, soon… we’ll see. He’s going to come and record his guitar parts so that’s where we’re at."
Verbeuren also discussed why it was important for the band to get together and record the album.
"I mean, we definitely discussed the option of doing it remotely but Dave is not a fan of that, he’s never really worked that way, he’s co-producing the album with Chris Rakestraw who also worked on Dystopia. Dave is a little bit of the conductor of the orchestra in the room. He’s not like, this annoying presence at all, he’s more just very involved with everything that’s happening at the right time so as an example, when we were doing the drum tracking, its not like he was sitting there, watching me play every beat because sometimes he’d have other things he had to go do but you know, as soon as I’d laid something down- 'Hey Dave, the song is ready, we did some takes, come check it out, what do you think?' And he’d come in and give great feedback like sometimes he’d be like, ‘this is awesome,’ ‘keeper’ and other times, ‘hey, how about you try this here.’
"He just had a great vision, obviously, of Megadeth, as we can all imagine. Its really something that’s so close to his heart, that he’d so intimately familiar with, every little detail of what everybody’s played on each album throughout the years so he knows exactly what works and what doesn’t. And in that sense, as much as I was like, ‘well for safety reasons it might be better if I record here’ and we discussed it but at the same time it make more sense for just the way this band has been in its entire existence to do it together so we made it work."
He concludes by stating what is probably obvious to everyone at this point – the new album likely isn't out until 2021.