We lost another storied rocker today with the passing of Nick Menza, former drummer of Megadeth, at the age of 51. Nick was Megadeth’s longest-serving drummer, appearing on five records with the band including their incendiary 1990 masterpiece, Rust In Peace. While performing last night with his current band, the proggy jazz trio OHM, Nick collapsed three songs into their set as a result of what is believed to have been a massive heart attack. Neither medical personnel in the audience nor paramedics were able to revive him.
Dave Mustaine has caught a healthy dose of flack over the years for a perceived lack of respect for his current and past band members and at times, such criticism has been warranted. It’s undeniable however, that the past year has revealed a somewhat softer, more introspective Dave. As he thrives with the latest Megadeth lineup and the gargantuan success of their latest album, Dystopia, Dave remains as opinionated as ever and whether you agree with him or not, that’s exactly how we like him. But today he issued the following statement on the death of his friend and former bandmate. Reflective, candid and affectionate, this side of Dave is pretty damned good, too.
STATEMENT FROM DAVE MUSTAINE REGARDING
THE PASSING OF NICK MENZA
I woke up this morning to a text message from my son, with the news of Nick Menza’s passing. Shocked, devastated, and saddened don’t begin to describe my feelings.
Originally a tech for the band, Nick soon displayed such talent and personality, it didn’t take long for us to realize he belonged on stage with us, behind the kit. We asked Nick to join Megadeth as our drummer in 1989. At the time, the band already had its first platinum album, which only served to stoke the fire. We all wanted world domination- with so much of our lives and dreams ahead of us. As we navigated through the pitfalls of life and the music business, our first album with Nick, Rust in Peace, and subsequent albums Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia, kept up the momentum. We parted ways after Cryptic Writings. We, like all brothers, would disagree at times, but our bond was strong throughout.
As a player, Nick had a very powerful jazzy flair, unpredictable and always entertaining, And as great a drummer as he was, the time spent with him as a person, a bandmate, and a friend was even more fun. There were several times we discussed him coming back to the band, but for various reasons it never came together. We’ve been in touch all along, he had come out to our shows recently, and he had remained a great friend, a true professional and a larger than life personality.
The Megadeth family take care of each other, and expect to hear soon about an initiative to help Nick’s children. All of us in this community are connected, take care of yourself and your loved ones.
My deepest condolences go out to Nick’s family.