On Saturday night, May 21st of 2016, this drunk clown became Pagliachi. Don’t expect you to know that reference, but much like the global metal community, I too was sad to hear about the passing of the former longtime Megadeth’s drummer, Nick Menza.
Menza’s death took the world aback upon hearing that his passing was not only unfortunate but sudden during his third song performance with jazz-based band, OHM, at the Baked Potato in Studio City, California.
Before this klown informs you, the reader, about Menza’s cause of death, a quick memorandum of his contributions to metal is in order. Although, he partook in a few musical projects throughout his whole career, Menza will always be known as a former member of Megadeth.
Menza’s percussions thundered through four Megadeth albums, most notably Rust In Piece and Countdown to Destruction. Despite his departure with Megadeth after the album, Cryptic Writings, he and front man/guitarist, Dave Mustaine still remained close.
“We, like all brothers, would disagree at times, but our bond was strong throughout,” Mustaine said of Menza, in a recent interview with Guitar World Magazine. “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.”
Life after Deth, was a bit of a swerve for Menza and experienced some hardships. Upon Menza’s departure from Megadeth in 1998, a tumor on his right knee temporarily derailed his drumming career. In 2007, Menza almost lost an arm in a power saw incident that required surgery and metal plates to fully heal.
The autopsy revealed that Menza’s death was nowhere near drug related taking away a stereotype often associated with the deaths of heavy metal/rock stars. Despite Menza having dabbled with narcotics in the past, he had been clean since 2008. The infamous gossip news site TMZ was one of the first sources to shed light on his death, revealing Menza succumbed to heart disease.
Despite the setbacks the drummer endured in life, he continued his musical career and persevered. From joining Orphaned to Hatred in 2006 to his recent reunion with Chris Poland, former Megadeth guitarist, when he joined OHM. Menza proved that music was in his blood, no matter the roadblocks in his way. By next month, Menza, alongside with J. Marshall Craig planned to release a biography titled MenzaLife. No word whether or not it would still be released next month.
“I miss it,” Menza told the podcast The Wave Northwest. “I miss the playing part of it, very much so, in front of the big crowds and just rocking people and having people come up afterwards. That’s the only part of it I miss.”
And we will miss you, too, Nick. Rest in peace.