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Nick Menza: (Born July 23, 1964 in Munich, Germany)

Nick Menza was a five time, Grammy nominee American drummer

best known for his work with thrash metal band Megadeth.

As the son of jazz musician Don Menza, Nick began playing drums at the age of two, at which age he performed at his first public concert when during the intermission someone sat him down on Jack DeJohnette's drums and he proceeded to play. His influences stem from being nurtured around the tutelage of such notables as Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, Nick Ceroli, Jeff Porcaro and Louie Bellson

Nick caught the attention of then Megadeth drummer at the time, Chuck Behler and became his tech. He had also been chosen to play in Slayer on South of Heaven, but original drummer Dave Lombardo was asked to came back.

When Megadeth needed a drummer in 1989, Nick Menza was asked by Dave Mustaine to join the band.

 

Mustaine noted that Menza previously filled in on drums when Behler was unable to.

Menza first played live with Megadeth on May 12, 1988 in Bradford, England.

This prior experience and personal relationship led to the invitation to join Megadeth for the 1990 recording Rust in Peace and for the next ten years, Nick became associated with Megadeth's "classic" period 1992's Countdown to Extinction, 1994's Youthanasia, and 1997's Cryptic Writings.  

Released worldwide on September 24, 1990, Rust in Peace was a hit with fans and critics alike, debuting at No. 23 in the US and No. 8 in the UK The album featured the singles "Holy Wars","The Punishment Due" and "Hangar 18", both of which had music videos made of them and remain live staples. Rust in Peace went on to sell more than a million copies in the US and received Grammy nominations in 1991 and 1992 for Best Metal Performance.

What would become Megadeth's most commercially successful effort, Countdown to Extinction. The album was the first to feature writing contributions from each band member, and was named by drummer Nick Menza. Released on July 14, 1992, Countdown to Extinction was an instant hit, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts in the US, and No. 5 in the UK. Anchored by the Mainstream Rock hits "Symphony of Destruction" "Foreclosure of a Dream" and "Sweating Bullets" The album quickly went double platinum in the US, and received a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 1993.

More success was followed from Youthanasia, released on November 1, 1994 debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart in the US, Certified gold in Canada after thirty minutes and was certified platinum in the US. Later in November, the band was invited twice to perform at David Letterman's Late Show: the first time they performed "Train of Consequences"and "À Tout le Monde" on the second occasion.

On June 17, 1997, Capitol Records released Cryptic Writings. The album debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard Top 200, and was Megadeth's sixth consecutive studio album to be certified platinum in the United States. "Trust", a single from Cryptic Writings, became Megadeth's highest charting single to date. The No. 5 Mainstream Rock Track was also nominated for a Best Metal Performance Grammy in 1998.

Megadeth joined Ozzfest 98 but, halfway through the tour, drummer Nick Menza discovered a tumor on his knee and was forced to leave to undergo surgery. Megadeth then hired a temporary replacement, Jimmy DeGrasso rather than cancel any dates.

When the time came to record a follow-up album, Menza was not asked back and DeGrasso became the band's official drummer. while in the hospital recovering from knee surgery, Nick received a phone call from Mustaine that simply said your services are not needed anymore.

A few weeks after, they all got together (Dave Mustaine), (David Ellefson), (Marty Friedman), (Nick Menza) for a dinner meeting at the Anaheim White House restaurant with former manager Ron Laffitte to discuss plans for a new Megadeth record and touring schedule.

Soon as Menza returned back home to Los Angeles it was time to sit down and negotiate his terms in moving forward as the bands official drummer again. He was offered very unfair terms and after trying to negotiate, Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine blocked his emails, changed his number and then, apparently Ron Laffitte was fired as the band's manager.

Menza even went as far as, recording and demoing drums on five new Megadeth songs that Dave had sent him that where later re-arranged / re-recorded by Lamb of God drummer Chris Alder, and released on the groups 2016 - (Dystopia)

In 2015 Menza officially joined OHM, the instrumental rock/jazz

fusion group led by another ex-Megadeth member,  guitarist Chris Poland.

May 21, 2016 Menza was performing live with his band, OHM at the Baked Potato jazz club in Studio City, CA. and only three songs into the set, Menza collapsed onstage behind his drumkit.

 

He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. An autopsy later showed the cause of death to be congestive heart failure, Menza was 51.

 

RIP - NICK MENZA (1964 – 2016) Gone too soon, but not forgotten!