Lee Rauch, Early Megadeth Drummer, Dead at 58
Lee Rauch, an early drummer for Megadeth who played on the band’s 1984 demo, has died at the age of 58.
The rocker’s death was confirmed by his brother, Chris, via social media.
"Today is a very sad day, we lost my brother William Lee Rauch,” he wrote. “Lee was a very strong man of faith so I know he is with God now. He was an awesome drummer, who helped launch one of the biggest metal names in history by being the first drummer for Megadeth, playing alongside Dave Mustaine, Kerry King and David Ellefson. His heart was set on making it big and came very close numerous times. Lee was a very loving and giving individual who was extremely hard working, he continued to play drums later in his life for the church which made him happy. He was a loving son and a very honorable man.
"Most of all, he was my brother and though I didn't always keep in touch the way I should have, I loved him very much and he will be greatly missed to my core. I love you brother, good journey. Hope you enjoy that setup they've got up there for you bro, bet its not as big as your blue set was though, lol.”
Lee Ruach joined forces with Mustaine, Megadeth’s founder, and bassist Ellefson in 1983. As a trio, this group recorded the band’s first demo, titled Last Rites, released in 1984. It included three songs: “Last Rites/Loved to Deth,” “The Skull Beneath the Skin” and “Mechanix.”
Megadeth’s lineup remained in flux during these early years. Guitarist King briefly left Slayer to join Mustaine’s group. Megadeth's first official gig took place Feb. 17, 1984 in Berkeley, California and featured the four person lineup of Mustaine, Ellefson, King and Rauch. King had a change of heart after a few shows and returned to his previous band (he remained in Slayer for all of the band's existence).
Ruach would be another casualty of Megadeth’s lineup changes. By the end of ‘84, the drummer was out and replaced by Gar Samuelson, who played on the band's first two studio albums.
Following his Megadeth stint, Rauch played shows with the thrash metal group Dark Angel. Again, his time in the band was short-lived. The drummer never recorded material with Dark Angel and was out of the group by 1985.
Hear Megadeth's 'Last Rites' Demo, Featuring Lee Rauch on Drums