Former Megadeth Drummer Nick Menza Dies
Former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza has died after suffering what one concert-goer described as a seizure during a performance by his band Ohm last night (May 21). He was 51.
An unnamed person who was attending Ohm's concert at the Baked Potato in Studio City, Calif., last night described the incident to Blabbermouth. "It appeared to be a seizure but [Nick] stopped breathing. Two patrons took over and began CPR until EMS arrived. EMS worked on him for 25-plus minutes, including adrenaline shots, three shocks and non-stop compressions."
Born in Germany on July 23, 1964, his father was jazz saxophonist Don Menza who worked with Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton and was a member of the band on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Nick's first experience behind the drums was at the age of two, when someone sat him on Jack DeJohnette's stool during the intermission of a gig and he started to play.
Menza joined Megadeth in 1989 and appeared on four of their most successful albums (1990's Rust in Peace, 1992's Countdown to Extinction, 1994's Youthanasia and 1997's Cryptic Writings) before departing the group in 1998. According to the bio on Menza's website, Menza was diagnosed with a tumor on his knee while Megadeth were on tour. The band continued its dates with Jimmy DeGrasso as his replacement as Menza received treatment. While in the hospital, Menza received a call from frontman Dave Mustaine telling him that he was fired.
In 2007, Menza nearly lost an arm in an accident with a power saw. Six years later, he auctioned off the blade and x-rays of his arm encased in a metal frame.
He joined Ohm, a jazz-rock fusion group which is fronted by former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland, in 2015 after the group's former drummer David Eagle died of a heart attack. (Poland left Megadeth prior to Menza joining the group, so the two were never Megadeth bandmates.)
Ultimate Classic Rock has received a joint statement from Menza’s manager, Robert Bolger, and author J. Marshall Craig, with whom Menza was collaborating on his memoir. Craig writes, “We ask for prayers for Nick’s family, his family, and especially his two sons and their mother, Teri. “He just spend nearly two weeks with the boys in the Pacific Northwest and was absolutely glowing. He was schedule to fly to my home in Cape Cod tomorrow so that we could finish the comic-book version of the book we wrote on his life, MenzaLife, both of which were slated for release late next month. This morning we are all too numb to think about anything but Nick’s family.”
Bolger added, “Along with your prayers and wonderful thoughts and memories of this incredible man and musician, we ask that fans respect his family’s need for privacy at this absolutely tragic time.”
Menza's official Facebook and Twitter pages have shared the following post, and Mustaine responded to the news by saying, "tell me this isn't true!" We will continue updating this sad story as more details become available.
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