Ex-Megadeth drummer suffers heart attack on stage at Baked Potato


Fifty-one-year-old Nick Menza was playing a show at a small jazz club dubbed The Baked Potato outside LA when he collapsed and later died on Friday, May 21. Menza’s best known as Megadeth’s drummer for nearly a decade from 1989 and 1998.

“Earliest reports indicate [Menza] suffered a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital,” his management said (via NME).

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Menza started playing the drums at 2. He went professional at 18 with the band Rhoads. He joined Megadeth at 25, and played with them on four albums. “By the summer of 1998, while the band was still touring in support of Cryptic Writings, Menza was having knee problems and sought medical advice,” per Wikipedia. “He was informed he had a tumor, which was later found to be benign, and had it removed. Rather than cancel any dates, Megadeth hired Jimmy DeGrasso as a temporary replacement. When the time came to record a follow-up album, Menza was not asked back and DeGrasso became the band’s official drummer. Menza has said in several interviews that, while in the hospital recovering from knee surgery, he received a phone call from Mustaine that simply said ‘Your services are not needed anymore.'”

Mustaine is still a fan of Menza it seems as he tweeted about the news: “Tell me this isn’t true! I woke at 4 AM to hear Nick Menza passed away on 5/21 playing his drums w/Ohm at the Baked Potato.”

“I am gutted,” he said in a follow-up tweet.

Menaza’s family asked author J Marshall Craig to manage his Facebook page after the drummer’s death: “On behalf of Nick Menza’s family, thank you to everyone who has extended such warm and loving condolences,” he wrote today. “There will be an announcement soon on news of memorial plans and Dave Mustaine has very lovingly and graciously announced that he is planning a benefit show for Nick’s sons.”

According to Consequence of Sound, former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman said in a statement, “We all know the great and unique drummer that Nick Menza was, but he was also a trustworthy friend, a hilarious bandmate, as well as a very loving dad. I’m beyond sad, did not see this coming at all. RIP Brother.”

According to the BBC, his biographer and friend J Marshall Craig said his death had left his friends “all too numb to think about anything but Nick’s family”. “He just spent nearly two weeks with the boys in the Pacific Northwest and was absolutely glowing,” he said (via NME).

Check out Nick playing in this YouTube video:

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