On May 21, 2016, a seismic wave shook the world when a contributor to Thrash Metal history inexplicably collapsed during a gig in Studio City, California. The loss was as deep and shocking as the heart attack that would take NICK MENZA’s life.
The beloved drummer was featured on Megadeth’s most legendary releases, including Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction, which would solidify their place among “The Big Four,” along with Anthrax, Slayer, and Metallica.
Though health problems were cited as the principal reasons for his departure with the band, the seizure he suffered on his final night at the Baked Potato was unprecedented.
Aside from his ongoing pursuits in music, he was also a visual artist and was nearly ready to show his work to the public for the first time.
Before he left this world, however, he voiced his disappointment in his treatment from Megadeth’s daddy, Dave Mustaine. Menza claimed to have been snubbed by him at NAMM in 2014 and was disrespected in business, which prompted him to release a statement, “As soon as I got home and it was time to sit down and negotiate my terms in writing, I was offered a very unfair deal that was so wrong. They didn’t feel I was worth anything to the band. Dave blocked my emails, changed his number and then, apparently, Ron Laffitte was fired as the band’s manager. Here is one of my favorite bands and a huge part of my life achievements and I was shut out for wanting a fair deal.”
Yet, in spite of Menza’s accounts, Mustaine’s reaction to the news of his death was demonstrative. “TELL ME THIS ISN’T TRUE!” he pleaded on social media. Then, at his own gig, asked for a moment of silence, while vowing to hold a benefit for his fallen brother’s family and honor.
In a precious few of his own last words, Menza held his own. “I am not a puppet,” he stated. “I have integrity, loyalty, and honor. That’s who I am!”
And then added, “Despite this dark final chapter, I wish Megadeth the heartiest of health, happiness and success with their future plans.
As for me, I am moving on…”