Dave Mustaine has released a statement in tribute to Nick Menza, Megadeth's drummer for most of the Nineties, who died on Saturday. The frontman wrote that Menza, who played on "Holy Wars," "Symphony of Destruction" and "Trust," among other hits, "remained a great friend, a true professional and a larger than life personality," throughout his life.
Megadeth achieved their greatest fame and sales during Menza's tenure. Rust in Peace, Youthanasia and Cryptic Writings were all certified platinum, while Countdown to Extinction went double-platinum. The latter record, released in 1992, is also the band's highest-charting release, as it made it to Number Two on the Billboard 200.
Mustaine wrote that he remained on good terms with Menza after the drummer left the group, including before and after a short period in 2004 when the drummer returned to the lineup. He also praised Menza's "powerful jazzy flair" and entertaining personality onstage.
The drummer collapsed during the third song of a concert with this band Ohm. His management said that reports indicated he'd suffered a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The singer intends to launch a campaign to help the drummer's children.
Dave Mustaine's full Nick Menza remembrance:
I woke up this morning to a text message from my son, with the news of Nick Menza's passing. Shocked, devastated, and saddened don't begin to describe my feelings.
Originally a tech for the band, Nick soon displayed such talent and personality, it didn't take long for us to realize he belonged onstage with us behind the kit. We asked Nick to join Megadeth as our drummer in 1989. At the time, the band already had its first [gold] album, which only served to stoke the fire. We all wanted world domination, with so much of our lives and dreams ahead of us. As we navigated through the pitfalls of life and the music business, our first album with Nick, Rust in Peace, and subsequent albums Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia, kept up the momentum. We parted ways after Cryptic Writings. We, like all brothers, would disagree at times, but our bond was strong throughout.
As a player, Nick had a very powerful jazzy flair, unpredictable and always entertaining. And, as great a drummer as he was, the time spent with him as a person, a bandmate and a friend was even more fun. There were several times we discussed him coming back to the band, but for various reasons it never came together. We've been in touch all along, he had come out to our shows recently and he had remained a great friend, a true professional and a larger than life personality.
The Megadeth family take care of each other, and expect to hear soon about an initiative to help Nick's children. All of us in this community are connected, take care of yourself and your loved ones.
My deepest condolences go out to Nick's family.
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