During Sunday night of the first-ever Rock ‘N Derby, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine asked the crowd for a moment of silence for late drummer Nick Menza. “I don’t know if you know this or not, but Nick went to heavy metal heaven last night,” he said, before leading the group into “Trust.” Watch the homage to the former bandmate in the video below.
On May 21, Menza, 51, died onstage during a performance with his current band, OHM, at the Baked Potato in Los Angeles. According to an official statement, Menza collapsed three songs into the set, and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful; it was later reported that he suffered a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
The late heavy metal drummer was with Megadeth during the group’s peak commercial success in the 1990s. Nick Menza contributed his signature drumming style to the albums Rust in Peace (1990), Countdown to Extinction (1992), Youthanasia (1994) and Cryptic Warnings (1997).
After news of Menza’s passing became known, the Twittersphere and other social media channels were abuzz with expressions of sympathy from former bandmates Mustaine, David Ellefson, Marty Friedman and Chris Poland, among other rockers like Steve Lukather (Toto) and author J. Marshall Craig who was working with Menza on his memoir. In the excerpt below from Megadeth’s Facebook page (see the full post above), Mustaine explained his personal relationship with the former bandmate:
…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…”
Before Megadeth played the May 22 show at the Schaghticoke Fairgrounds during Rock N’ Derby, Mustaine announced plans to honor Menza through an all-alumni benefit concert in California on the Albany rock station Q103, according to Loudwire. Stay tuned for updates on this Megadeth band members reunion show.