Nick Menza (born 23 July 1968 in Munich, Germany) is a drummer best known for his work in Megadeth.
As the son of jazz musician Don Menza (who is famous for playing the saxophone in "The Pink Panther Theme"), Nick began playing drums at the age of two, at which age he performed at his first public concert when during the intermission someone sat him down on Jack DeJohnette's drums and he proceeded to play. His influences stem from being nurtured around the tutelage of such notables as Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, Nick Ceroli, Jeff Porcaro and Louie Bellson.
Beginning his professional musical career at the age of 18 drumming in the band Rhoads featuring singer Kelly Rhoads, brother of the late Randy Rhoads, Nick released his first record with Rhoads called "Into The Future" in Europe. The band hit the road with Foghat for a short time.
Moving on to session playing including styles ranging from R&B to Gospel, Funk and Heavy metal recording with the likes of John Fogerty, Nick caught the attention of then Megadeth drummer Chuck Behler and became his tech. When Megadeth needed a drummer, Nick Menza was asked by Dave Mustaine to join the band in 1989. Dave noted that Nick previously filled in on drums when Chuck was unable to. This prior experience and personal relationship led to the invitation to join Megadeth for the 1990 recording Rust in Peace (produced by Mike Clink). For the next ten years, Nick became associated with Megadeth's "classic" and most profitable era. With his Greg Voelker Rack System he was an impressive showman with trademark drumming. This included a double-bass drumset with the tom-toms mounted on a lower chrome rack and all cymbal crashes mounted on a higher rack, which was supported by two chrome bars behind the drummer. This was later adopted by Megadeth on 2004's The System Has Failed tour, which featured a similar rack system.
By 1998, the band was still touring on the 1997 album "Cryptic Writings", Nick was having knee problems and sought medical advice. He was informed he had a tumor, which was later found to be benign, and had it removed. As a result, Megadeth hired a temporary replacement by former Suicidal Tendencies, Alice Cooper, and MD.45 drummer Jimmy DeGrasso rather than cancel any dates. When it became time to record a follow up album, Nick was not allowed back and Jimmy continued. 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." Yet, in the subsequent years Dave had personal problems which led to two replacement guitarists and the sacking of Jimmy. During his departure he began work on "Menza: Life After Deth" with guitarist Anthony Gallo (former Suicidal Tendencies), bassist Jason Levin, and guitarist Ty Longley (Samantha 7 and Great White). The album was supposed to have a 2002 release date and tour to follow, but beforehand, Ty hit the road with his other band, Jack Russell's Great White. Unfortunately, Ty was among the 100 people (and the only Jack Russell's Great White band member) killed in The Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island. The "Life After Deth" album was never released and a tour was never announced.
Following the reissue of the entire Megadeth catalog, Nick was invited to reunite with Megadeth in Fall 2004. Days after a reunion was announced Nick was fired after rehearsals and replaced with Shawn Drover who was the brother of Glen Drover. Dave Mustaine said that this was because Nick "just wasn't prepared".
In April 2006, Menza joined the Los Angeles-based metal band Orphaned To Hatred. The group describe their sound as "a continuation of the heavy style of '90s Pantera".
At the end of Megadeth's cover of Paranoid, Nick continues playing drums and you can hear Dave yell out "Nick! Nick! Nick!". If you listen closely, you can hear Menza yell back, "Fuck me running!" It was decided to leave it in for humor.
Megadeth 1989 - 1998, 2004
Marty Friedman 1992 - 1997
Memorain 2005 - Present
Orphaned To Hatred 2006-Present
1989 - Megadeth - "Shocker" (Movie Soundtrack)
1990 - Megadeth - Rust in Peace
1992 - Megadeth - Countdown to Extinction
1992 - Marty Friedman - Scenes
1994 - Megadeth - Youthanasia
1994 - Marty Friedman - Introduction
1994 - Nativity in Black - Tribute to Black Sabbath
1995 - Megadeth - Hidden Treasures
1996 - Marty Friedman - True Obsession
1997 - Megadeth - Cryptic Writings
1999 - Fireball Ministry - "Ou Est la Rock?"
2000 - Megadeth - Capitol Punishment
2006 - Memorain - "Reduced To Ashes"
2006 - Megadeth - Arsenal of Megadeth
2007 - Megadeth - Warchest
2008 - Megadeth - Anthology: Set the World Afire
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