According to reports, Menza, 51, was performing with instrumental jazz/rock fusion ensemble OHM at The Baked Potato in Studio City when he collapsed three songs into the band’s set. From Blabbermouth: “Nick collapsed during the third song of OHM’s set. Earliest reports indicate he suffered a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital. No other details are being released at this time.”
A person at the Baked Potato last night tells Blabbermouth: “It appeared to be a seizure but [Menza] stopped breathing. Two patrons took over and began CPR until EMS arrived. EMS worked on him for 25-plus minutes, including adrenaline shots, three shocks and non-stop compressions.”
Menza joined Megadeth in 1989 for the recording of the band’s classic 1990 album Rust in Peace. He was performing in OHM with another former Megadeth member from that era, guitarist Chris Poland. Menza would play with the band for most of the ’90s, contributing to Megadeth albums Countdown to Extinction (1992), Youthanasia (1994), and Cryptic Writings (1997).
Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman wrote on Facebook: “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.”
Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine tweeted out the following:
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. #nickmenzarip
— Dave Mustaine (@DaveMustaine) May 22, 2016
RIP. Listen to Rust in Peace in full below.