Heavy metal community mourns death of jazz drummer


By: Joe Pye

On May 21, Nick Menza, former drummer of the band Megadeath, died at age 51 after suffering a heart attack while performing with his jazz trio, OHM, at The Baked Potato jazz club in Los Angeles.

Nick’s father, Don Menza, a German-born jazz saxophonist, arranger, composer and session musician, played with Buddy Rich’s big band in 1968. He influenced the younger Menza’s drumming career, as did jazz drummers Louie Bellson and Nick Ceroli.

Menza was a father of two children. Megadeath frontman Dave Mustaine released a statement saying the band would be playing a benefit concert with proceeds going to Menza’s children. “The band has already agreed to do a benefit in California; we’re working out the details,” Mustaine said. “We’re hoping to leave an open stage for all of the alumni for Megadeath to come there and play with us so that we can leave behind something for Nick’s children.”

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