DAVID ELLEFSON Sets Record Straight: LEE RAUCH 'Never Did Any Studio Recordings With' MEGADETH
June 28, 2023
Former MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson has paid tribute to the band's former drummer Lee Rauch, who passed away on Friday, June 23. No cause of death has been revealed. He was reportedly 58 years old.
Earlier today (Wednesday, June 28),Ellefson took to social media to share several photos of Rauch rehearsing and performing with MEGADETH, and he included the following message: "I want to offer condolences on our fallen friend and former MEGADETH drummer, Lee Rauch. He was a kind young man with big ambitions (and an even bigger drumkit!!),who was our drummer from late 1983, after our first drummer Dijon Carruthers departed the group in fall of 1983. Lee joined us shortly thereafter and was in the live performing lineup of the band with me, Dave [Mustaine] & Kerry King when we debuted the group for our very first live shows in the San Francisco Bay area during February & April 1984.
"However, there is some misinformation about the 'Last Rites' demo. Lee never did any studio recordings with the band. The 'Last Rites' demo that is out there on the web was recorded 100% by his successor, our other fallen brother, Gar Samuelson on drums. That three song demo was recorded as a three piece with me, Dave & Gar in summer of 1984. Our then-manager Jay Jones brought Gar into the fold shortly after Lee departed the group in April, 1984 as he funded the making of that demo during several late night sessions at Hitman Studios in Hollywood. We continued to perform as a three-piece in summer and fall of that year until Jay helped bring Chris Poland into the band a few months later, when we entered the Indigo Ranch studios In Malibu, CA in December 1984 to begin recording our debut album 'Killing is my Business... and Business is Good' for Combat Records. The rest, as they say, is history.....
"In closing, some friends near Lee had reached out to me in recent years to let me know that he had lived a good life as a man of Faith back in Ohio, which is where he hailed from before moving to LA back in the 80s. it's nice to hear that he finished well in his life... may he now rest in peace."
In 1984, Rauch left MEGADETH due to internal conflict and was replaced by Samuelson. After exiting MEGADETH, Rauch performed live with DARK ANGEL but never recorded anything with the group. He was also a member of WARGOD, which was launched by guitarist Michelle Meldrum.
On Tuesday (June 27),MEGADETH's Dave Mustaine paid tribute to Rauch, writing on social media: "One of MEGADETH's very first drummers, Lee Rauch, has passed away. He played on the recording of our 'Last Rites' demo tape in early 1984, and I can remember the good times during our rehearsals at Curly Joe's studio in LA.
"Farewell, my friend, till we meet again someday."
Lee's passing was announced by his brother Chris Rauch in a social media post on Friday. He wrote: "Today is a very sad day, we lost my brother William Lee Rauch.
"Lee was a very strong man of faith so I know he is with God now. He was an Awesome drummer, who helped launch one of the biggest metal names in history by being the first drummer for MEGADETH, playing along side Dave Mustaine, Kerry King and David Ellifson. His heart was set on making it big and came very close numerous times.
"Lee was a very loving and giving individual who was extremely hard working, he continued to play drums later in his life for the church which made him happy. He was a loving son and a very honorable man. Most of all, he was my brother and though I didn't always keep in touch the way I should have, I loved him very much and he will be greatly missed to my core.
"I love you brother, good journey. Hope you enjoy that setup they've got up there for you bro, bet its not as big as your blue set was though, lol.
"There will be a memorial service held for Lee, when we have the date and time I will relay it here. Please keep our family in your prayers."
In a 2004 interview with Bob Nalbandian, Mustaine was asked what happened to Rauch in the years after he left MEGADETH. Dave responded: "I don't know. He wasn't necessarily an original [MEGADETH] drummer. He was a guy that we really liked, and then one day sitting on the steps of Billy Cordero's house, when David Ellefson and I were squatting...we just kind of met this kid, went to his house and filtrated his bedroom and never left for a couple months. Lee was telling us how he had given his soul to Satan, and I know enough about black magic that if you really do the actual act of giving your soul to Satan, you have to have sex with Satan to consecrate the deal. You had to have sex and have a Satanic priest take the embodiment of Satan on so he can sodomize you. And I asked him, 'So, who was the priest?' And he said, 'My priest was a guy named David.' I was like...'I'm out of here!'"
David Ellefson photo credit: Maciej Pieloch
I want to offer condolences on our fallen friend and former MEGADETH drummer, Lee Rauch. He was a kind young man with...
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