Ex-MEGADETH Drummer NICK MENZA Interviewed Two Weeks Before His Death: I Miss Playing In Front Of Big Crowds
May 24, 2016
"The Wave Northwest" podcast conducted an interview with former MEGADETH drummer Nick Menza on May 8 — less than two weeks before he passed away while performing with the band OHM: at The Baked Potato in Studio City, California. You can now listen to the entire hour-long chat below.
Speaking about MEGADETH's heavy touring schedule while he was in the band, Nick said: "We would do three hundred shows a year, and I wouldn't unpack my suitcase. I'd come home for, like, a week or five days, and I'd leave my suitcase at the front door with the lid open and just take what I need out of it and put stuff back into it, 'cause I knew I was gonna close it up in four or five days. That was the suckiest part about touring — every time you'd get home, the clock is ticking and you've got, like, five days [before it's time to leave again]."
He continued: "I didn't live in my house for the first five years. I bought the house in, like, 1995, and we toured pretty extensively, man. We'd come home for Christmas and, like, maybe two days at Thanksgiving, whatever. Three hundred shows a year… I mean, you do the math."
Menza also talked about the difficulties he had adjusting to "regular" life after completing a long tour. He said: "[It was like] post-traumatic stress syndrome. You come home out of the shock… It's like going to war and then coming back in the society again. Everybody's kind of standing still from your normal routine where you're moving every day to a different place, different city, different people. And I tell you, it's really good for the immune system. If you take care of yourself on the road and you're not drunk all the time or high all the time."
Menza added: "You've gotta totally take care of yourself and be ready to undergo all the germs and different environments and just people. I'd always do meet-and-greets and shake people's hands, and they're, like, 'Dude, how come you're wearing gloves?' And I'm, like, 'It's not to protect me from you; it's to protect you from me.' If that makes any sense to you at all. People are standing in line picking their noses and biting their nails, and you're in a meet-and-greet with a hundred kids every night. It's tough, man. It's like a total undoing process that goes on."
According to Nick, his favorite part about touring was "playing on stage; that's all I cared about. What time do we go on and how long do we get to play for? You've got 24 hours in each day and you get, like, an hour and 45 minutes of joy time."
He went on to say: "It's fun. I miss it. I miss the playing part of it, very much so, in front of the big crowds and just rocking people and having people come up afterwards. That's the only part of it I miss."
Nick collapsed during the third song of OHM:'s set on May 21. Early reports indicated he suffered a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital. No other details were released.
One person who was present at The Baked Potato Saturday night told BLABBERMOUTH.NET: "It appeared to be a seizure but [Nick] 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 for the 1989 recording "Rust In Peace" and for the next nine years became associated with the band's "classic" and most profitable era.
In addition to Menza, OHM: featured another ex-MEGADETH member, guitarist Chris Poland.
Menza joined OHM: last year after the passing of the band's previous drummer, David Eagle, who suffered a heart attack and had open-heart surgery in May 2015.
Last week, it was announced that Nick would unveil an art collection crafted from the new medium of "rhythm-on-canvas" on June 16. That unveiling has now been postponed to an as-yet-undetermined date.
Menza had been working with art team and publisher SceneFour on the collection titled "Rhythm Hits The Wall".