NICK MENZA: "I Was Fired From MEGADETH Two Days After Surgery"

February 19, 2002

Former MEGADETH drummer Nick Menza has spoken out for the first time about the circumstances that led to his departure from the group back in 1998. In an interview published online by RockRage, Menza stated that [MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine] fired me on the phone two days after I had surgery on my knee, which was just a routine surgery. I had a tumor on my right knee, which was benign, and I had it removed. I was like fine in like a week. I was playin' drums again in like one week's time. Dave fired me like two days after my surgery. He called me up on the phone and he said, 'Hey, we're going to let you go.' And I'm like, 'What?! Don't around dude. Now is not the time.' He says, 'I don't think you're hearing me clearly.' And he was really brass about it. I said, 'Dude, you can't fire me. This is my band too.' He said, 'No Nick Menza. It's my band and my mind is made up.' And I said, 'Okay. Then the next call you'll get will be from my lawyer.' Click and I hung up on him. I didn't talk to him for like a year and then we spoke again. He called me around Christmas time and goes, 'I just want to see how you're doing?' Blah blah blah. And I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm doing alright.' He goes, 'I'm sure you're kind of pissed off.' And I said, 'Well, I'm not happy about the way things went down, but that's something you needed to do and it was your decision really. It wasn't my decision.' He goes, 'Well, you can tell people that you left.' And I said, 'No. I'll tell them that you fired me over the telephone. 'Cause that's exactly what happened.' And those were his exact words to me. It was like, 'Dude, I'm not firing you. I'm relieving you of your job.' And I said, 'You're not relieving me of anything. The way I see it is that you fired me and that's what I'll tell people when they ask me 'cause that's the honest truth.' It's just over the phone too is just kind or not right, you know? I'm on my back lying down and the guy f.cking calls me and tells me he's letting me go. I'm like, 'Go where? To Disneyland?'

But I recently, we hung out, you know. When they played L.A. I went to their show at the House of Blues and made their drummer all nervous. He was all uptight that I was there. I'm like, dude relax. I'm not here to take your gig or anything. Even though I could if I wanted to or not like I could if I wanted to. He was pretty uptight. But Jimmy's cool. I've known Jimmy for years. I don't have any ill feelings towards him or Dave for that matter.

Dave's been a great teacher for me and I'm proud of the ten years with those guys. It was a great experience and I did some great work with that band musically and there was a lot of fun times and a lot of not so fun times.

I'd say that me being fired wasn't as a result of my leaving for surgery or any of that. It was more about Dave and I not agreeing upon things over the years. It was just a long time coming. He was unhappy with the way things were going and I was pretty unhappy with monies and all that sh.t. We were making less money, selling less records, doing smaller shows

I don't know. I'll be the first to admit that my attitude suffered towards the end, you know? I really wasn't paying attention to Dave or to what he'd say. I was like, 'Yeah, right. Whatever.' And that really kind of pissed him off and he just had it I think. When I left to do that, it was like the green light for him. He's like, 'Okay, I'll let him go. Jimmy had already come out and I was showing him some of the songs and stuff like that 'cause I knew I was going to go have my knee operated on and he was going to fill in for me. He'd already done Dave's solo project MD45 or whatever it was. Those guys had a little history there, relationship, whatever you want to call it. Jimmy was the obvious guy to come out and f.ckin' fill in for a few shows for me towards the end of the tour. I just wanted to be back up happenin' for the next record, the next tour. Dave was the one who actually told me, 'Dude, go handle that. Go ahead and get it handled. If it was me, I'd have it f.ckin' taken out right now.' And I said, 'Well I have to get a couple more tests taken and blah blah blah.' Then the guy fires me two days after the surgery. I'm like, 'What a birdbrain.'

To read the first part of the exclusive RockRage interview with Nick Menza, click here.

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