Nick Menza, The Force Behind Megadeth’s Revolution

When you talk about Megabeth’s revolutionary album “Rust in Peace,” the drumming is typically the forefront of conversation.

It is a piece in which the highest level of drumming skills is displayed. It’s the late drummer Nick Menza who did the stick work. He is one of the most talented drummers in the history of hard rock and metal. His playing was revolutionary and innovative.

Every piece Menza worked on is filled with speed and power. There are very few drummers who can attain such features. Menza had a way of making a drum set sound exactly like he desired.

Early life and Music career

Nick Menza 1
Nick Menza

Nicholas Menza was born on July 23, 1964, and died on May 21, 2016. He was an American musician known best for his thrash metal drumming skills. He rose to fame during his tenure at Megadeth between 1989 and 1998. He returned to the band in 2004 and also in 2008.

It is right to assume the drummer spent most of his career playing for the group. He recorded four albums: Rust in Peace, Countdown to Extinction, Youthanasia, and Cryptic Writings.

Menza started playing drums at a very young age. He was only two years old when he performed his first public gig. During the intermission, someone sat him at Jack DeJohnette‘s drums, and he played them.

His influence mainly came from people around him. He was in the world of great drummers like Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, Nick Ceroli, and Jeff Porcaro. There is no way anyone wouldn’t succeed in this kind of environment.

However, it was not until he was 18 that Menza started his professional drumming career. At that moment, he was playing for a band called Rhoads, alongside singer Kelle Rhoads. He released his first album, titled “Into the Future” in Europe in 1986.

After Rhoads, Menza worked with a bunch of other bands, including The Green, Von Skeletor, and Cold Fire. 

Menza moved to session drumming to include R&B to gospel, funk and heavy metal, and many more. He has recorded with the likes of John Fogerty. During this time, he caught the eye of Chuck Behler, the Megadeth drummer, later becoming his drum tech. In 1989, Megadeth ended up needing a drummer which was when Menza started working seriously as a drummer.

He joined an LA-based metal band, Orphaned to Hatred, and he had already worked with many other bands besides Megadeth.


Nick Menza Cites
Nick Menza Performing

His style is only that of a drummer, and Menza was good at what he did. He used hanging cymbals from a rack above his kit. This unique approach entertained many other drummers.

This helped to bring out a more concussive sound. The cymbals were able to hold a longer sustain and also give a unique stamp on the records. He helped the group record three more records, a time at which the band grew even bigger and more famous. Menza’s contribution to the industry will remain noticed for years to come.

What do you think?

Avatar Of Andrea

Written by Andrea

Andrea is a music lover and an experienced drummer with more than 15 years of drumming with different bands and music projects, such as Seditius and Hermano & the Marines.

George Kollias, The Enduring Player

Shiho Yamanoha, the Stunning Japanese New-Age Drummer