Late in the evening on May 21, 2016, former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza collapsed after suffering a heart attack during a concert with Chris Poland and Robertino “Pag” Pagliari in their band OHM: at the Baked Potato in Studio City, California and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said Menza died of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Menza would have turned 58 on July 23rd. megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine took to social media to wish Menza a happy birthday.
Thinking of you today. Happy birthday in heaven, Nick. pic.twitter.com/MLmx3paM9a
— Dave Mustaine (@DaveMustaine) July 23, 2022
Watch Menza play Megadeth’s “Tornado Of Souls” two years before his death, featuring David Ellefson’s original 1990 isolated bass track, which originally appeared on the band’s classic fourth album, Rust In Peace. Released in September 1990 via Capitol Records, it was Megadeth’s first LP with guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza following the departures of Jeff Young and Chuck Behler.
The HD video, shot in a two-camera-angle mix, was filmed in March 2014 at Uberbeatz Studios in Seattle, Washington. The audio was mixed by Richard Easterling / KRM Studios and is believed to be some of the final studio drum recordings of Menza before he passed away two years later.
The footage was supposed to be used for the late drummer’s first-ever instructional DVD, Intense Mega Drumming, with tons of tips and tricks from Menza’s arsenal to help teach anybody out there how to become a better player. The DVD, which was produced and directed by Kari Pearson and edited by Menza’s manager, Robert Bolger, has since been shelved.
The previously unreleased video footage from the session will be a featured highlight in the recently announced official Menza documentary film, This Was My Life – The Story Of Nick Menza. It is described in a press release as “an unflinching exploration into the life of one of the most successful thrash-metal drummers of all time, authorized by the Menza family.”
David Ellefson has signed on as a co-producer of the film, and also will provide narration to guide the viewer through the exploration of the late Megadeth drummer’s life. Ellefson added: “The making of the Nick Menza documentary has been such a joy for all of us, like a sort of Mega family reunion where we share stories, laughs and even a few tears around Nick and what he meant to so many of us. I think this film and Soundtrack will touch the hearts of the fans and viewers in the same way, as we remember his larger-than-life character behind the drum kit, but also his lovable charm and warmth that made him the beloved one of a treasured musical legacy.”
The Menza family said: “We are excited for the fans to see the life Nick lived before, during, and after Megadeth, it was quite the journey. Stay tuned for an epic documentary. As Nick would say, ‘It’s gonna be RAD.'”
Menza’s longtime personal manager Robert Bolger said: “Nick loved his fans and always said without the fans none this would be possible. I really think Nick’s fans will enjoy this journey through his life. Thank you everyone for the continued support in keeping Nick’s legacy alive.”
This Was My Life will be the first-ever film to memorialize Menza’s legacy and celebrate his life exactly how it was. It is described in a press release as “an unflinching exploration into the life of one of the most successful thrash-metal drummers of all time, authorized by the Menza family. From his childhood all the way through to the end of his life Including a true blow-by-blow account of the repeated failed attempts of the classic Rust In Peace lineup.
This Was My Life will feature rare and never-before-seen photos and video footage from Nick’s archived VHS tape collection, personally filmed by Menza himself from 1988 through 1991. Included will be exclusive content showcasing Nick working at the studio, personal home movies, casual time and party time with his fellow bandmembers, as well as other well-known artists of the era that Nick toured with.
The soundtrack will feature a very diverse posthumous album worth of heavy music that will consist of 8-9 tracks from Nick’s un-earthed / un-released drum riffs late drummer recorded for a project he started working on between 2013 / 2015. David Ellefson will play bass on a few of the tracks and will also helm the position as executive producer.
The cover photo for the film was shot by Los Angeles music photographer Alex Solca and designed by Brazilian artwork designer Alcides Burn of Burn Artworks.
Nick rightfully earned his place as one of heavy metal’s fiercest drummers during Megadeth’s 10-year commercial peak. The highlight of his career, Nick said, was playing Rock In Rio in 1991 before more than 100,000 people.