EXCLUSIVE: Megadeth main man Dave Mustaine has opened up about the passing of former drummer Nick Menza, saying that he "had no idea how much I loved him" until he broke down following the dedication of a song to his former band mate at the Rock 'N Derby event on 22nd May. Mustaine made the comment while speaking exclusively to eonmusic on the red carpet at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods, which took place in London on Monday night (13th June 2016).
Menza, who passed away suddenly during a concert with his band OHM at the Baked Potato in Los Angeles on 21st May, was a member of Megadeth from 1989 to 1998. It was during Megadeth's set at at the Rock 'N Derby event in New York, on 22nd May that Mustaine broke down, following the dedication of the song 'Holy Wars... The Punishment Due' to the fallen musician. Originally appearing on the album 'Rust In Peace', 'Holy Wars' was the first single release to feature Nick.
When asked about the experience, Mustaine admitted that his and the drummer's relationship had not been at its most buoyant in recent years. Said Dave: "Yeah, that came out of nowhere. I didn’t know what it was, because it was very highly populated how much Nick did not like me, in the things that he was saying. And I was not going to retaliate because I loved him, and I think that was evident when we dedicated the song to him. I couldn’t finish it, and I usually don’t let things stop me from doing by job, but I was overwhelmed with emotions. We've lost a lot of very valuable members of the metal community this year and last year".
The singer went on to indicate that a previously mooted Menza tribute concert featuring past and present members of Megadeth was now unlikely to happen. Said Mustaine: "There’s some stuff going on right now where the family is doing a Gofundme page, and I’m not involved in that. If they need our help they know where were at - we love them and want the best for them, so we’ll find out".
He continued: "For now I think that if anybody wants to get involved with Nick, the Gofundme page [is the best place to do so]. I would rather that If anybody’s going to support what we’re going to do, our involvement is to help Nick’s legacy for his children; he’s got artwork, he’s got a lot of music that he’s written outside of Megadeth, and if people really love Nick and they really want to support him, look at his artwork, focus on the music that he did; Megadeth or otherwise".
Going on to talk about Menza's talents as a musician, Mustaine said that he was unaware of how revered Nick was until after his passing. Said Dave: "The contribution he made to metal music, you can’t really quantify it, because Megadeth influenced so many different players, in so many different genres. I know only of the guitar players that have been influenced, but the drummers that have been influenced by Nick, until his passing, I had no idea".
Concluding, he added: "You know, I’ve always loved his playing and thought he was great, so he’s terribly, terribly missed, and like I said, I had no idea how much I really loved him until I couldn’t finish the song".
Taking place annually, the Metal Hammer Golden Gods honours those from the worlds of rock and metal. 2016 winners included Iron Maiden for Best Album, Lzzy Hale, who was crowned Shredder, and Anthrax, who picked up the Inspiration award.