Guitarist CHRIS POLAND Talks MEGADETH, Working With DAVE MUSTAINE, And The Passing Of NICK MENZA In New In-Depth Interview
June 18, 2017, a year ago
Guitarist Chris Poland, who played on Megadeth's legendary Killing In My Business... And Business Is Good and Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? albums is featured in a new in-depth and eye-opening interview with Machine Music. He discusses being a member of Megadeth, working with Dave Mustaine, returning to the fold for The System Has Failed in 2004, OHM, and the passing drummer Nick Menza in 2016. An excerpt is available below.
Poland: "A week before the Baked Potato show in which he passed, Nick was talking to these HBO people who were doing a documentary on us, at his house, making him breakfast. And their filming him and he keeps talking about all these questions he has for God, that he’s going to ask God as soon as he meets him. So, then, when we did the Soultone benefit, or a place where we could all grieve, one of his friends said that he went to the doctor and that the doctor told Nick 'Yeah, you can’t exert yourself anymore.' And so Nick was like, 'You know what? I can’t do that.' Nick never told me this, but I know Nick. He’s a type-A personality, he’s a type-AAA personality, every minute of the day he’s either making a drum, or making a home, or making a guitar, or recording music, or writing music, or working on his house, or riding his bike for miles up in the mountains and some shit.
I was devastated, and hurt, and just didn’t know what to do until I put it all together and I realized that, if it had to happen, everything happened the way it had to happen for him. Because, he couldn’t sit on a couch. He couldn’t lay in bed. And thank God they didn’t revive him, because if he had to live his life in a wheelchair, that would have been hell.
I swear to God, I loved that guy, man. Luckily I didn’t get to meet him when I did the solos for Rust in Peace. I only met him for a second. I shook his hand, I said 'Hi' and he said 'Hey.' If I had gone out and had lunch with Nick I would have still been in Megadeth.
He was the nicest person. He made me want to be a better man. He would stop me mid sentence if I even started to talk shit about Dave. He would get upset and say 'Listen man, you can’t give that shit power. You can’t go there, don’t live there.' And it’s not like I was, but it’s just that he would tell me these stories and I would get upset. Like he wasn’t getting paid, and he has these kids who need the money, and his wife’s husband is saying 'Jeez man, we could use some money.' And Nick’s trying to get money that’s owed him and he can’t get it. And granted he went ahead and called him out, and said: 'Hey look, I need to feed my kids, Dave!' But that wasn’t in some evil way. He didn’t have any animosity toward Dave. He was like 'You know what? Dave Mustaine made me a millionaire. Dave Mustaine let me see the whole world. I was a rock star. What more can I ask for?'"
Go to this location for the complete interview.
The estate of late Megadeth drummer Nick Menza, in conjunction with J. Marshall Craig, have released drum clinic footage of the late drummer at his Disintegrator Studios in Studio City, California that can be seen below. Shot by Craig in 2013 during the research/writing of his memoir, MegaLife: Nick Menza - The Book.
Says J. Marshall Craig: “I spent a year living with late, great, heavy metal drummer Nick Menza at his home in Studio City, California, trying to get the enormously private and proud man to open up and let me write his story. A story of the heights of rock and roll stardom, dreams come true and dreams shattered. We spent a lot of time talking, listening to music, playing music, and even began filming a drum-clinic video that comprises the final chapter of his book.
“On May 23rd of 2016, Nick was preparing to visit me here at my Cape Cod home and publishing offices for the final round of interviews on a project that was nearly four years in the making. Tragically, Nick didn’t make it. He died two days before, almost instantly from a massive heart attack, while on stage at the Baked Potato with Chris Poland and Robert Pagliari in their band Ohm. But the book is still coming late 2017.”
A normally extremely private man, Nick decided to hold back nothing in telling his story. He revealed the most exciting moments in his career, taking the reader right on stage with him before more than 100,000 screaming fans. And he humbly revealed the lowest depths of a depression that nearly cost him everything before he earned his career back in his final years.
It’s a book celebrating great times, great music, great friends. It’s a book of honesty. It’s a book of wit. And it’s even a book, sometimes, of wisdom!
Menza's long time manager Robert Bolger says the book will reveal how poorly Nick was being treated by Megadeth leader, Dave Mustaine, and the brutal truth of why there was never a Megadeth reunion with the bands Rust In Peace lineup.
Nick rightfully earned his place as heavy metal’s fiercest drummer during Megadeth’s 10-year peak at the top. With Megalife: Nick Menza - The Book, music fans are going to be thrilled to discover his candour just as fierce as his drumming.
The highlight of his career, Nick said, was playing Rock In Rio before more than 100,000 people. The lowest point was being fired by Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine while he was still in a hospital bed after surgery to remove was doctors feared was a cancerous growth.
Excerpt from Megalife: Nick Menza - The Book:
Nick Menza was still groggy from the anesthesia but elated when the doctors told him the scary growth on his knee was benign and that he’d soon be back at work – as the thunderous drummer for one of the world’s greatest thrash metal bands, Megadeth.
“I was so relieved,” he says, “I didn’t think I had a worry in the world.”
So when band leader Dave Mustaine called two days later, Nick was expecting great news about returning to the Ozzfest ’98 tour.
Instead, Mustaine said, “We’re letting you go.”
Nick thought it was a joke. “Where? Disneyland? Stop fucking around, Dave, now’s not the time.”
Mustaine wasn’t joking. “I don’t think you’re hearing me clearly.”
A decade and a half later, Nick leans back in his chair in front of the console at his Los Angeles Menzanation Studios and reflects. “That was it,” he says with a shrug. “My run with one of heavy metal’s top bands at the top of its career was done. It came crashing down and it was bad. Very bad.”
Only a few grey hairs gave away the passage of time: Nick was fit as ever - not just from drumming but from his obsessive mountain-biking habit. “Yeah, I admit it, I sank into a pretty dark place. I survived, come out the other side with purpose and spirituality, and I want to make play more than ever now. I have fallen in love with music again. Fans ask me all the time if I wish I was still in Megadeth. It took a long time to realize the answer, which is...”
Stay tuned for more on Megalife: Nick Menza - The Book, coming in late 2017.