I just heard the news of Nick Menza's passing away (I still can't believe I'm putting these words together).
I profoundly admired his style, and I want to have a note of remembrance for him here. It's appropriate for him to appear in something called Musician Diaries, as he was a musician who played drums, not just a drummer; that only is a very rare event, in my opinion.
His drumming filled the songs of ambiance and, for example, was a key element to the particular sound to 'Countdown to Extinction', the record in which I knew him; his memory, for me, will always be linked to that final earthquake in 'Ashes in your Mouth', where I learned there was another way of playing drums.
Short after that, of course, there was blast of 'Rust in Peace', perfect, precise, a piece of eternity.
After him, in my view, Megadeth has had correct drummers doing their thing, but nothing close to his talent and creativity (for example, how I missed his airy cymbals when I listened to the beginning of 'Fatal Illusion'!... He would have nailed that part).
I also loved his persona, with all the 'attitude' that is a brand for metal bands, but with somewhat of a tongue in cheek stance that balanced Mustaine's rage of those days (impossible to forget that 'Paranoid' cover with the rhythm going on at the end, Mustaine shouting "Nick, Nick!").
You only had to watch him playing to see how passionate he was about what he did. Cold technique does not impress me, I want to see passion. He played on a trip, it was incredible to see him when he stood up to hit the cymbals, his face like saying "wow, I made it here!"...
There's not much else I can say in these moments of sadness, this is just a small portrait by a fan. Thank you Nick for all the music and inspiration. God bless you.