Remembering: Nick Menza + Classic Album: Rust In Peace by Megadeth

I’m just going to have to write something about some sad news that happen on this pass weekend, Nick Menza passing away. Can I say now at this point that he was one of metal’s greatest drummer? And he die with his boots on, playing live on stage, it’s just so well metal, I guess. It’s so sad, so very young really, 51 is only like a bit over halfway or something but it seems all these musicians have a hard life and never get to old age.

Menza joined Megadeth at the most perfect moment, those years behind the drum kit are there best years for me. Joining in 1989, just before this classic album Rust In Peace in 1990. The early line-ups was pretty great in the 80’s but this is when all the planets align for Megadeth. Can I say this is the last great metal album from the big four? For me off course it’s Slayer’s Reign in Blood, Metallica’s …And Justice For All but I could never got into Anthrax, sorry guys! Maybe only when they did that song with hip hop group Public Enemy.

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Nick and his drums in 1990

I grew up in a small country town in Western Australia which was full of bogans so you just had to listen to metal. Pink Floyd was more of my thing which they did like too. After this album, Rust In Peace it was like the end of everything of this style of metal. With the underground crashing the mainstream with Nirvana, changed everything in the music world and Metallica bang the nails into the coffin with the so called Black Album. Megadeth was on a roll after this album with bigger hits and albums in the 90’s which I do like this bands 90’s much more than that other much bigger “metal” band, do you know who I’m talking about?

I only got to see Megadeth last year in Melbourne, It was so great. Off course Nick wasn’t behind the kit by then but the hard die fans did say that was the best drummer for a while, the tour before that one they had a totally crap one so I was happy it wasn’t a shit gig and after talking them it was even a little bit better. They played all the 90’s and even 80’s tracks I wanted to hear and then some new song for the yet to release new album too. It was at Festival Hall which is a kick ass venue too and total mosh pit which turn into a slam pit or whatever you want to call it? In the song Tornado Of Souls everyone when total nuts, it has to been one of the craziest pits I’ve been in, it was so wicked!

So back to 1990 now and I’ll write a little about this classic album. Nick join in 1989 to record this album, he son of jazz musician Don Menza which make sense, he had something else that other metal drummers didn’t and maybe it’s that jazz thing. Lars from Metallica was a former child tennis champ and it really sounds like he’s still playing tennis sometimes. Marty Friedman also join as the other guitar player with off course the founding members Dave Mustaine and the bass player David Ellefson to complete the line-up.

Just before recording this album Mustaine was arrested driving into a parked car with an off-duty policeman inside, then they found him with seven or more drugs in his system so he just had to go to rehab and was clear for the first time recording this album. At the previous recording sessions for the soundtrack song, a cover of Alice Cooper‘s No More Mr. Nice Guy the story goes that he couldn’t sing and play his guitar at the same time because he was so wasted on heroin or was that the video clip shoot? Well you get the idea, he was sacked from Metallica at the beginning of the 80’s for the same reasons but James Hetfield can’t say anything really because he didn’t go to rehab until 2001 so Lars should have sacked both the guitar players really back in the day if that was the real reason? Anyway it was the best thing for the band because Ellefson had to clear up around the same time so for the first time clear with that new line-up.

These all are killer songs from beginning to end, it’s pretty much the perfect thrash metal album, well in my opinion. Holy Wars is a wicked opening track and one of the best tracks ever written about war, it’s lyrics were written about the Northern Ireland conflict and not Mideast’s wars. It don’t really matter which really because war is war and this has to rate as one greatest song about it. With the amazing array of subject matter on this is well amazing really, Dave writing about everything from the cold war, it’s a different war you know? To religion and politics to his own fight against drug and alcohol addiction to the Marvel Comics character Punisher to UFO conspiracy theories. If I had to pick just Megadeth one track it would be Hanger 18 which was opening track at that gig too but if you didn’t know it was Nick who proposed the concept of a song about UFO conspiracies and Area 51 which this was before X-files TV show too, you know?

Maybe, both those videos are a bit dated now but remember it was 1990. The album cover art could be too but it’s all very metal but it’s really very colorful too, the blues of the hanger, suits and alien corpse, yellow or gold of the band’s logo and album title plus Rattlehead holding the glowing green whatever the hell it is? Ed Repka did the art again, who did the Peace Sells album cover too which could be the best of Megadeth’s 80’s albums. The world leaders from right to left are U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, West German President and later President of a reunified Germany Richard von Weizsäcker, Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu and British Prime Minister John Major. Even a band member has called this cover silly but it does illustrate the world at the time, it’s just on a trash metal band album cover, Ed Repka takes that whole Hanger 18 idea and runs with it. Most metal album are very silly, even today’s metal albums are even more silly.

So in 1991 the album was up for Best Metal Performance at the Grammy Awards but somehow lost to Queen cover song played by that other metal band at the time which just proves the point that award shows just sucks. My fave metal album from the 91 is Carcass’ Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious and that didn’t win the award the next year neither, got to write a post about that one sometime. It’s one of two Megadeth’s albums that made it into that book 1001 Albums you must before you die, the other one was of course 1986’s Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? album. It’s off course in every metal magazine greatest albums list like say UK’s Metal Hammer to US’s Revolver etc. The band themselves knows everyone love it because a few years back did a whole tour playing all the songs and then release a live CD/DVD.

Rust In Peace tracklisting and times

 1. Holy Wars…The Punishment Due – 6:36
2. Hangar 18 – 5:14
3. Take No Prisoners – 3:28
4. Five Magics – 5:42
5. Poison Was the Cure – 2:58
6. Lucretia – 3:58
7. Tornado Of Souls – 5:22
8. Dawn Patrol – 1:50
9. Rust in Peace…Polaris – 5:36

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Do you dear reader have something to say about this album/band too? Why not leave a reply now?

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