Estranged BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward has commented on the passing of former MEGADETH drummer Nick Menza, saying that Nick had the "heart and soul" of some of rock's most influential players.
During this past weekend's edition of Ward's radio show "Rock 50", he said (see video below): "Sadly, again, we lost another drummer. The drummer's name was Nick Menza, probably more well known for playing in MEGADETH. Nick was born on July 23, 1964 in Munich, West Germany, and sadly he passed away on May 21, 2016, age 51. From what I can gather from the bio, he actually died, I believe, on stage. He had heart failure while performing with his band, OHM:, and that was in Los Angeles when he was performing.
He continued: "Performing on stage and playing, it's a way to go. To be honest, I think it's a way to go. It shows that we just show up and we go and we play and we do what we do."
"I don't wanna mention too many names, but I know a couple of other people, other men that I've known, who are also very well-known drummers, who actually have passed away on the road while they were doing what they were doing and what they were doing is what they loved doing."
Ward added: "I was looking at Nick's influences. I always like to do that. It gives you some idea of the substance of the man. And some of the people that he listened to, his influences, if you like, [were] Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, Nick Ceroli, Jeff Porcaro and Louie Bellson. And… Well, all I can say is ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto. All those guys are incredibly great drummers. Influential, not only in the way that they swing and the way that they are as jazz musicians, but they also were good rock… There's obviously some rock musicians there as well. But they have that thing; they have that heart and soul. And I'm sure that Nick Menza had that too. I've heard him play on the album 'Rust In Peace'. I believe we actually played that… I think we played that back on 'Rock 50' at one point or another.
"At 'Rock 50', we try to always make it known that we send our sincere and saddest condolences to Nick Menza's family. Regrettably, he passed away, and we're very sorry to hear that. And we send our condolences."
Nick collapsed after suffering a heart attack after the third song of OHM:'s set at The Baked Potato in Studio City, California and was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital. He was 51 years old.
The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said Menza died of natural causes. The cause of Menza's death was listed as hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Menza had reportedly dabbled with drugs in the earlier part of his career but had been completely sober for eight years.
Menza joined MEGADETH for the 1989 recording "Rust In Peace" and for the next nine years became associated with the band's "classic" and most profitable era.
The original lineup of SABBATH reunited in late 2011 for a new album called "13" and a world tour. Although Ward was on board at first, he dropped out over what he called contractual issues. Ward is not part of the band's 2016 farewell tour either.