Lee Rauch, Early Megadeth Drummer, Dead at 58

Rauch played one of the band's earliest demo recordings

Early Megadeth drummer Lee Rauch has died
Lee Rauch, via Facebook

    Onetime Megadeth drummer Lee Rauch, who played on one of the band’s early demos, died on Friday (June 23rd). He was 58 years old.

    The news of Rauch’s passing was shared on Facebook by his brother Chris. A cause for Lee’s death has yet to be revealed. The post read:

    “Today is a very sad day, we lost my brother William Lee Rauch.

    Lee was a very strong man of faith so I know he is with God now. He was an Awesome drummer, who helped launch one of the biggest metal names in history by being the first drummer for Megadeth, playing along side Dave Mustaine, Kerry King and David Ellifson. His heart was set on making it big and came very close numerous times.”

    Lee Rauch played drums for Megadeth in 1984 and is featured on the Last Rites demo from that year. The three-song release featured a lineup including Mustaine, bassist David Ellefson, and Slayer guitarist Kerry King.

    Mustaine recalled Rauch’s stint in Megadeth during a 2004 interview with Bob Nalbandian.

    “He wasn’t necessarily an original [Megadeth] drummer,” Mustaine said [via Blabbermouth]. “He was a guy that we really liked, and then one day sitting on the steps of Billy Cordero’s house, when David Ellefson and I were squatting…we just kind of met this kid, went to his house and filtrated his bedroom and never left for a couple months.”


    Mustaine continued, “Lee was telling us how he had given his soul to Satan, and I know enough about black magic that if you really do the actual act of giving your soul to Satan, you have to have sex with Satan to consecrate the deal. You had to have sex and have a Satanic priest take the embodiment of Satan on so he can sodomize you. And I asked him, ‘So, who was the priest?’ And he said, ‘My priest was a guy named David.’ I was like…’I’m out of here!'”

    Rauch was eventually replaced in Megadeth by Gar Samuelson, who remained with the group through 1987. Meanwhile, Rauch would become a short-term live drummer for fellow Bay Area thrash act Dark Angel and later joined Wargod, the project of guitarist Michelle Meldrum. In his latter years, Rauch played drums for his local church band, according to his brother.

    Below you can see Chris Rauch’s tribute post, as well as live footage of Lee performing with Megadeth in 1984 and the Last Rites demo.

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