Metal Storm logo
Gar Samuelson


1984-1987 Megadeth - drums  
1991-1999 Fatal Opera - drums  

Personal information

Born on: 18.02.1958
Died on: 22.07.1999

Gary C. "Gar" Samuelson (February 18, 1958 in Dunkirk, New York - July 22, 1999 in Orange City, Florida) was a drummer for thrash metal band Megadeth, working in it from 1984-1987.


Little is known about Samuelson before he joined Megadeth. It is known that he and Chris Poland played in a jazz fusion band called The New Yorkers, and that before this, both practiced and played together for many years.

After meeting with Dave Mustaine and Dave Ellefson of Megadeth in 1984, he joined the band, and Poland soon followed, this being what Mustaine refers to as 'the first real line-up'. Samuelson would go on to serve as the band's drummer until 1987, appearing on the albums 'Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!', and 'Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?', as well as serving through tours, until he was ultimately fired for his extreme drug addictions, especially heroin. Gar's style was heavily influenced by years of jazz training. This is exemplified in the tracks 'These Boots' and 'Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!'. Samuelson's work on 'Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?' was slightly simpler and more economical to the song structure, which had evolved rapidly from the debut album. He was considered a very unorthodox drummer among the other thrash metal bands of the 1980s. He and his brother Stew, along with Billy Brehme, Travis Karcher and Andy Freeman, formed Fatal Opera, which released a self-titled album in 1995 and the Eleventh Hour in 1997.

Gar is known as one of the first drummers to use DW drums. He used DW drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Remo drum heads, and what was known to be early Vater Drumsticks.


Samuelson died at the age of 41 in Orange City, Florida on July 22, 1999; the cause of death was reportedly liver failure. His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Atlantic Ocean; also, a memorial service was made in Lankford Chapel. It is unknown if Mustaine or any other Megadeth members attended these ceremonies.

On July 25, 1999, Mustaine dedicated a performance of the song "Peace Sells" in Samuelson's memory, at the Woodstock Festival. Long-time friend and fellow bandmate Chris Poland said about Samuelson: "He was a true friend. Everything I know about?time, rhythm and feel?I learned from Gar, so I'll always hear his voice in my music." His drumming was an influence in variations of extreme metal.

The 2002 remixed and remastered version of 'Killing Is My Business..." was "dedicated to the memory of Gar Samuelson