Gary C. "Gar" Samuelson (February 18, 1958 in Dunkirk, New York – July 22, 1999 in Orange City, Florida) was a drummer best remembered for his work with the thrash metal band Megadeth from 1984 to 1987, contributing to their first two albums. He is considered as one of the most influential drummers to thrash metal, having pioneered the incorporation of jazz fusion into the subgenre.
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 drug addiction. Gar's style was heavily influenced by years of jazz training. This is exemplified in the tracks These Boots, Rattlehead, 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.