Metallica and Anthrax Pay Tribute to Jon Zazula Following Megaforce Founder’s Passing

The post Metallica and Anthrax Pay Tribute to Jon Zazula Following Megaforce Founder’s Passing appeared first on Consequence.

Metallica and Anthrax have paid tribute to the late Jon Zazula. The founder of Megaforce Records passed away yesterday (February 1st) surrounded by family.

Zazula was instrumental in launching the careers of Metallica and Anthrax. In fact, Zazula started Megaforce so he could release Metallica’s pioneering debut album Kill ‘Em All in 1983. Megaforce would also release the follow-up, Ride the Lightning.

The Megaforce imprint would become synonymous with thrash metal throughout the ’80s, as Zazula signed Anthrax, Testament, Raven, Overkill, and more. The genre owes much to the man, and members of these groups took to social media to share memories of Zazula and pay their respects.

Metallica shared a statement and archival photos of them hanging out with Zazula:

“Heavy music lost one of its great champions today when Jonny Z left this world far too soon. In 1982, when no one wanted to take a chance on four kids from California playing a crazy brand of metal, Jonny and Marsha did, and the rest, as they say, is history. He was a mentor, a manager, a label head and a father figure to us all . . . Metallica would not be who we are or where we are today without Jon Zazula and his wife, Marsha. Our love and sympathy go out to Jonny’s children and his grandchildren, whom he cherished and brought to our shows from the time they were in diapers. We hope they will be able to take some comfort in knowing that he is reunited with Marsha, and that he helped bring so much incredible music to so many. Hopefully there’s a great show goin’ on up there tonight to welcome you!

We’ll miss you Jonny!

James, Lars, Kirk & Robert”

Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield also posted individual tributes to Zazula in a separate statement on Metallica’s website.

Ulrich wrote: “Thank you Jonny for taking a chance on these crazy, noisy, uncompromising and undisciplined dudes from NorCal who didn’t know what was up, down or sideways, but who were ready, willing and more than able to f**kin throw it all to the wind and go for it.. Thank you for giving us a sense of belonging and ultimately, a sense of self-worth. I will forever be grateful for your friendship, advice and blind belief that the music we played could be shared with way more people who were just like us…outsiders and misfits! Rest In Peace my friend.”

Hetfield added his own statement, sharing a photo alongside Zazula and his family: “God rest your soul Jonny. My heart is full of gratitude for taking a chance on me and my bandmates.”

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Anthrax also took to social media, sharing old photos alongside Zazula. The band’s statement read:

“We are all gutted by today’s loss of Jonny Z. If it weren’t for Jonny, there might not have been an Anthrax. His commitment, his guidance, his passion, and his friendship were integral in the success of the band, and he was a lifelong, much loved friend. Jonny loved metal, and he was truly a pioneer, and as he left an indelible mark in heavy music, his absence will be greatly felt.”

In addition, the individual members of Anthrax paid homage to Zazula. Guitarist Scott Ian shared an amazing anecdote on Instagram:

“I remember it like it was yesterday — Saturday afternoon, late ’82 at Rock & Roll Heaven with Jonny. He’d just played me Metallica’s No Life ’Til Leather demo. We were standing there sweating, a post-headbanging/air-guitaring fever had overcome us, Jonny staring at me wild-eyed shaking his head in an enthusiastic “YES” motion. My riff-induced smile back at him was all he needed. A beat passed, breathing subsided to a point where Jonny could speak and he excitedly raved at me, ‘I’m bringing them to NY, we’re going to make an album, and if nobody will put it out I’ll start my own label and I will put it out, and you guys will be next.’ And he did all of that.”

Bassist Frank Bello posted: “I’m so sorry to hear about Jonny Z. Jonny and Marsha were family — they believed in me before I believed in myself when I started in @anthrax. Thank you for all you’ve done for us Jonny- we’ll miss you. RIP my friend. Our thoughts and prayers to the Zazula family.”

And drummer Charlie Benante shared a warm photo of himself alongside Zazula: “I am in shock… I spoke to you 3 days ago and now you’re gone. I’m so happy we had the times we had and that the last words we said to each other was ‘I LOVE YOU’ … We made a difference in this business. You’ll be reunited with Marsha now”

New Jersey’s Overkill also offered their condolences, dubbing Zazula the “Original thrash-master”:

“Overkill mourns the passing of The Original thrash-master, Jon ‘Jonny Z’ Zazula.
Thank you Jonny!”

Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick shared a lengthy anecdote about working with Megaforce over the years and paid his respects to Jon and Marsha: “His record store in Jersey was called Rock N Roll Heaven. Now he joins Marsha in the real Rock N Roll Heaven, the one upstairs.”

See the band tributes from Metallica and Anthrax below.

Metallica and Anthrax Pay Tribute to Jon Zazula Following Megaforce Founder’s Passing
Jon Hadusek

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