The death of Megaforce Records founder Jon “Jonny Z” Zazula is reverberating through the rock and metal world.
Zazula, along with his wife Marsha, laid the groundwork for some of metal’s biggest modern day acts, most notably giving a boost to the then upstart Bay Area band Metallica.
After being given a demo of No Life ‘Til Leather, Zazula contacted the band about working together. “When I put it on, it was like lightning. It was like I got hit by, I don’t know what, like a beam. And I listened to the whole thing was like flipping out,” Zazula told us in October of 2019. “This is America’s answer — I just said to Motorhead and the new wave of British heavy metal — this would be the start of America’s own scene in that vein. I basically said to Marsha, ‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do, but I’m gonna do something with this band. I gotta be part of the legacy.’ I knew there was gonna be a legacy.”
“I’m so happy we had the times we had and that the last words we said to each other was ‘I LOVE YOU,'” stated Anthrax‘s Charlie Benante in his tribute.
Megadeth‘s Dirk Verbeuren reflected, “Jonny was a kind-hearted man who cared deeply about his artists, friends, family and pets. We were very fortunate to experience that first hand when he co-managed Soilwork for a while in 2015-2016.”
“So sorry to hear that Jonny Zazula died. He literally changed the world as we know it. Thank you Jonny and Marsha,” added Broken Hope‘s Jeremy Wagner.
More stories from Zazula’s historic career can be found in his memoir, Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness.
As you might expect, Zazula’s influence was far-reaching in the metal industry and the loss has impacted many. See some of the social media tributes to Jonny Z. listed below, and we’ll continue to update as more tributes are posted.
Charlie Benante (Anthrax)
Chad Ginsburg (CKY)
Steve “Lips” Kudlow (Anvil)
Jeremy Wagner (Broken Hope)
Brian Slagel (Metal Blade)
Dirk Verbeuren (Megadeth)
Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath)
Mark Menghi (Metal Allegiance)
Rockers We Lost in 2021
R.I.P. to the rockers who died in 2021.