Metallica paid its tribute to the founder of Megaforce Records, Jon “Jonny Z” Zazula, who passed away at the age of 69. Jonny died due to the complications of the rare neuropathic disorder chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and osteopenia, the late music man’s family said.
Jon Zazula had produced the early album of Metallica, which is considered one of the big four bands of heavy metal. It is said at that time that Jonny Z was the one who contacted New York record companies for Metallica’s debut album. But, when no one showed interest, he borrowed the budget for the album and released the album through his own record Megaforce.
Jon Zazula Was ‘A Mentor, A Manager, A Label Head, And A Father Figure’ To Metallica
Metallica members showed off their love to the late record producer. They took their social media accounts after the death of Jon Zazula, who since the beginning of their careers has assumed the role of a mentor and father figure for them rather than just a producer or label owner.
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.
— Metallica (@Metallica) February 2, 2022
“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!”
On the other hand, Lars Ulrich gave the following words in his statement on his Instagram account.
“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 fuckin throw it all to the wind and go for it,” he said.
“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.”
One of the leaders of the band, James Hetfield, shows his love to Jon in a short concise sentence.
“God rest your soul Jonny. My heart is full of gratitude for taking a chance on me and my bandmates.”
‘THEY WERE SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR’
Anthrax‘s guitarist Scott Ian shared his memories of Metallica and Jon Zazula in an interview last May. Scott stated the difficulties of Metallica, who came to New York for the first time to record the band’s debut album, Kill Em All.
“Metallica got to New York, Danny [Spitz, guitar] and I were there when they showed up, they drove across in a U-haul truck to the music building where we had a rehearsal room in Jamaica, Queens,” he said.
“And Jonny [Zazula, manager] got them a room there – and he neglected to tell them that they were also going to be living there in this squat of a building with only cold water. It’s not like they were going to have showers or beds or anything.”
According to Scott Ian, the Grammy Award-winner heavy metal band Metallica slept on the floor when they arrived in New York City first.
“I guess they were sleeping on the floor,” he recalled. “And he’s like, ‘Why don’t you guys meet them there when they get in so at least they see a friendly face?’ So we were there when they got to New York and we became fast friends.
“And I remember them saying, ‘Well, where are we staying?’ It would be quickly obvious that no one would want to live in the music building, literally an old burnt-out office building that the guy who owned it decided, ‘ Oh, I know, I’ll rent rooms to bands, they’re dumb enough to pay for it.’
“But we had a room 24/7 for really cheap in, at the time, one of the worst neighborhoods in New York City.
“But they’re like, ‘Where are we staying?’ I said, ‘Oh, maybe you should call Jonny and ask him that question.’ They’re like, ‘Where’s the hotel?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know.’ Of course, they found out they were living there.”
“So we would bring them back to our houses to shower, we gave them the refrigerator that we had in our room so they could at least keep food cold and fresh in their room, and we gave them a toaster oven,” he said.