RAT Rock News

RAT Rock News

RAT Rock News

Members of Metallica, Anthrax and other figures in metal took to social media to pay their respects to Megaforce Records Co-Founder Jon Zazula, who passed away yesterday (February 1) at the age of 69.

Zazula, along with his late wife Marsha who passed away in January 2021 from cancer at age 68, founded Megaforce Records in 1982 and notably released Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning and Anthrax’s Fistful of Metal before both bands signed to major record labels.

Jon’s cause of death was from “complications of the rare neuropathic disorder chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and osteopenia,” according to a statement.

Jon’s daughter, Rikki, shared via Facebook, “Our Dad lived a life as fast, hard, heavy, powerful, and, impactful as the music he brought to the world. His passion and persistence fueled the careers of arguably the most influential metal bands, and, industry greats of a generation. To us he was simply daddy… Our father and mother were a powerhouse partnership in love, life, and business. Together they believed in the unbelievable, their passion, rebel perspective, and persistence built an empire from a box of vinyl in a flea market – into a multi platinum selling record label, management company, and publishing house…RIP daddy you will truly be deeply missed, but, never forgotten.”

💔 The world lost a true legend today… Our Dad lived a life as fast, hard, heavy, powerful, and, impactful as the music...

Posted by Rikki Zazula on Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Tributes to Jon from Metallica, Anthrax and more can be read below.

  • Metallica

    “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

    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..

    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.”

  • Anthrax

    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.
    Jonny, give our love to Marsha, and safe travels to the both of you.”

  • Scott Ian

    By the way…

    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.

    And he changed all of our worlds.

    Thank you Jonny. Thank you Marsha. Your legacy lives on. Thank you Rikki. Sending all our love your way.”

  • Charlie Benante

    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’ My love to @divafauxreal Blair and Danielle. we made a difference in this business. You’ll be reunited with Marsha. love you Z.”

  • Frank Bello

    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. “

  • Geezer Butler

    “Sad to hear that Jonny Z, a massive legend in the metal world, has passed away. RIP Mr Z.”

  • Megaforce Records

    “The world of rock and metal would not be what it is today without Jon Zazula. Jon’s love of music and musicians was unwavering. A giant was lost today. Rest In Peace Jon.”

  • Chris Jericho

    Thanks for everything #JonnyZ! I’ve said it before, but the LAST band #JonnyZazula ever signed to @megaforcerecords was @fozzyrock. It’s a great honor to know we were a small part of the massive legacy he and Marsha created!! Crank up the #LouReed in Rock N Roll Heaven tonight Jonny…I promise I won’t tell you to turn it down this time.”

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