Metallica has paid tribute to the late Megaforce Records co-founder Jon Zazula, calling him their “father figure.”
Zazula passed away on Tuesday, February 1, at the age of 69, just a year after the death of his wife and label co-founder Marsha Zazula in January 2021. He died due to complications of the rare neuropathic disorder CIDP, COPD and osteopenia.
“Heavy music lost one of its great champions today when Jonny Z left this world far too soon,” reads a statement signed by the Metallica members.
Zazula’s Megaforce Records had released Metallica’s first two records, 1983’s Kill ‘Em All and 1984’s Ride the Lightning. Megaforce also released albums by Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, King’s X and dozens of other metal bands.
“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,” the band wrote in a statement.
“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!” they added.
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