Music industry executive Jon Zazula (AKA Jonny Z) – co-founder of Megaforce Records – has sadly died at the age of 69. He passed away in Florida surrounded by his brother, daughters, granddaughters and friends. His passion and persistence fueled the careers of arguably the most influential metal bands, and industry greats of a generation.
His cause of death was not confirmed.
Jon along with his wife and Megaforce Records co-founder Marsha Zazula (who passed away January 2021) were not only credited in helping kick start Metallica’s career, but also in assisting to launch the east coast thrash metal scene in the early ’80s.
The couple’s reputation grew and before long, a demo from a San Francisco-based band called Metallica found its way to them. Realizing the group was, as Jon put it, “lightning in a bottle,” the couple brought the quartet to their home in New Jersey and created Megaforce Records to launch the group.
His representative for the label has confirmed to Variety that he died on Tuesday, February 1, in Florida, surrounded by his brother, daughters, granddaughters, and friends. However, as of writing, no cause of death has been disclosed to the public.
Metallica’s debut album, “Kill ‘Em All,” was released in July of 1983, effectively launching the thrash metal movement. Metal artists who have released music through Megaforce Records since Jon and Martha founded the label in 1982 include Anthrax, Mercyful Fate, Ministry, Overkill, Testament, S.O.D., Vio-lence, and many more.
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