Metallica pay tribute to the late Jon ‘Jonny Z’ Zazula, co-founder of legendary Megaforce Records

Following the passing of Megaforce Records co-founder Jon ‘Jonny Z’ Zazula on February 1, Metallica have paid tribute to “a mentor, a manager, a label head and a father figure to us all”.

Metallica pay tribute to the late Jon ‘Jonny Z’ Zazula, co-founder of legendary Megaforce Records
Emily Carter
Anton Corbijn

The rock and metal world has been paying tribute to Megaforce Records co-founder Jon ‘Jonny Z’ Zazula, who sadly passed away yesterday (February 1).

Surrounded by family and friends in Florida, Jonny died at the age of 69, with his daughter Rikki Zazula writing on Facebook that, "The world lost a true legend today… 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."

Rikki also noted that Jonny is now "reunited" with his wife Marsha, who passed away last year at the age of 68.

"Our father and mother were a powerhouse partnership in love, life, and business," Rikki continued. "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. Although we are devastated he is gone, they are finally reunited. And it feels impossible to imagine a world without him in it. For all of us who knew and loved him… by the way… keep it heavy! RIP daddy you will truly be deeply missed, but, never forgotten… your LegaZ will live on forever, not only in us and your grandchildren, but, in every headbanger on this planet for all of eternity!"

Metallica echoed those sentiments in their own social media posts, writing in a collective statement: "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!"

Frontman James Hetfield added, "God rest your soul Jonny. My heart is full of gratitude for taking a chance on me and my bandmates," while drummer Lars Ulrich shared: "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!"

See more tributes below:

Kerrang! would like to extend our condolences to the Zazula family and friends, and all who knew him. RIP, Jonny Z.

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