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Metallica Pay Tribute To The Late Jon Zazula


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Metallica have paid tribute to Jon “Jonny Z” Zazula, who passed away today (February 01st) at the age of 69. A pillar of the thrash metal community and various scenes that followed, Zazula formed Megaforce Records alongside his late wife Marsha to release Metallica‘s 1983 debut album “Kill ‘Em All” and later, it’s 1984 follow-up, “Ride The Lightning“.

He and Marsha also put out early releases from the likes of Anthrax, Testament and more, while the couple also helped guide Metallica, Anthrax, Ministry and more via their CraZed Management venture. Jon‘s cause of death was revealed to a be rare neuropathic disorder chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and osteopenia. Zazula was predeceased by his wife Marsha in January of 2021.

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Speaking of their former mentor, label boss, manager and friend, Metallica said 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!

We’ll miss you Jonny!
James, Lars, Kirk & Robert

The band’s drummer Lars Ulrich issued a personal statement of his own, it reads as follows:

“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.”

Metallica vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield also paid tribute, offering:

“God rest your soul Jonny. My heart is full of gratitude for taking a chance on me and my bandmates.

— JH”

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