Jon Zazula, who together with his spouse, Marsha, based Megaforce Information and was an vital determine within the emergence of heavy steel music, giving Metallica, Anthrax and different bands their begin, died on Tuesday at his house in Clermont, Fla. He was 69.
Maria Ferrero, the couple’s first worker on the label and later the founding father of Adrenaline PR, which makes a speciality of selling steel bands, mentioned the trigger was continual inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, a neurological situation. Marsha Zazula died in January of final 12 months at 68.
Metallica memorialized Mr. Zazula in posts on its Twitter feed.
“In 1982, when nobody needed to take an opportunity on 4 youngsters from California taking part in a loopy model of steel, Jonny and Marsha did, and the remaining, as they are saying, is historical past,” the band mentioned.
At the moment, the Zazulas had been making an attempt to make a couple of bucks promoting data from their assortment of hard-to-find albums and film discs at a flea market in East Brunswick, N.J. Their inventory was heavy on steel, and their cubbyhole retailer, Rock N Roll Heaven, grew to become a gathering spot for metalheads. At their prospects’ urging, they began a D.I.Y. concert-promoting enterprise to current among the bands whose music they had been promoting; their first live performance, in 1982, featured the Canadian band Anvil and drew nearly 2,000 folks.
Sooner or later somebody introduced them a demo tape by an unknown West Coast band, Metallica. The Zazulas favored what they heard, a lot in order that they contacted the members of the group and urged them to come back east and play a couple of reveals. Quickly they’d shaped Megaforce, which launched Metallica’s first two albums, “Kill ‘em All” in 1983 and “Trip the Lightning” in 1984.
Megaforce additionally launched the primary albums by Anthrax (“Fistful of Metallic,” 1984), Testomony (“The Legacy,” 1987) and others.
Heavy steel was simply starting to take maintain in america when the Zazulas grew to become concerned, and it was generally dismissed as mere noise. However in a 1983 interview with The Courier-Information of Bridgewater, N.J., Mr. Zazula defined the attraction.
“It’s music that’s pure emotion,” he mentioned. “Heavy steel is super-talent at breakneck pace.”
The music, he mentioned, was destined to endure.
“New wave music adjustments each week,” he mentioned. “Metallic provides the folks one thing they’ll rely on.”
Jonathan David Zazula was born on March 16, 1952, within the Bronx. His father, Norman, was a delivery clerk, and his mom, Helen (Risch) Zazula, was recreation director at a nursing house.
He grew up within the Eastchester Gardens complicated within the Bronx and attended Lehman Faculty. He married Lisa Weber in 1972, however the marriage led to divorce. In 1979 he married Marsha Jean Rutenberg.
He was working in monetary planning and she or he in advertising and marketing after they left New York in 1980 and settled in Outdated Bridge, N.J. His finance profession got here to an finish the following 12 months when the corporate he labored for, which traded in metals, was raided by the authorities and everybody there was charged with fraud, accused of passing off scrap steel because the uncommon steel tantalum. Mr. Zazula served six months in a midway home in Newark, and he and his spouse started promoting on the flea market throughout that point to attempt to make ends meet.
“That’s how we began Rock N Roll Heaven,” he mentioned in an interview for “Moguls and Madmen: The Pursuit of Energy in Common Music,” a 1994 ebook by Jory Farr. “Out of that pit of hell got here all that we did.”
Their fledgling concert-promotion enterprise — Crazed Administration was their firm’s title — was very hands-on; they personally plastered phone poles with fliers, and band members usually crashed at their home.
“I keep in mind we needed to promote each membership we labored in on the thought of presenting an unique heavy-metal present,” Mr. Zazula, recalling the early years, instructed The Residence Information of New Brunswick, N.J., in 1988. “In these days all of the golf equipment needed cowl bands.”
Creating Megaforce Information, he mentioned, was a fallback, after the couple had made some extra demos with Metallica and tried to curiosity present labels.
“They thought we had been loopy,” he instructed The Courier-Information in 1987. “‘What sort of music is that this?’ And we had been compelled to begin our personal document firm to advertise Metallica.”
Bands given their begin by Megaforce tended to maneuver to extra mainstream labels as soon as they made it massive; after its first two albums, Metallica signed with Elektra.
The couple offered their stake in Megaforce in 2001, though Mr. Zazula continued to advertise an occasional live performance till retiring in 2018.
Mr. Zazula is survived by three daughters, Danielle Zazula, Rikki Zazula and Blaire Zazula Brewer; two brothers, Evan and Robert; and 5 grandchildren.