Jon Zazula (known as Jonny Z), owner of the legendary New Jersey heavy metal record label Megaforce, will tell his story in an upcoming book, “Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness. As Lived by Jon Zazula.”
Written with Harold Claros-Maldonado and featuring a foreword by Chuck Billy of Testament, the book will be released on Oct. 29. It can be pre-ordered at jonzazula.com.
Megaforce — run by Zazula and his wife, Marsha — attained heavy metal immortality by launching the career of Metallica. The label released Metallica’s first two albums, Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning, in 1983 and 1984, respectively.
Megaforce also has featured, on its roster, artists such as Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, Ace Frehley, Ministry, King’s X, M.O.D., Raven, Warren Haynes and the Disco Biscuits.
The Zazulas started building their metal empire at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven record store in East Brunswick (it later moved to Clark) and remained based in New Jersey throughout their ’80s and ’90s heyday.
“I wanted to tell the story of my life before someone else did,” Zazula said in a press release. “This is a story that has a motto behind it — ‘nothing to it but to do it.’
“There were a lot of odds factoring in for Marsha and myself, and we did it. No matter what anyone says to Marsha and I, we did it, and I just wanted to get that story down — that it took two people. I wanted our love story in there.
“I was also never very forward and transparent about my manic depression and bi-polar condition, and I just wanted to tell the story of how a man can get through that, poverty, incarceration and humiliation and rise to succeed with everything against him.”
Chuck Billy writes in the foreword: “After reading this book and learning about Jonny Z and how he helped to shape the future of heavy metal, I think you will agree that being a bat shit crazy genius is what it took to create the biggest independent record label in the world.”
Claros-Maldonado said, in the press release, “Jon is without question the Godfather of thrash metal. Having the opportunity to work together, I learned about the miracles he worked in order to release some of the most potent heavy metal albums of all time. With this book, I know many fans of Megaforce Records releases will have a greater sense of how a working-class man built an empire out of nothing to give us all the soundtrack to our lives.”
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