Metallica and Anthrax pay tribute to Megaforce Records co-founder Marsha Zazula, dead at 68

Marsha Megaforce
(Image credit: Jon Zazula)

Metallica, Anthrax and Testament have paid their respects to Marsha Zazula, the co-founder of respected US metal label Megaforce Records, who passed away on January 9. Zazula died at the Florida home she shared with her partner of 41 years, Jon Zazula, aged 68. The cause of death was cancer.

Together with her husband Jon, her partner in the New Jersey record shop Rock And Roll Heaven, Marsha Zazula launched Megaforce Records in 1982 in order to release Kill ’Em All, the debut album from Metallica, whose No Life ’Til Leather demo cassette was a top selling item in their store. The Zazulas welcomed the Californian quartet into their New Jersey home ahead of the recording of Kill ’Em All, and underwrote Metallica’s first national tour with labelmates Raven. Megaforce subsequently went on to release albums by Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, King’s X, Stormtroopers Of Death, and more.

After news of Marsha Zazula’s passing broke, Metallica posted a recent photo of James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich with the Zazulas, and wrote: ‘Rest In Peace Marsha. Thank you for everything.’ Drummer Ulrich also paid his own tribute, thanking Zazula ‘for making it happen’.

“For supporting us, for encouraging us, for advising us, for sheltering us, for feeding us, and most importantly for cheering us on and along with your husband Jonny, believing in the possibilities of how a gang of misfits and outsiders like ourselves could connect with a larger and likeminded audience…

You were an incredibly selfless matriarch and we’ll be forever grateful for the impact you had on our lives.”

Anthrax posted on social media: “It’s with much sadness that we hear of the passing of Marsha Zazula. A true pioneer along with Jonny Z. Those two were responsible for changing all our lives. Hard to put into words what a world this might be without their belief and dedication to metal and all of us. Our love to her family.”

In his own tribute, guitarist Scott Ian wrote: “Marsha was an integral part of our career and a force to be reckoned with – knocking down (with Jon) whatever doors stood in our way in those early days. We were like a family, a big head-banging metal family and we took care of each other.”

Alex Skolnick, Testament’s guitarist, paid tribute to Zazula in an interview with Variety.

“She kept things balanced,” he said, “She was this steady hand, a calming force, during these intense moments — and there were intense moments! Jonny and Marsha were really a team; she was there for every decision. Jonny, bless him, was the stereotypical hot-headed, East Coast label executive — patience and calm may not have been his strong suits — and she balanced him out.”

All at Metal Hammer send our condolences to Jon Zazula, and the couple’s family and friends. 

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