Metallica’s James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich shared their sadness and devastation about Megaforce Records co-founder Jon Zazula, who recently passed away at the age of 69, on Instagram.

Jon Zazula founded Megaforce Records with his wife Marsha Zazula in 1982. They decided to sign the new metal band Metallica after listening to ‘No Life ’til Leather’ demo’ although none of the investors wanted to fund the band. That was the beginning of their longtime friendship and collaboration.

Metallica’s first two albums, ‘Kill ‘Em All’ and ‘Ride the Lightning’ were released through Zazula’s record company. He proved that he would be a very successful business person when he discovered the band’s true potential and trusted them. Therefore all Metallica members, especially Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, wanted to express their gratitude following Zazula’s death.

Zazula’s daughter Rikki Zazula announced that the legendary music industry executive died on February 1, 2022, over a year after his wife Marsha’s death, surrounded by his family, without giving the cause of his death. Hetfield, Ulrich, and other band members paid tribute to Jon Zazula by emphasizing his contribution to their career and the music industry.

Here’s what Hetfield wrote:

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

Metallica’s statement read:

“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.”

Ulrich added:

“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.”

You can check out the photos below.

Photo Credit: Lars Ulrich – Instagram