Megaforce Records co-founder Jon Zazula got into big depression when his label lost Metallica
Megaforce Records and CraZed Management co-founder Jon Zazula was recently interviewed by Jimmy Kay for Canada’s The Metal Voice. Zazula will be releasing his up coming memoir titled Heavy Tales: The Metal, The Music, The Madness as lived by Jon Zazula on October 29, 2019.
In terms of how he discovered Metallica‘s demo tape and subsequently managed the band, Zazula advised (with slight edits): “There’s a fellow who I owe my life to basically he came to me from California where he just saw Metallica and bought a demo tape from them — the No Life ’til Leather (demo) and made me play it in my store, which I didn’t want to do. I put it on and within minutes I was just blown away. I mean like God hit me with a hammer. I said to myself, ‘Jon, you gotta do something about this.’ I didn’t know what to do but I started reading and looking for anything about Metallica and on the back of the demo tape, there was a phone number for K.J. Daughton. I called K.J. [and] we had a good talk and he put me in touch with [Metallica drummer] Lars [Ulrich]. Lars and I spoke and I told him I have 12 shows out here if they come to the East coast and he just said ‘Yeah man, send me some money and we are coming.'”
With respect to how he felt about Metallica moving to another management group after having managed and produced their first two albums on Megaforce, Zazula indicated: “I had no money. We were broke but we did what we had to do to get Metallica going. I basically felt about as bad as one could feel. I’m a manic depressive. I have it on record that I am one. I just don’t complain about it. When this happened, it set me on a big depression but I lifted myself up. You know, it’s not the end of the world. It blew my mind. Unfortunately, it made me not trust any band that I ever dealt with again even if they love me because even if they love you, if they have a bigger better business opportunity, I always feel that you are gone. I will say that I felt terrible but life did not end with the loss of Metallica because Megaforce Records and its record of who we signed and what records we put out speaks for itself and we had one success after another. I understood the reasoning but it was their reasoning and I have the ultimate respect for them. Let’s just leave it at that.”
Wikipedia states the following about Megaforce Records‘ involvement with Metallica (with slight edits): “Metallica was ready to record their debut album, but when Metal Blade was unable to cover the cost, they began looking for other options. Concert promoter Johnny “Z” Zazula, who had heard the demo No Life ’til Leather (1982), offered to broker a record deal between Metallica and New York City-based record labels. After those record labels showed no interest, Zazula borrowed enough money to cover the recording budget and signed Metallica to his own label, Megaforce Records….
Because of conflicts with its record label and the distributors’ refusal to release an album titled Metal Up Your Ass, the album was renamed Kill ‘Em All. It was released on Megaforce Records in the U.S. and on Music for Nations in Europe, and peaked at number 155 on the Billboard 200 in 1986. Although the album was not initially a financial success, it earned Metallica a growing fan base in the underground metal scene.”
You can read other excerpts from the interview with Jon Zazula at The Metal Voice‘s website or listen to the interview below:
Jimmy Kay from Canada’s The Metal Voice spoke to co-founder of CraZed Management and Co-founder of Megaforce Records Jon Zazula about his up coming memoir e…