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 entitled Heavy Tales: The Metal, The Music, The Madness as lived by Jon Zazula to be released October 29 2019. Pre-order August 13 2019 only available Online.
Watch the interview here:
Heavy Tales is the detailed, never before told story as lived by Jonny Zazula of how he founded Megaforce Records out of a flea market in New Jersey with his wife, Marsha and built a dynasty unmatched by others, forever changing the scope of Heavy Metal. The bands they worked with would go on to release some of the most prolific and important albums in heavy metal history, giving it its Golden Era.
Heavy Tales details the stories of how Jonny Z worked miracles by managing and releasing albums by Metallica, Anthrax, Testament, Mercyful Fate, Raven, Overkill, Exciter, Stormtroopers of Death, Method of Destruction, Ace Frehley, King’s X, Ministry, Mindfunk, Nudeswirl, Warren Haynes, Disco Biscuits and others, and how one night in 1984, he jokingly created Rap Metal before anyone else conceived the idea.
When asked about having his pulse on the music scene in the early 80’s and opening his flea market store which catered towards Heavy Metal fans
“In the early eighties I was thirty years old, I was that older guy. Metal really was exciting. I was first turned onto the music by a compilation album by the Friday Rock Show from the BBC. Also when I first heard Motorhead and Angel Witch it really turned me on in a very big way and that was the direction I was going to take in my store. The store that we started was in a Flea Market was called Rock and Roll Heaven. People came from 500 miles away to come and buy from the metal selection that we had which was unbelievable, we had everything. We had music from every country, every part of the world, you name it. People came and met at the store, it was a social gathering place. The store was no bigger than one bin and maybe smaller than the room I’m in right now but it was packed all the time, with metal and metal heads. Let me give you an idea I don’t know if I said this in a book but when Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist Randy Rhoads died the whole entire flea market was packed with headbangers who came to mourn his death at my store, it was the weirdest thing. We all came to be together because we were all so blown away by Randy’s death, that’s the kind of place it was, it was pretty cool.”
When asked about how he discovered Metallica’s Demo Tape then managed the band
“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 t’ll 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. we had a good talk and he put me in touch with Lars. 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.”
When asked about how professional Lars conducted himself in the early days before Metallica success
“Lars was as serious as a heart attack and I personally love Lars. I really respect him.”
When asked how he felt about Metallica moving to another management group after managing and producing their first two albums on Megaforce
“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.”
When asked about his working relationship with Mercyful Fate off their debut album Melissa
“Megaforce had the responsibility to break Mercyful Fate in the United States with the Melissa album, which we licensed through Roadrunner Records. Roadrunner would work S.O.D. in Europe and we would work Mercyful Fate in the United States. I don’t think we were both really that focused on preserving a relationship we just went on to the next project and they told me I don’t have the next Mercyful Fate album. I will say this that Mercyful Fate is one of my favorite bands in the world. I think King Diamonds vocals held him back and his vocals that made him.”
When asked about what went right and what went wrong in trying to break the band Raven in the USA
“All bands on Megaforce wanted us to be there for them and I really think I was really putting a lot into Metallica and ignoring Raven at the time. With Raven I think that they saw that I was giving too much time to Metallica and my partner was giving them the time they needed and they went with my partner. Also I was giving too much time and attention to Anthrax so you know Raven who started it at all, we’re all of a sudden neglected and it was very unfair. It was very unfair but I was just moved by what was the energy flow at the time.”
When asked about working with Anthrax on their debut Album Fistful of Metal
“Anthrax really came together in the studio doing Fistful of Metal, I remember that they were a really good band but when I heard the song Metal Thrashing Mad I was convinced that they were a great band and I became a huge Anthrax fan. We managed Anthrax and worked with them on their albums for 11 years, that’s pretty amazing.”
When asked about Nirvana wanting to meet with him prior to their success
“Nirvana were playing I believe in New Brunswick, New Jersey and I was homesick and Kurt Cobain wanted to come over to the office I didn’t know who he was. I heard their demo tape wow it was amazing you know for a different kind of music. This was before they were Nirvana as we know them. Grunge came along really put the metal business in the dark ages for a few years but metal came back.”
When asked about releasing three Ace Frehley Albums on Megaforce
“My relationship with Ace was wonderful I have nothing bad to say about him, in fact I only have good things. I learned what a creative artist he was what a creative mind he has. He’s a really good guitar player and he is from Kiss you know he was royalty in my opinion. I gave him the utmost respect and he gave me the utmost respect. I haven’t seen him in a very long time but I enjoyed working with him.”
When asked about Megaforce’s relationship with Testament
” As far as Testament goes I remain big fan of Testament today. I’m I’m great friends with Chuck Billy he wrote the foreword of my book. I have a long wonderful history with that Band.”
Jon Zazula Q&A and book signing October 24th at the Cutting Room in New York 7pm and at as well as at The Vintage Vinyl store October 26 2019 2pm The book will only be available online.
With the foreword written by Chuck Billy, plus over 100 rare photographs unearthed from the MegaVault and photographer friends, Heavy Tales is the definitive American story of a family man with a dream, determined to prove to the world that heavy metal belonged on the stage, on the radio and in your living room.
PRE ORDER HERE