Sad news for the metal community today, as Marsha Zazula, co-founder of Megaforce Records and one half of the dynamic couple who discovered Metallica, Anthrax, Testament and more, has died. She was 68 years old.
Marsha’s passing was confirmed by her daughter Rikki Zazula, who wrote, “RIP Mom April 21, 1952 – January 10, 2021. Your love, Your strength, Your memory and Your music has changed lives and will continue to FOREVER.”
Tribute was also paid to her by Metallica, who wrote on their Instagram, “Rest In Peace, Marsha. Thank you for everything. Much love to @thejonzazula & the Zazula family.”
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Alongside her husband Jon Zazula, better known in the metal community as Jonny Z, Marsha helped set up Rock N’ Roll Heaven, a New Jersey record store that quickly became a hub for the burgeoning heavy metal scene on the east coast. When she and Jonny first heard Metallica’s demo No Life ‘Til Leather, Jonny started Megaforce Records specifically to release their debut album, 1983’s legendary Kill ‘Em All. With no music industry experience, Jonny flew the band to the east coast to record that album, and was infamous for setting up their earliest east coast tours, as well as bringing acts like Venom and Raven to the United States to play their first east coast dates.
“…the best part of my life was the 40 years I spent with Marsha,” Jonny Z told Kerrang! last year when discussing his book Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music.l The Madness. “Imagine telling your wife after hearing this cassette that you were going to a phone booth to call this band, and you’ll bring ‘em over here and make ‘em a part of your life?”
Everyone at The Pit sends their heart out to Marsha’s family, friends, and coworkers during this difficult time.
Words by Chris Krovatin