(CelebrityAccess) — Jonathan “Jonny Z” Zazula, owner of the New Jersey-based Rock’n Roll Heaven record store and founder of the legendary rock label Megaforce Records, has died. He was 69.
His passing was announced by Megaforce Records and confirmed by his family via social media.
According to Variety, Zazula died at his home in Florida, but a cause of death was not provided.
From his record store based in East Brunswick, New Jersey, Zazula played an outside role in the development of the East Coast metal scene, promoting up and coming bands through his underground tape trading network.
Those bands including Metallica, who Zazula booked for their first shows in the New York area and helping to organize their first tour with the UK metal band Raven.
Zazula launched Megaforce Records to release Metallica’s debut album “Kill ‘Em All” and launched the band’s first East Coast tour.
The label went on to sign other artists who have become mainstays of rock, including Ministry, Anthrax, Kings X, Overkill, as well as artist such as the Disco Biscuits, Warren Haynes, and Testament.
Zarzula wrote “Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness. As Lived By Jon Zazula” an autobiography detailing his storied career and released it to acclaim in 2019.
Following his passing, Zazula’s daughter Rikki wrote a tribute to her father on social media:
“The world lost a true legend today… Our Dad lived a life as fast, hard, heavy, powerful, and, impactful as the music he brought to the world. His passion and persistence fueled the careers of arguably the most influential metal bands, and industry greats of a generation. To us he was simply daddy… Our father and mother were a powerhouse partnership in love, life, and business. Together they believed in the unbelievable, their passion, rebel perspective, and persistence built an empire from a box of vinyl in a flea market – into a multi-platinum selling record label, management company, and publishing house. Although we are devastated he is gone, they are finally reunited. And it feels impossible to imagine a world without him in it. For all of us who knew and loved him … by the way… keep it heavy! RIP daddy you will truly be deeply missed, but, never forgotten…your LegaZ will live on forever, not only in us and your grandchildren, but, in every headbanger on this planet for all of eternity!”