Marsha Zazula, cofounder of Megaforce Records along with his husband Jon Zazula, died last weekend in her Florida home, after a battle with cancer. She was 68.
“The world of music owes a debt of gratitude to Marsha Zazula, who along with her husband Jon gave birth to some of the most musically significant artists,” the label said in a statement. “Marsha was one of a kind, and taught the world to be fiercely independent. Megaforce and our artists will never forget her. In our hearts she will always be a guiding force.”
Megaforce Records played a major factor in the rise of thrash metal in the 1980s, releasing debut albums from many of the genre’s biggest stars. The most famous of those albums was Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em All,” which was released by the label in 1983 and started the San Francisco band’s journey to becoming the biggest metal band in the world. Other landmark albums released by Megaforce include Anthrax’s “Among the Living,” Ace Frehley’s first post-KISS album “Frehley’s Comet,” and Testament’s “The New Order.”
“We will love you to eternity,” her family wrote. “Rest in peace with our love.” Jon, her husband of 41 years, wrote: “No man can ask for a partner like Marsha Zazula: someone who would stand by your side, support you and believe in you to the extend of losing everything in order to make those dreams come true. She was a mother and mentor to many, and a role model as a woman breaking the glass ceiling in an industry run by men. She had balls, beauty, brains and vision.” Marsha is survived by Jon, three daughters and four grandchildren.
Born in Brooklyn, Zazula started Megaforce with Jon, as a New Jersey record store that quickly became popular among local metalheads as a way to get albums like Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast” and other imports from Great Britain. This soon expanded to the promotion of local metal shows, which earned them national underground notoriety as a place for aspiring bands to send demo tapes. Jonny and Marsha, nearly always side-by-side, were a friendly and familiar presence at metal concerts and events during the era.
Metallica paid tribute to Marsha on Instagram Sunday posting a recent photo of founding members James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich with the Zazulas and early Megaforce publicist Maria Ferrero, captioned, “Rest In Peace, Marsha. Thank you for everything.” Later on Sunday, Ulrich followed with a statement of his own: “Marsha was an incredibly selfless matriarch who had an enormous impact on my life and the lives of countless others. I will forever be grateful to her, Jonny and the entire Megaforce family for taking a chance on a gang of misfits and outsiders like ourselves and for helping connect us to a larger and like-minded audience.”
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