Marsha Zazula, co-founder of Metallica’s early label Megaforce, dies aged 68

Zazula brought to life the debut albums from Metallica and Anthrax

Marsha Zazula, best known for co-founding Megaforce, the label that hosted early albums from Metallica and Anthrax, has died.

Zazula passed away on Saturday (January 9) in her Florida home from cancer, Variety reported. She was 68.

Jon Zazula honoured his late wife in a statement saying, “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 extent 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.”

In another statement, the label said: “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. 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.”

In 1982, Marsha and Jon co-founded Megaforce, a label that soon housed heavy acts Anthrax, Testament King’s X, Overkill, Bad Brains, Meat Puppets and more. She aided Metallica in releasing their first two albums, ‘Kill ‘Em All’ and ‘Ride The Lightning’, before they joined Elektra for their third release.

Metallica paid tribute to Zazula in an Instagram post featuring herself, Jon, former Megaforce publicist Maria Ferrero and Metallica founding members James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, which said, “Rest In Peace, Marsha. Thank you for everything.”

Shortly after, Ulrich released a personal statement honouring her legacy, saying: “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.”

Anthrax labelled Zazula “a true pioneer” who, together with Jon, was “responsible for changing all our lives”.

Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth, lead vocalist of Overkill, added:
 ”She gave the entire structure the feeling of a family. That’s why it succeeded and why it was special, and why I loved being part of it.”

Maria Ferrero, whose early beginnings with Megaforce has led her to a current role with Adrenaline PR, told Variety, “Marsha was the grand dame of metal, who had style, class and an open heart, and who rallied for all of us misfits, starting with Metallica – and the rest is history.”

Marsha Zazula is survived by husband Jon, three daughters and four grandchildren.

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