2022 – R.I.P. Jonny Z of Megaforce Records


………………………………………….(ignore April 30, 2017 publish date – this was published on February 3, 2022)


Unless you’re a metalhead on the Metallica/Anthrax/Raven end of the thrash spectrum, this may not be your favorite post. And any post that could lead to me winding up with a job as an obituary writer – which I’ve been getting a lot of practice at lately – is not my favorite post either.

This post (and link) will showcase Jon Zazula’s substantial contribution to metaldom – as I saw it – all from good old New Jersey:


With the exception of Anvil, I shot every band mentioned in that link.

(if the link ever goes bad, let me know)


I’ve had many dealings with Jonny Z and the Megaforce crew…………..hello, Metal Maria and Ed Trunk (before he became “Eddie”)……………..and even had a couple of interesting occasions to photograph Jon: twice in 1984 and once in 1989.


June 18, 1984

I’ve written elsewhere (https://iaintjustmusic.bobleafe.com/?p=13466) about that evening – the night of the Judas Priest Riot Show at Madison Square Garden. There are even a couple of pictures there from the after-show party at the Limelight.

But there’s one more photo that’s very similar to the first party shot shown in that writeup. The difference is that Jon’s in it, along with members of Anthrax and Raven (Jon’s looking at his wife, Marsha):


August 3, 1984

A month-and-a-half after the Priest show and party, Anthrax, Metallica and Raven played (in that order) at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan:

That night, after the show, all 3 bands signed deals with different record companies. But before they did………….

………I was backstage taking some boring pictures of promoter John Scher talking with Jon. “C’mon, guys – this is supposed to be a metal show – act like it!”

So they did:

I’ve had a ton of Metallica and Anthrax pictures published over the years and had the back cover photo of Raven’s “Live At The Inferno” album (mentioned in this comment, which I just found on a Facebook page):


February 23, 1989

This was – by far – the most interesting event of the 3 listed here. Remember the Morton Downey, Jr. Show? The show was shot at Channel 9 Studios in Secaucus, NJ and this particular episode was dedicated to heavy metal.

The stars of the show were (I’m reading off the back of my B&W contact sheet): Circus of Power, Cycle Sluts From Hell, Joey Ramone, Ace Frehley, Scott Ian, and Jonny Z.

There’s an absolutely ridiculous 40-minute video of this show on YouTube here:


You can see me shooting (and annoyingly chomping on my gum), starting at around the 8:25 mark. Jon shows up about 6 minutes after that.

That’s when I took this:

l-r: Alex Mitchell (Circus of Power), Jon Zazula (Megaforce Records), Joey Ramone (The Ramones)


OK – I just finished watching the video and found all the talking over each other to be really annoying, so that’s probably why I never went back to shoot on the set of the Morton Downey, Jr, Show.


Summing up the unfortunate present news…………..metal (and New Jersey) lost an important music industry champion on February 1.

R.I.P., JZ



One Comment

  1. Bob Leafe February 8, 2022

    I received an email from promoter John Scher that I thought was comment-worthy:

    Jonny Z was a legend! In my early days he turned me on to more music than almost anyone! Smart, street wise and a Jersey boy through and through . I’ll miss him.

    John Scher

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