Jon Zazula, known as Jonny Z, co-founded Megaforce Records in 1983, signing a promising young band by the name of Metallica to the label. This led to a lifelong career in heavy metal as he became the "godfather of thrash" and now his story is being told in the newly-announced tell-all book Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness. As Lived by Jon Zazula.

The book will be released on Oct. 29 with an e-book edition arriving one month later on Nov. 29 (Black Friday) and features a foreword written by Testament singer Chuck Billy. Fans will also be able to pour through over 100 rare photographs that have been included with the book.

"After reading this book and learning about Jonny Z and how he helped to shape the future of heavy metal, I think you will agree that being a bat shit crazy genius is what it took to create the biggest independent record label in the world," enthused the Testament frontman.

The widely influential Megaforce Records helped spread the reach of heavy metal, releasing early classics from bands such as Metallica, Mercyful Fate, Testament, Anthrax, Manowar, Overkill, Stormtroopers of Death and many more.

"I wanted to tell the story of my life before someone else did. This is a story that has a motto behind it - 'nothing to it but to do it.' There were a lot of odds factoring in for [wife and Megaforce co-founder] Marsha and myself, and we did it," said Zazula.

CraZed Management, LLC
CraZed Management, LLC

"No matter what anyone says to Marsha and I, we did it, and I just wanted to get that story down - that it took two people," he continued. "I wanted our love story in there. I was also never very forward and transparent about my manic depression and bi-polar condition, and I just wanted to tell the story of how a man can get through that, poverty, incarceration and humiliation and rise to succeed with everything against him."

Prior to starting Megaforce, Zazula worked on Wall Street and made the transition into the music industry. "I sold metal records because metal is foreground music, not background music," the icon affirmed. "It inspires you to listen and pay attention to it. The fans of heavy metal music all came into the store with their painted jackets and denim vests and patches, which was very reminiscent to me of the late '60s and early '70s music scene that I was such a part of."

There's lessons to be learned, too, of course, says Zazula. "At one point we were one of the biggest indie record labels in America. With all of the mistakes and all of the successes, we managed to thrive. Readers may learn what to do and what not to do as fledgling industry hopefuls getting started in the business," he commented, noting that readers should not expect him to sugar coat everything.

"The book is a hard, brutal unraveling of the truth, and tells it all," Zazula affirmed. "I'm putting this book out around Halloween, because there's nothing scarier than the truth."

Pre-order Heavy Tales here.

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