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Jon Zazula

Publisher: CraZed Management
Format: Download
Released: 2019
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan

Jon Zazula is one of the greatest rockstars of all time. He's never electrified any crowds with blistering guitar solos, never driven an arena full of fans to pump their fists in unison, was never featured on t-shirts, magazines, or in posters on teenagers' walls, but his impact on modern music has been immeasurable. No single individual has shaped the Heavy Metal landscape as much as as Jonny Z. His life is a triumph, and his autobiography, “Heavy Tales,” is an essential, inspiring read for anyone with an interest in Heavy Metal.


The book tells a bit of his background, but leaves out a number of personal details in lieu of the events building to his career/calling as mastermind of CraZed Management and the legendary Megaforce Records. The primary focus of the text is less on the dramas and homelife memoirs, more on his rise from flea market proprietor to iconic music mogul. It’s a compelling read, full of anecdotes and a vast photo gallery, spanning mainly from his childhood on to the 80s and the modern day.
Many know Zazula’s name, but few know the full extent of his vision and influence as the starmaker behind Metallica, Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, Manowar, King Diamond, King’s X, and numerous others. He’s even candid about the disappointments and outright failures that occurred under his watch. In every case, however, it’s clear that he fought to the bitter end for his artists.
After reading “Heavy Tales,” I developed a deeper appreciation for Jon and wife Marsha’s dedication and personal sacrifices, all in the name of the great music. My main impression of Zazula is of a hard-working (workaholic?), down-to-earth, passionate guy who brings tremendous love and devotion to anyone or anything he cares about, from his family, friends, co-workers, artists, and alumni in the Old Bridge Militia, to the Thrash Metal music he helped put on the map - - plus all things “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” How many Rock n’ Roll dreams would have fizzled out without his guidance and backing?
If you’re reading this review, then you should read this book. Seriously. Zazula’s legacy needs to be known and celebrated. Four things to know first, though:

-The content is fantastic and compelling, but the text is in need of an editor. It reads like a transcript of him chatting casually in front of a tape recorder, ranging across topics with all of the disorganization of casual conversation. This sometimes lends a personal warmth to the pages, but it also sometimes makes for bumpy reading. There are also a fair number of grammatical errors and typos, if that kind of thing bothers you.
-Zazula warns you from the get-go in the prologue that his strong faith in “GOD” is prevalent in his story, but the text is just about his perceptions and experiences of GOD’s presence and guidance during his journey. “Heavy Tales” never gets preachy, or like a visit to your grandparents.

-It’s not a tell-all expose, full of dirt and sleazy details. He speaks pretty candidly about the ups and downs of his sometimes-bumpy relationships with artists - - especially young Metallica - - but he delivers these facts without malice or any kind of bitterness. He also alludes to his own dealings with mental illness and drug use, but never gets into any deep details. There is one reminiscence about an acid-laced cake with the band Mindfunk in the Netherlands, but that seems to be told mainly for laughs and because it’s a pretty incredible story.

-The foreward is written by Chuck Billy!

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